Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center receives $3.25 Million Grant to Serve Minority/Underserved Patients

October 28, 2014

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center (HICCC) at Columbia University Medical Center a 5-year, $3.25 million Minority/Underserved Community Site grant to conduct cancer clinical trials and research on delivery of cancer care. The HICCC is the only NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center to receive one of the 12 Minority/Underserved Community Site grants, which are awarded through the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP).

The CUMC Minority/Underserved NCORP is led by Kara Kelly, MD (pediatrics); Andrew Lassman, MD (neurology); and Alfred Neugut, MD, PhD (medicine). Dr. Kelly, who previously headed HICCC’s NCI Minority-Based Community Clinical Oncology Program, said, “The HICCC is located in Washington Heights, where more than 50 percent of the residents are foreign-born, including a large Dominican population. Our commitment to directing research and service to this community, and to the underserved in general, spans decades, predating its recognition as a national priority. This award helps us to build the infrastructure to reduce barriers to participation in cancer clinical trials, allowing minorities to have access to the latest research in cancer treatment, screening, and prevention, as well as to supportive care.”

The NCORP program awarded 53 new awards to researchers across the country, creating seven research bases and 34 community sites, in addition to the 12 Minority/Underserved Community Sites. This new program, which replaces two previous NCI community-based clinical research programs, aims to identify and evaluate interventions that reduce cancer risk and incidence, enhance cancer patients’ quality of life, and increase access to clinical trials and research on delivery of cancer care for minority, rural, and other underserved patient populations.

Dr. Neugut, director of the Cancer Care Delivery Research (CCDR) component of the grant, said, "The CCDR program is a new initiative to address how finances, insurance, technology, and hospital systems affect the quality of care for cancer patients. Our group at the HICCC has been engaged in this kind of research for 15 years and is well prepared to continue its work through this initiative." These multidisciplinary investigations, now supported under the NCORP umbrella, will look at how these and other diverse factors affect access to and use of quality cancer care, cancer outcomes, and the well-being of cancer patients and survivors.

The NCORP funding will support new and ongoing therapeutic, cancer control, prevention, and screening studies at HICCC, sponsored by cooperative research groups such as Alliance, the Southwest Oncology Group, NRG Oncology, and the Children’s Oncology Group. It will also allow further recruitment of minority participants and provide opportunities for CUMC investigators and staff to become involved in the scientific agenda of the NCI-sponsored cooperative groups.

The research will be supported by the NCI, part of the National Institutes of Health, under award number 1UG1CA189960.

For further information, contact: Melissa Beauchemin, RN, MSN, CPNP, CPON Research Nurse Practitioner Program Administrator, CUMC Minority/Underserved NCORP Columbia University Medical Center P: 212-305-6254 F: 212-305-5848