At UF, researchers come from across multiple campuses, including the colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy, Nursing and Education, the UF Research and Academic Center Lake Nona, and UF Health Jacksonville, as well as from UF Health Shands. The team includes researchers with expertise across the spectrum, from molecular biology and bioinformatics to community outreach and clinical interventions.
For the first phase of the center, two full research projects and one pilot project will be conducted that are focused on prostate and pancreatic cancers, two cancers with noted disparities among Blacks and little-known information among Latinos.
Each project has a team at each of the partnering institutions.
Another goal of the center is to provide research training opportunities for underrepresented minority trainees and early-stage investigators that foster their individual career development.
“This center really ‘takes a village’ to address cancer health disparities,” Odedina said. “Our strength is in our diversity, with the center being led by five underrepresented minority scientists and four women.”
“At UF and UF Health, not only will the center advance health disparities research in Black and Latino populations and provide opportunities for underrepresented minority researchers, it will also aid in the university’s application to become an NCI-designated Cancer Center,” said David R. Nelson, M.D., interim senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health.
Within the five-year grant period, the researchers have various scholarly productivity goals, including 39 presentations, 20 scientific publications, 25 grants submitted with at least 15 being awarded, 26 undergraduate trainees, 28 postbaccalaureate trainees, 34 graduate student trainees, 21 postdoc trainees, five awards and seven community reports.
The center is backed by the unique contributions of its researchers who are passionate about addressing knowledge gaps in cancer disparities research among subpopulations of Blacks and Latinos.
“While the center is a win-win situation for UF, FAMU and USC, the real winners are cancer patients, especially Blacks and Latinos in Florida and California,” Odedina said.