Increasing the number of scientists and clinicians from underrepresented communities has been recognized as one means to help reduce the nation's cancer disparities. The Creating Scientists to Address Cancer Disparities Program (CSP) is an intensive bio-behavioral science training program designed to facilitate underrepresented community college science majors' (CSP scholars) successful transfer to UCSD and SDSU followed by their matriculation into graduate school. Transferring students begin the CSP during the summer before they transfer and continue to receive mentoring from CSP faculty throughout the remainder of their college years. The program has basic and behavioral science majors working and learning side-by-side in a public health community-based laboratory as a model of how multidisciplinary teams of bio-behavioral scientists can work together to address health disparities. CSP begins with an 8-week public health laboratory- based Summer Science Enrichment Program (SSEP). The SSEP includes seminars to give students a solid understanding of cancer and bio-behavioral issues related to the development of cancer disparities. It also includes workshops to increase participants' likelihood of successfu progression into graduate school and beyond. Students also learn a variety of hands-on research methods to use in the field, as they work within community-campus partnerships. The field experience will assure that they gain a working knowledge of how to identify, research, and resolve health disparities. This summer training is followed by continued academic training and mentoring via a required 10-month lab placement for a minimum of one academic credit in the PIs' public health laboratory. During this 12 month-long training, students will prepare and submit an abstract to present their research findings at a national scientific conference. Each CSP scholar will work with program faculty to identify other sources of support and funding to continue the scholars' laboratory experiences beyond their first 12 months. CSP will make it possible for its transferring students to access programs that are not normally accessible in transferring students' first year. This community college-focused CSP is grounded upon the literature and the team's current R25E grant that facilitates community college students' successful transfer to UCSD and SDSU. The CSP has clearly defined, measurable outcomes for assessing its success, using the same rigorous data collection and evaluation methods that were proven successful in earlier training programs.

Public Health Relevance

The Creating Scientists to Address Cancer Disparities is an intensive eight-week Summer Science Enrichment Program for underrepresented students who are transferring to either the University of California San Diego or San Diego State University from one of California's 112 community colleges. After completing the program, CSP scholars receive continued mentoring designed to increase their odds of gaining admission to graduate programs in the bio-behavioral sciences. To gain mastery of their knowledge and skills in cancer disparities research, the CSP scholars engage in an actual research study that will produce data they can use to make presentations at national science meetings and from which to prepare manuscript for publications related to cancer disparities in peer-reviewed journals.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Education Projects (R25)
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Study Section
Subcommittee I - Transistion to Independence (NCI)
Program Officer
Korczak, Jeannette F
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University of California, San Diego
Schools of Medicine
La Jolla
United States
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Gonzales, Manuel; Blashill, Aaron J (2018) Depressive symptoms and indoor tanning among U.S. Hispanic adolescents: Results from a nationally representative sample. Health Psychol 37:24-27
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