CRCHD Programs & Initiatives
CRCHD funds research and training programs to support the mission of reducing the unequal burden of cancer. CRCHD also actively builds collaborations to support disparities research and training.
CRCHD supports basic, translational, clinical, and population-based research contributions to the understanding and reduction of cancer health disparities across the cancer continuum. CRCHD supports the following research programs:
- Community Networks Program Centers (CNPC) (2010-present)
- Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity (PACHE) (2001-present)
- Basic Cancer Research Program
CRCHD leads NCI’s efforts to fund training opportunities for students and investigators from diverse populations who will be part of the next generation of competitive researchers in cancer and cancer health disparities research. CRCHD supports the following training programs:
- Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) (1999-present)
- Partnerships to Advance Cancer Health Equity (PACHE) (2001-present)
CRCHD supports two networks to promote and facilitate cancer health disparities research, diversity training, community education and outreach, and information dissemination with the aim of reducing and ultimately eliminating cancer health disparities:
Select Partnerships within NIH
CRCHD’s long-standing collaborative relationship with NIMHD is a natural fit, given a shared goal of eliminating health disparities. This aligned vision, complemented by CRCHD’s expertise in community-based participatory research (CBPR), brought CRCHD and NIMHD together to partner on an Intervention Research Phase Grant (R24) that funds CBPR initiatives to reduce and eliminate health disparities. CRCHD also has partnered with NIMHD on the HHS-wide, globally attended health disparities conference, The NIH Science of Eliminating Health Disparities. In addition, CRCHD has participated in NIMHD’s Federal Partnerships Collaboration on Health Disparities. In return, NIMHD has supported several CRCHD grantees. Through this partnership, both CRCHD and NIMHD can apply greater combined influence on the research agenda to include disparities issues and research workforce diversity.
Since 2005, CRCHD has fostered a partnership with DCB to strengthen our basic research portfolio and shed greater light on potential biological causes of cancer health disparities. In 2011, in an effort to blend DCB’s basic research expertise and grantee base with CRCHD’s programmatic focus on disparity-experiencing populations, DCB and CRCHD created a basic science R21 Exploratory/Development Grant funding opportunity. This funding opportunity is designed to support pilot studies examining the interplay of race/ethnicity and cancer biology, with a focus on novel techniques and issues such as biospecimens and ancestral markers. By combining their expertise, DCB and CRCHD can maximize their efficiency in illuminating the causes of cancer health disparities and the pathways to disparities reduction.
CRCHD forged a partnership with OHAM to help our grantees expand their expertise to include HIV/AIDS-associated cancer disparities. In 2011, CRCHD and OHAM sponsored a supplement to help CRCHD’s PNRP, CNPC, and U54 grantees investigate the role of HIV/AIDS in cancer health disparities. These projects benefited from cross-disciplinary partnerships that included a CRCHD principal investigator and his or her research team, an academic partner who conducted research on HIV/AIDS, and a community partner.
CRCHD has a strong partnership with CCR, home to 250 scientists and clinicians who conduct research intramurally at NCI. As a result of this partnership, CRCHD encourages promising extramural trainees to apply for intramural NCI positions and training opportunities. These efforts are explicitly targeted at increasing the diversity of the intramural scientist population, encouraging a greater intramural focus on disparity questions, and enhancing the intramural community’s awareness of and ability to recruit and retain talented, underrepresented scientists.
Select Partnerships outside NIH
One of the world’s premier cancer research organizations, AACR, has partnered with NCI/CRCHD for more than 35 years. CRCHD has a special interest in supporting an adjunct group of AACR—Minorities in Cancer Research (MICR)—founded in 1985. Originally a small group of physicians and researchers from backgrounds underrepresented in the biomedical sciences, AACR/MICR currently includes more than 4,000 members and continues to maintain a strong commitment to the issues of preventing and treating cancer in diverse populations, as well as training scientists from diverse backgrounds. CRCHD has cosponsored the AACR/MICR Science of Cancer Health Disparities conference since 2007. CRCHD also sponsors the attendance of investigators from diverse backgrounds at the AACR Annual Meeting through R13 conference grants, in addition to early-stage meritorious scientists from institutions serving underrepresented populations through the AACR Minority Scholars in Cancer Research Award.
One of CRCHD’s most prominent external partners is ACS. Beginning in June 2006, CRCHD, ACS, and CMS collaborated to provide three annual training workshops for the organizations’ patient navigators. Each organization had recruited patient navigators—individuals who could help disparity populations better negotiate the barriers to accessing quality cancer care, such as those posed by low income, unreliable transportation, lack of insurance, and limited English and/or health literacy. However, the criteria for selecting patient navigators differed substantially across organizations in terms of professional experience, credentials, and biomedical familiarity. In addition, the parameters of a patient navigator’s work were unclear. Through their collaboration, these organizations developed a national standard for patient navigator competencies.
Recognizing the need for a unified approach to advancing scientific knowledge around women and cancer, CRCHD entered into a partnership with the FDA/OWH in 2014. The partnership is expected to enhance knowledge exchange and foster collaborations in basic, clinical, biobehavioral, translational, and community-based participatory research related to the major cancers affecting women. It is also anticipated that it will spawn collaborative research on innovations in medical therapies for cancers affecting women.
A partnership with Susan G. Komen for the CURE® in 2011 resulted in an innovative session at CRCHD’s Cancer Health Disparities Program Meetings. The outreach and education session was designed to promote networking among National Capital Area (MD, DC, VA) health-related community outreach groups, NCI-supported cancer disparities researchers, members of the community, Komen, and NCI. Partnering with Komen enabled this unique gathering of a range of stakeholders to take place and gave individuals, who otherwise might not collaborate, the opportunity to work together in cross-disciplinary teams and brainstorm strategies to foster improved breast cancer care for at-risk and underserved women living in the National Capital Area. Building upon the success of this first joint effort, CRCHD partnered with Komen again in 2012 on a community health expo promoting healthy lifestyles among racially and ethnically diverse communities.