Since 1999, the U54 Cancer Partnership has been engaged in interdisciplinary basic sciences, clinical and cancer control activities focused on addressing the disproportionate cancer incidence, morbidity and mortality in minority and/or underserved populations. The U54 Cancer Partnership has been successful in progressing students into careers in cancer research and scope of students trained continues to expand.

Goal: To provide excellent training and education in cancer research to underrepresented minority (URM) and non-minority medical, graduate, undergraduate and high school students from our partnership institutions.

Objective: Significantly increase recruitment and retention of URM students into graduate programs and careers in cancer research.


  1. Implement a Pathway to Discovery Program that provides early and continuous research education for URM high school and undergraduate students leveraging the cancer research opportunities at our Partnership Institutions.
  2. Recruit and support URM master and doctoral graduate students in cancer research to diversify the cancer research workforce and develop research interests in the area of cancer disparities.
  3. Provide research opportunities to URM medical students to contribute to clinical population sciences and translational cancer research with focus on cancer disparities.

The Pathway to Discovery Program

Building off the previous success in training student in cancer research, the Pathway to Discovery Program recruits URM high school juniors and seniors into cancer research

Significantly increase the number of minority and non-minority medical and undergraduates participating in cancer research.

To provide early and continuous research opportunities, the following will be provided:

  1. A high school cancer research experience (HSCRE) both in the summer and academic year with scholarship opportunities and multi-tier peer and faculty mentoring
  2. An early undergraduate cancer research experience (EUCRE) in the summer and academic year providing the opportunity for engagement in projects supported through peer and faculty mentoring
  3. A late undergraduate cancer research experience (LUCRE) in the summer and academic year to conduct mentored-independent research projects.

The Meharry Medical College-Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center-Tennessee State University Cancer Partnership’s Cancer Research Training Program is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).