AACR celebrates 20th anniversary of minority scholar awards


PHILADELPHIA -- A little over twenty years ago, members of the American Association for Cancer Research began an important dialogue about the advancement of minority investigators in the field of cancer research. The result of this discussion was the creation of a new award program designed to enhance the education and training of early career minority investigators by providing financial awards for participation in AACR conferences. First known as NCI Minority Travel Awards, this program was expanded to further meet the varied needs of minority scientists and is known today as the AACR Minority Scholar Awards in Cancer Research program.

Since 1985 the AACR has received generous funding from the Comprehensive Minority Biomedical Branch of the National Cancer Institute to administer the AACR Minority Scholar Awards in Cancer Research program. For 20 years the AACR has endeavored through this program to reach out to minority predoctoral and postdoctoral students, trainees, and junior investigators as future cancer researchers.

The program was created in an attempt to address the serious problem of lack of minority participation in cancer research by offering young minority students and trainees the opportunity to attend and participate in the annual meetings and special conferences of the AACR. By attending these meetings, these young scientists and clinicians have been introduced to a broad spectrum of the most timely and significant research being conducted worldwide in basic, clinical, and translational cancer research. They have had the opportunity to meet formally and informally with many of those scientists presenting at the meeting to discuss their research, a true example of both role modeling and mentoring.

In recognition of the 20th anniversary of this meritorious award program, the AACR, AACR-Minorities in Cancer Research, and the Comprehensive Minority Biomedical Branch of the National Cancer Institute will sponsor a Special Session and Formal Gala on Saturday, April 16, 2005, during the 96th AACR Annual Meeting in Anaheim, Calif.

The Special Session will be divided into two segments that will:

  • highlight the milestones in cancer research and minority populations over the past 20 years; and
  • emphasize the current status of minorities in cancer research and how minority investigators are shaping the future.

    Several awards will be given to honor past award recipients as well as other minority researchers who have made significant contributions to cancer research.

    Prior recipients of Minority Scholar Awards who will receive special recognition during the ceremony include:

  • Charles Richard Thomas, Jr., M.D., Associate Professor & Vice Chairman, Dept. of Radiation Oncology, San Antonio Cancer Institute, CTRC/Grossman Cancer Center, San Antonio, Texas
  • Olufunmilayo I. Olopade, M.D., Professor of Medicine, University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, Ill.

    Although not a past recipient of a Minority Scholar Award, special award recognition will also be presented to Eddie Reed, M.D., Director, Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center at West Virginia University, for his long-term and significant contributions to the cancer field.

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