The American Cancer Society recently launched the Diversity in Cancer Research program, a permanent umbrella that will support the American Cancer Society’s effort to foster a more diverse scientific workforce community. This has been made possible through an endowment contribution from Elizabeth and Phill Gross and their family. The initial investment will be made to initiate Diversity in Cancer Research internships, which will offer biomedical cancer research internships for undergraduate students from racial and ethnic backgrounds that are underrepresented in the scientific community.
“The American Cancer Society’s goal is to decrease the U.S. cancer death rate by an additional 40% by 2035,” said American Cancer Society Chief Executive Officer Gary Reedy. “To accomplish this ambitious plan, we must tackle the racial health disparities that exist in cancer. This includes addressing the critical need for diversity and inclusion in the scientific workforce by increasing the proportion of researchers and clinicians of color. We are so grateful to Elizabeth and Phill Gross for their generous funding of this game-changing initiative.”
Building a More Diverse Workplace
The Diversity in cancer research program will build on the American Cancer Society’s existing research career development grant programs by promoting the training of undergraduate students underrepresented in biomedical cancer research and by encouraging the pursuit of careers that will increase diversity in cancer research. This approach is critical to invigorating problem-solving, driving innovation, and ultimately better equipping the scientific community to address inequities that exist in cancer prevention, treatment, and care.
To begin, 40 internships per year for 10 years will be granted under the “American Cancer Society/Gross Family Diversity in Research Internship” name. In addition, an advisory committee has been formed to focus on the implementation of the internship program and lead the development of new programs under the umbrella. New programs will include additional targeted initiatives for underrepresented students, faculty, and clinicians—all aimed at increasing the diversity of the workforce in cancer research and patient care.