This application is to establish a Partnership between Alabama State University (ASU) and the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center (UAB CCC). The Partnership, located in the heart of the Southeast, a region with a large, historically underserved African American population, has goals of attaining excellence in research focused on cancer health disparities. The two institutions possess unique strengths that supplement each other. At ASU, which is classified as a historically black college and university (HBCU), more than 90% of students and more than 60% of the faculty belong to an underserved minority community in which health disparities are a significant issue in various areas, including cancer. The UAB CCC, in contrast, has developed an extensive infrastructure and critical mass of scientists that are necessary for a sustained research program. Still, ASU has a cultural sensitivity and perspective that may be deficient in the UAB CCC. Thus, the partners will facilitate collaborations in cancer-related research, training (career development), and education to aid this underserved community. UAB CCC faculty/scientists will cooperate with faculty and students at ASU and thereby initiate cancer research programs, creating an conduit for ASU faculty and students to pursue cancer research programs. The proposed effort will engage underserved groups by providing advanced research in prostate and colorectal cancer (both of which are major cancer health disparities for African Americans), by providing training to students and faculty members and by introducing topics related to cancer health disparities into the undergraduate and graduate curriculum at ASU. The proposed Partnership has an Administrative Core, a Cancer Research Program with two functioning projects, and a Cancer Training and Education Program. Within the Administrative Core, there are Bioethics Support, Biostatistics/Bioinformatics Support, and Evaluation Support. The Partnership will be guided by an Internal Advisory Committee, which will consist of two distinguished scientists of each institution;an Executive Committee with members of both institutions;and, for each organization, a Partnership Institutional Committee. The Cancer Training and Education Program will reach talented students and faculty at ASU, linking them to established investigators and to the research infrastructure at the UAB CCC, and facilitate faculty, graduate, and undergraduate student and education in the area of cancer research in order to increase the number of minority investigators involved in cancer research. The goal of the Bioethics support will be to provide exceptional bioethics education, training, guidance, and consultation throughout the Partnership. The goal of the Biostatistics/Bioinformatics support will be to address the statistical/bioinformatics needs of the research projects sponsored by the Partnership.
The specific aims for the Partnership are: (1) to enhance, by development of junior faculty members, the research and administrative infrastructure to conduct competitive basic and community-based cancer research at ASU;(2) to develop investigators committed to research in cancer disparities at both partnering institutions;and (3) to establish a pipeline of minority cancer disparity researchers and health professionals between ASU and UAB.
The proposed partnership between Alabama State University (ASU), a Historically Black Colleges and University and the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center (UAB CCC) builds upon current efforts to establish collaborative research infrastructure between the two institutions. Each organization possesses a unique set of strengths that effectively cover inherent weaknesses of the other. Of note, the Partnership is geographically located within the heart of the Southeast, a region with a large, historically underserved, African American population. Since this Partnership seeks to eliminate the gaps in cancer incidence, morbidity, and mortality between Whites and Blacks, the demographic characteristics of the available study population are relevant.