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April Spotlight: National Minority Health Month

, by Peter Ogunbiyi, Ph.D., D.V.M., DTB Chief

Each April, we recognize National Minority Health Month, and of direct relevance to us at the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD), we also observe National Minority Cancer Awareness Week (this year, it is April 9­–15).

The 2017 theme, Bridging Health Equity Across Communities, brings attention to efforts to address social determinants of health, which includes those related to access to educational, economic, and job opportunities and the quality of education and job training.

At CRCHD, we are committed to building a diverse workforce for the biomedical sciences — a critical step in reducing the burden of cancer for an increasingly diverse America. A diverse workforce broadens the research “lens” to include new viewpoints essential for advancing cancer and cancer disparities knowledge, and can also help address some of the issues related to health equity and access to education quality and jobs.

Through the Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) program, we fund training opportunities for qualified underrepresented individuals beginning as young as middle school and continuing through independent cancer researchers. By providing opportunity at all stages of the academic continuum, we ensure that CURE scholars are building the skills that they need to become competitive, independent researchers.

One of the most beneficial ways that CURE scholars enhance their skills is through the guidance of a mentor. Mentors provide support that extends well past guidance in classroom or lab, they serve as role models and advocates, often pushing their mentees to achieve more than they thought possible.

Inspired by this year’s National Minority Health Month theme, we want to celebrate mentors. We asked our CURE scholars to share something about a mentor that has made a difference in their career development and were thrilled with the positive response that we received.

Throughout the month, we will feature their stories here on the blog and on our social media accounts. We hope that you check back often and are as inspired by these scholars and mentors as we were.

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Celebrating National Minority Health Month 2017