Partnership Objectives and Aims


The overall objectives of this U54 grant are to strengthen and expand the existing partnership for cancer research between Meharry Medical College (MMC), Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center (VICC), and Tennessee State University (TSU) to achieve four ends:

  1. to increase and stabilize the competitive cancer research capability of MMC and TSU;
  2. to create stable, long-term collaborative relationships between MMC, TSU and VICC in cancer research, research education, career development and cancer outreach;
  3. to expand access to clinical trials for minority populations served by Nashville General Hospital (NGH)/MMC; and
  4. to improve the effectiveness of VICC research, career development, education and outreach activities specifically designed to benefit minority populations served by VICC.


To accomplish the objectives, our Cancer Partnership aims to:

  1. increase the number of traditional, investigator-initiated awards on which MMC and TSU faculty serve as PIs and for which MMC and/or TSU is the applicant organization and Vanderbilt faculty collaborate;
  2. increase the number of investigator-initiated awards to VICC faculty that address cancer disparities;
  3. increase the number of peer-reviewed, joint MMC/VICC/TSU publications on which a minority-serving institution investigator is first or last author;
  4. reach the critical mass needed for a thriving program of cancer disparities research by employing new cancer investigators in fields of importance to the Partnership;
  5. expand MMC/VICC/TSU participation in national oncology trials;
  6. strengthen the physical and intellectual infrastructure for research at MMC and TSU;
  7. implement a robust outreach program that supports MMC/VICC/TSU studies of disparities by facilitating partnerships between community organizations and academic researchers, leading to hypothesis-driven research projects that include the involvement of a Community Health Educator;
  8. increase the number of MMC and TSU trainees engaged in cancer research;
  9. increase awareness of cancer research opportunities and careers for minority high school, undergraduate graduate and medical students through the development and implementation of new Pathway to Discovery Program and coursework; and
  10. increase the number of MMC/VICC/TSU faculty presenting seminars and strengthen the series to foster collaborations within the Partnerships.

The aims will be accomplished through the following:

  1. the development of three full research projects and one pilot project; and
  2. the continued growth of the five cores:
    1. Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Core
    2. Cancer Outreach Core
    3. Clinical Trials Core
    4. Translational Pathology Core
    5. Cancer Education Core