UI Cancer Center Joins GSU in Project to Address Cancer Disparities
Governors State University and the University of Illinois Cancer Center have received a joint four-year, $1.5 million grant from the National Cancer Institute to help both institutions conduct community-based research to reduce cancer-related health disparities in Chicago’s south suburbs.
The grant will support the development of an integrated program for GSU junior faculty that provides training to perform independent research and to lend career-development support to minority undergraduate and graduate students at GSU who are interested in health disparities research.
The Southland has seen a “geographic shift” in the areas with the highest cancer rates, from the city to the suburbs, noted Karriem Watson, senior research specialist and administrator for community-engaged research at the UI Cancer Center.
“But many suburbs don’t have the infrastructure of robust academic and research cancer centers, or the specialized expertise among their faculty, to address the growing disparities that exist within their local communities,” Watson said. “That’s what we hope to build with GSU.”
“Partnering with the UI Cancer Center will increase the capacity of GSU to serve as a center of health disparities research in a community that is disproportionately affected by cancer,” said Dr. Rupert Evans, Sr., DHA, MPA, FACHE, Chair and Program Director of GSU’s Department of Health Administration, as well as co-principal investigator on the grant.
“It will also build our faculty’s ability to pursue larger federal grants for projects that will address high cancer rates and mortality in the Southland community," Dr. Evans said.
“The faculty and students have a very organic relationship with the communities we serve,” said Dr. Catherine Balthazar, Ph.D., Chair of GSU’s Department of Communication Disorders and also a co-principal investigator on the grant.
“Because of the trust we have with the community, we can help bring the opportunity to participate in community-based cancer research and in clinical trials through our partnership with the University of Illinois Cancer Center," Dr. Balthazar said.
“Governors State University has invested substantially in its basic and health science faculty and programs and is well-positioned to make a dent in bringing down cancer rates locally,” said Dr. Robert Winn, associate vice president for community-based practice at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System and director of the UI Cancer Center.
“The University of Illinois Cancer Center can help by sharing our expertise in cancer research and delivering community-based cancer prevention and intervention strategies where they are needed most," Dr. Winn added.
The grant also supports a breast cancer pilot project led by Dr. Kent Hoskins, associate professor of hematology/oncology in the UIC College of Medicine and member of the UI Cancer Center, and faculty from GSU with expertise in behavioral health and health disparities.
“In the past, people in the Southland have not had access to any type of quality research in helping prevent cancer, especially in minority women,” noted Dr. Evans. “That’s one of the focuses of this particular grant — to work on the disparities that exist in the treatment and access to care in minority women.”
Updates about the GUIDE Project can be found in the GUIDE Lines Newsletter