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Chicago State University Announces Partnership with University of Chicago to Create Cancer Research Initiative

CHICAGO, IL - Continuing its efforts to train the next generation of health care leaders who will continue the fight against cancer, Chicago State University (CSU) announced on Tuesday that the school will partner with the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center on a project entitled "The Southside Cancer Disparities Initiative".

"This partnership provides a unique opportunity for Chicago State's Master of Public Health graduate students to get an elevated level of hands on experience", said Dr. Wayne D. Watson, president of Chicago State University. "This new initiative is another example of how Chicago State is meeting the challenge to offer students cutting-edge, innovative education that prepares them to make a difference in the world."

The partnership will create and explore opportunities for graduate students interested in biomedical and cancer research. Students involved in this program will be able to focus on cancer education, training and community engagement. The new venture will work with community-based health organizations to prepare and train the staff in understanding cancer disparity issues. Health organizations will also work on collaborative projects with students who will receive mini-grants, which will go to conduct community-based participation research. The research will focus on work with community members to translate knowledge into action. The project is supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health.

The Illinois Board of Higher Education approved CSU's master of Public Health program in June 2010, as a program within the College of Health and Sciences to focus on minority health and health equity. The program also addresses the lack of diversity among public health professionals. Cancer disparities on the South Side of Chicago are on the rise: the number of African American women who die from breast cancer is higher than any other group in the U.S., but are even higher in Chicago than the rest of the country.

"Most of CSU's students represent Chicago's Southside communities, specifically Roseland, Woodlawn and Englewood," said Thomas Britt, MD, MPH, Principal Investigator on the grant and Chair, Health Studies at CSU. " These communities suffer an ongoing shortage of public health professionals and a disproportionately high morbidity and mortality rates in cardiovascular, infectious diseases and cancer. Our partnerships will provide an entrée of cancer disparities curriculum to prepare a health professional interested in the understanding and elimination of cancer disparities on Chicago's Southside."