UMass Boston-Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center Partnership Receives $13.7 Million

December 15, 2010

Office of Communications


The UMass Boston-Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (UMB-DF/HCC) comprehensive cancer partnership program has been awarded a $13.7 million, five-year grant from the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities to contribute to strengthening the national cancer research program.

Led by co-principal investigators Drs. Adán Colón-Carmona, UMass Boston, and Karen Emmons, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, this unique public-private partnership will build on its many successes in addressing health disparities in minority populations, and in improving research, training, and outreach opportunities for minority students, nurses, and scientists in the following three areas: collaborative cancer research, shared cancer training efforts, and cancer outreach.

One of the nation’s greatest health challenges is reducing the profound disparity in health status of America’s racial and ethnic minorities compared with the population as a whole. The UMB-DF/HCC partnership envisions an America in which all populations will have an equal opportunity to live long, healthy, and productive lives.

Drs. Colón-Carmona and Emmons have jointly issued the following statement: “On behalf of the partnership and all of our colleagues at UMass Boston and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, we are honored to participate in cutting-edge cancer research and education of the type that will help to ensure the future good health of our children and our children’s children.”

“The grant, and thus our partnership, recognizes the critical need to continue designing and developing an inclusive approach to promoting and achieving human diversity in the areas of cancer research, training, and outreach,” said UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley, PhD. “As we know, cancer maims and kills regardless of our socioeconomic status. At the same time, we need to do a much better job of identifying and understanding those socioeconomic factors that lead to a greater incidence of cancer in one group and not another. As we endeavor to reduce suffering in all people, I can think of no finer institution than the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to help show us the way.”

“When our partnership officially embarked on this collaborative endeavor in 2005, significant strides had been made during the past century to reduce the burden of many diseases, including cancer, but the same could not be said about the efforts to eliminate health disparities,” said Edward J. Benz Jr., MD, director of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center and president of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “This is changing, however, as programs such as this partnership are focusing greater attention on cancer prevention, early detection, and equal care, regardless of social status or race.

“Now we must further challenge ourselves to build on this success and see improvements in health outcomes across the board for our citizens.”

The grant also will provide support for improving research, training, and outreach initiatives for minority students, fellows, nurses, and scientists. Focused on three areas – collaborative cancer research, shared cancer training efforts, and cancer outreach – the program will:

• Further develop interdisciplinary programs of collaborative research that stimulate basic cancer research at UMass Boston and health disparities research at both UMass Boston and DF/HCC;
• Increase and enhance cancer-focused training opportunities for minority students, postdoctoral fellows, and nursing PhD students;
• Increase community outreach, cancer education, and dissemination of evidenced-based programs; and
• Develop shared mechanisms for minority faculty recruitment and career development.

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About the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute ( is a principal teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School and is among the leading cancer research and care centers in the United States. It is a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC), designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute. It provides adult cancer care with Brigham and Women's Hospital as Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center and it provides pediatric care with Children's Hospital Boston as Dana-Farber/Children's Hospital Cancer Center. Dana-Farber is the top ranked cancer center in New England, according to U.S. News & World Report, and one of the largest recipients among independent hospitals of National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health grant funding.

About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex urban issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston (, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s eight colleges and graduate schools serve over 15,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities.