Overall Abstract: Despite 5 major academic research-intensive medical centers, 2 NCI-designated comprehensive cancer centers and millions of dollars in cancer research funding, Chicago consistently ranks in the upper quartile amongst the nation's worst cancer disparities. An under-tapped approach for addressing cancer disparities and advancing cancer health equity is the forging of strong bridges among the institutions that serve underrepresented populations with research intensive, NCI-designated cancer centers. Our collaborative aims to change the game in how we work toward eliminating Chicago's cancer health disparities by directly building and connecting bridges across 2 federally designated Hispanic Serving Institutions, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU), and an NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center, the Northwestern University Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center (NU RHLCCC). This proposal describes the Midwest's first NCI U54 CPACHE to establish the Chicago Collaborative to Promote and Advance Cancer Health Equity (CCPACHE), a comprehensive partnership for cancer research, education and training, and outreach. This collaborative partnership across Chicago combines the attributes of three exceptional institutions with unique capacity to interact with their urban-shared context and leverages established partnership infrastructure, including an NCI P20. UIC and NEIU hold outstanding track records of enrolling and graduating minority and nontraditional students across undergraduate through professional degree levels and have built longstanding partnerships with Chicago communities. Complementing the strengths of NEIU and UIC, NUI RHLCCC conducts a broad range of basic, clinical, and population science research and has expertise and experience to recruit and train students and faculty in cancer research. Within the nurturing hub of four Cores, a pilot funding program, two initial proposed pilots, and one full research project, we seek to accomplish the following five aims: (1) to codify and sustain a transformational alliance between UIC, NEIU, and NU RHLCCC in the pursuit of cancer health equity; (2) to establish an ongoing research pilot funding program that incubates and catalyzes multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary research programs in cancer disparities; (3) to connect the research, education and training generated by this partnership to communities across Chicago by mobilizing Partnership resources to collaborate with diverse communities in responsive ways, by defining cancer disparities at the local level, and by identifying broader solutions that may be disseminated and tested in future research; (4) through enhanced education and training opportunities, to support a diverse pipeline of students entering the health and STEM related pipelines towards graduate degrees and careers in cancer research; and (5) to facilitate opportunities for skills training, education, and mentorship among UIC, NEIU and NU RHLCCC community members to develop scientists who will produce more competitive grant applications and succeed in securing extramural funding.
The presence of major cancer health inequities in Chicago is well-documented. This proposed 3 institutional partnership poses a strong and important approach for reducing deeply-engrained disparities. CCPACHE is a partnership in research, education, and community outreach aimed directly at building and fostering the next generation pipeline of students and faculty entering health-related careers, increasing the number of cancer health disparities researchers, and facilitating the translation of cancer research that is directly informed by, and relevant to, Chicagoland communities most impacted by cancer disparities.
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