was established in 1990 to disseminate information regarding cancer control and prevention among American Indian populations, to increase collaboration with the Indian Health Service and CDC, to expand cancer surveillance among American Indian populations, and to promote new studies on patterns of care and cancer survivorship. NCCR-AIANP has convened three national conferences to discuss research and training issues relevant to American Indian populations and developed a National Strategic Plan for Cancer Prevention and Control Research in 1992. The Network also established in 1997 the Cancer Information Resource Center and Learning Exchange (CIRCLE) at the Mayo Comprehensive Cancer Center. This learning and resource center serves to link young American Indian cancer prevention and control researchers with experienced mentors. The Native Hawaiian and American Samoan Cancer Control Research Network focuses on the cancer control and prevention needs of Pacific Islander populations. The Network collaborates with a variety of public and private organizations, including Papa Ola Lokahi (the Native Hawaiian Board of Health), the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Cancer Center of Hawaii, Native Hawaiian Health organizations, traditional healers, scientific and lay community leaders, and others. In 1995 the two networks collaborated to sponsor a Native American Cancer Conference III in Seattle, Washington, to discuss their mutual problems.
It is not clear from the information provided by NCI how these networks differ from the leadership initiatives in purpose or mission. Similarly, it is unclear why no such network or leadership initiative exists for cancer control activities among Asian-American populations.
Many ethnic minority groups are disproportionately underrepresented among cancer researchers in all relevant fields of study (e.g., oncology, psychology, epidemiology, molecular genetics). Increasing the pool of well-trained ethnic minority researchers can help to increase the quality and quantity of research on ethnic minority and medically underserved populations. For example, the small percentage of ethnic minority health care professionals and researchers has been identified as a significant barrier to the participation of ethnic minorities in clinical trials (Swanson and Ward, 1995). Further, such researchers are often able to address cultural and linguistic considerations in the conceptualization of research on ethnic minority populations and the interpretation of research findings.
NCI offers a number of training and career development programs designed to increase the number of minority scientists in biomedical fields, as well as to enhance the careers of those already in the field. NCI's Comprehensive Minority Biomedical Section (CMBS) in the Division of Extramural