activity is appropriately led by OSPR, provided that sufficient resources and authority are granted to OSPR to carry out this agenda.
The NHGRI-Howard University collaboration stands as an outstanding, but unfortunately rare, example of a partnership between the federal scientific research infrastructure and an historically black institution that meets multiple goals. Not only will this partnership result in improved recruitment of ethnic minority patients as research subjects but it will also improve opportunities for the training of minority scientists and allow focused investigation of genetic risk as it applies to some segments of the African-American population.
Recommendation 3-5: Collaborations between NIH and research and medical institutions that serve ethnic minority and medically underserved populations should be increased to improve the study of cancers that affect these groups and to increase the involvement of such entities and populations in scientific research.
Although the committee found evidence that NCI sponsors a significant portfolio of training programs designed to increase the numbers of ethnic minority investigators in cancer-related research fields, there is little evidence that NCI or NIH has undertaken a thorough assessment of training programs to determine whether these programs are producing adequate numbers of ethnic minority researchers in all appropriate cancer research fields (e.g., behavioral and social sciences, epidemiology, genetics, and cell biology) and to determine whether training programs have resulted in the increased representation of ethnic minorities in cancer research fields. Furthermore, there is little evidence that guidelines or other training criteria have been established by NCI or NIH to ensure that all trainees can receive high-quality instruction and mentoring. Such efforts would improve the planning and implementation of future training programs.
Recommendation 3-6: NIH should increase its efforts to expand the number of ethnic minority investigators in the broad spectrum of cancer research to improve minority health research. These efforts should (1) assess relevant areas of research needs and ensure that trainees are representative of these disciplines and areas of inquiry, (2) determine guidelines for the quality and expected outcomes of training experiences, and (3) maintain funding for a sufficient period of time to assess the impact of training programs on the goal of increasing minority representation in cancer research fields.