Tulane, Xavier Partner to Address Racial Disparities in Cancer Outcomes

November 28, 2005

Mike Strecker
Phone: 504-865-5210

Tulane University and Xavier University of Louisiana were recently awarded a $1.4 million planning grant by the National Cancer Institute to develop collaborative biomedical research and educational programs focusing on racial disparities in cancer outcomes.

Approximately $540,000 will go to faculty at the Tulane Cancer Center with the remaining $880,000 going to Xavier University faculty. Cancer incidence rates among African-Americans are as much as 50 percent higher for a number of malignancies and the overall cancer mortality rate is one-third higher among African-Americans than Caucasian Americans, according to National Cancer Institute data.

This four-year grant will attempt to address these disparities through:

- the development of collaborative cancer research initiatives between the faculties of the two universities, culminating in the submission of a competitive partnership grant;

- the recruitment of more African-American students into careers in cancer research, education and policy development through education regarding racial and ethnic disparity in cancer and by involvement in Tulane and Xavier cancer research projects;

- and training of faculty, postdoctoral fellows and students regarding racial and ethnic disparities in cancer through a course on cultural competence and diversity.

"There have been inadequate educational programs to produce graduate students, medical students, scientists and clinicians with sensitivity and expertise in problems associated with racial disparity," said Roy S. Weiner, director of the Tulane Cancer Center and co-principal investigator on the grant with Kathleen Kennedy, associate dean of the Xavier University College of Pharmacy.

"Tulane and Xavier are now in a position to focus their complementary strengths to attack disparity by enhancing our understanding of tumor biology and by recruiting more students, physicians, teachers and scientists to productive careers in cancer research and education."

Playing key roles as joint program managers on this grant are Steven M. Hill, professor and vice chair of the Department of Structural & Cellular Biology and the Edmond & Lily Safra Chair for Breast Cancer Research in the Tulane University School of Medicine, and Thomas Wiese, assistant professor of biochemistry in the Division of Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Xavier University College of Pharmacy.

Their responsibilities will include running the day to day operations of the program, organizing meetings and integrating the work of both institutions so that educational and research objectives are met. For more information, contact the Tulane Cancer Center at 504-988-6060 or visit their website.  

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000