The North Shore-LIJ Health System announced today it has received a $300,000 grant from the US Department of Defense to train Hampton University undergraduates in research that will focus on the racial disparities in prostate cancer treatments, access to care and outcomes.
Prostate cancer affects about one in six men, although it most adversely impacts African American men. About 230,000 African American men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009 compared to about 150,000 Caucasian men in that same time period, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. African American men had the highest incidence of prostate cancer of all of ethnicities studied from 1999 through 2009.
Hampton University is a predominantly African American college in Hampton, VA. The students in this program will be studying the differences in how African Americans receive care for prostate cancer and their outcomes compared to other ethnic groups. The students will be reviewing patient charts, doing tissue block collections and interviewing recently diagnosed patients at the Arthur Smith Institute for Urology in Lake Success, NY, this summer. North Shore-LIJ medical professionals will then use video conferencing to instruct students during the winter of 2014.
The Hampton University program will be led by Emanuela Taioli, MD, PhD, the chief of epidemiology at North Shore-LIJ, who received the grant. She will be collaborating to provide a multidisciplinary education for the students with Peter Gregersen, MD, head of the Center for Genomics and Human Genetics at The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, NY; Alicia McDonald, PhD, an epidemiology researcher in North Shore-LIJ's Department of Population Health; Renee Pekmezaris, PhD, vice president of community health; and Manish Vira, MD, director of the Smith Institute's urologic oncology fellowship program. Each of these healthcare professionals will be serving as mentors for a student. Dr. Taioli has previous experience working with Hampton University students under a different grant.
"The data and information the Hampton University students will be collecting is vital to more effectively treat all men with prostate cancer and to determine how each group should receive treatment that is appropriate for them," Dr. Taioli said.
The grant allows the program to run for three consecutive summers; each year, new students will enroll. Each student entering the program is assigned a project and will work with a mentor who will co-author a research paper with the student. The summer program runs between 10 and 12 weeks, starting with orientation and classes and then the program progresses into collecting and analyzing prostate cancer research. Students will work over the summer at the Feinstein Institute, the North Shore-LIJ Cancer Institute and the Department of Population Health.
"We are honored to receive this important training grant from the Department of Defense," said Jacqueline Moline, MD, vice president of population health at North Shore-LIJ. "Providing training and mentoring opportunities for under-represented minority students is a mission of our department and I look forward to meeting students who will be the future of our country in healthcare and the sciences."