The National Cancer Institute has awarded a five-year, $13 million grant renewal to Northern Arizona University and University of Arizona Cancer Center’s Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention.
The renewal of the grant will provide funding to continue addressing cancer disparities among Native Americans through research, training and outreach programs. NAU will receive $7 million and the UA will receive $6 million.
Native American Cancer Prevention programs and projects are jointly developed and implemented by NAU, UA and the Hopi, Navajo and Tohono O’odham tribal communities. The programs are designed to facilitate the entry of Native Americans into biomedical research and health care professions while engaging communities in research and training relevant to their needs.
“This is the first partnership funded by the National Cancer Institute aimed at the huge burden that cancer places on Native Americans,” said Laura Huenneke, provost and lead investigator for the NAU portion of the partnership.
NAU researchers have the opportunity to build their skills and accomplishments through work with collaborators and resources from the University of Arizona Cancer Center.
“We’re excited that during the new funding period we will partner with several tribes to increase their own community capacity to tackle challenges in cancer prevention and control,” Huenneke said. “Renewal funding also permits us to continue expanding cancer-related research capacity at NAU, an important element of meeting the goal for increased research impacts.”
The projects contribute to scientific understanding of the causes and impacts of cancer in Arizona’s tribal communities and include laboratory, field-based and community-based participatory research. All programs and research projects originate in the community in partnership with NACP students, staff and faculty.
“The National Cancer Institute has been a tremendous resource for introducing and developing Native American students in cancer research,” said Jani Ingram, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and NAU’s principal investigator for the training core of the partnership. “NACP has impacted the lives of many students at both NAU and the UA, and I am very excited that we can continue and expand our efforts in working with Native American students.”