The partnership between Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM), Tuskegee University (TU) and the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center (UABCCC) builds upon an existing partnership between these 3 institutions. Each institution brings to the table a unique set of strengths that effectively supplement the inherent weaknesses of the others. It is also worth noting that the Partnership is geographically located within the heart of the Southeast, a region with a large, historically underserved, African-American population. With this partnership ultimately existing to make a significant contribution to the elimination of the gap in cancer incidence, morbidity, and mortality between Whites and Blacks, the demographics of the available study population is highly relevant.
The partnership’s first objective is the establishment of an effective cancer research program at MSM and TU and developing a pipeline of prospective minority investigators at TU. One way to address this objective is through an effective Research Training and Career Development (RTCD) Program. Our program would continue to tap the pool of talented faculty and students currently at MSM and TU and link them to established investigators and research infrastructure at the UABCCC. A second way to address this priority is through our Developmental Research Program, which provides research project funding opportunities to be conducted in parallel to the RTCD Program. Last, our Cancer Education Program encourages graduates and undergraduates from across scientific disciplines to pursue careers in the biosciences and provides a pipeline into our RTCD and Developmental Research Programs. The partnership’s additional objectives are to expand our established Community Outreach Program to promote cancer awareness and healthy lifestyles among our most underserved populations and to increase minority participation in therapeutic clinical trials. Our Bioethics Shared Resource not only is important in promoting and insuring adherence to bioethical principles, but also addresses important ethical considerations in relationships between majority and minority institutions and between institutions and underserved communities. With continued success, we anticipate that this partnership will provide UABCCC, MSM and TU with an enhanced capability to conduct cancer health disparity research.
In summary, we believe this partnership will accomplish our objectives through the enhancement of four existing programs, Developmental Research, Research Training and Career Development, Community Outreach, and Cancer Education Programs. The Programs are additionally supported by the Bioethics and Biostatistics Shared Resource.