In 1999 the then Office of Minority Health Disparities headed by Dr. John Ruffin along with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) initiated several new research initiatives to support funding for the establishment of cancer research partnerships between existing NCI Comprehensive and/or NCI designated Cancer Centers and Minority Serving Institutions. These initiatives arose from the disturbing observations that although minorities including African-Americans suffer a disproportionate burden of cancer deaths in this country, neither the cancer centers alone nor minority serving institutions have been effective in addressing this problem. The initial objective of the NCI program was to strengthen the capabilities of minority serving institutions to engage in effective and productive cancer research collaborations with their neighboring cancer centers, with the ultimate goal of reducing the high cancer incidence and death rates among minorities. The MMC-VICC partnership was initiated by a supplement to the VICC (Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center) Support Grant (CCSG) in 1999. In 2000, Drs. Adunyah and Moses successfully competed for one of two U54 NCI Comprehensive Partnership Grants that were funded in the country.
In 2006 the two PIs again successfully competed for another 5 years of funding from August 2006 to July 2011.. Meharry Medical College’s component of the recently renewed NCI U54 Cancer Partnership grant is approximately $10 million in total costs over five years. To effectively engage in community outreach program for cancer prevention, the institutions also partnered with Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN.
This grant represents one of the very few U54s with a balanced focus on population science, basic, and clinical research.