The National Cancer Institute defines "cancer health disparities" as "differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden of cancer and related adverse health conditions that exist among specific population groups in the United States. Complex interactions of biological, social, cultural, environmental, and behavioral factors affect disease incidence and mortality and contribute to cancer related health disparities. Eliminating these disparities requires a trained cadre of researchers, physicians, and public health professionals who are attuned to cultural and socio-economic issues that affect health care seeking and health care access, patient compliance, participation in clinical trials, and risk-reducing behaviors.
In response to this need, North Carolina Central University and UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center have formed the PARTNERS Training Program, funded by a U54 award from the National Cancer Institute.
The goals of the PARTNERS Program are:
1. To establish an effective cancer research infrastructure and program and increase training opportunities at a minority serving institution by increasing the number of undergraduate students who successfully pursue careers devoted to finding causes, cures, and prevention strategies for cancers that disproportionately affect minorities, particularly African Americans.
2. To enhance community and population-based research targeting minority cancer-related health disparities and increase training of minority scientists at an NCI-funded Comprehensive Cancer Center.