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Mayo to Study Cancer Disparities in Native Americans

The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center has received a $6 million five-year Community Networks Program Center grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to further develop its cancer health disparities outreach within American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities.

Mayo Clinic has a 30-year history of working within these communities to help improve health outcomes, recognizing that they suffer from high incidence rates and poor survival rates for most cancers.

Founded in 2000 as one of 18 NCI-funded special populations networks to support culturally- appropriate cancer control activities, Mayo Clinic's Spirit of E.A.G.L.E.S. program created a national consortium of approximately 200 members, including AI/AN community representatives and students, cancer advocacy groups and academic cancer centers.

Expanding on this foundation, the new Spirit of E.A.G.L.E.S. Community Network Program will continue this collaboration, focusing now on comprehensive cancer control, including translational research, clinical trials and continued community-based participatory research.

Specifically, this funding will enable clinical research studies to be conducted in Alaska and Wisconsin, as well as help formalize the Hampton Faculty Fellows Program to mentor the next generation of Native American cancer control researchers.

As one of only two American Indian medical oncologists in the country, Mayo Clinic's Native American Programs director Judith Kaur, MD is uniquely positioned to lead this program.

"This grant will enable us to build upon the important community outreach and research that we have been dedicated to over the past three decades," says Dr. Kaur, who works with a multidisciplinary team of Mayo colleagues dedicated to disparities outreach. "The program has been gaining momentum, especially the many important relationships we've established within these communities. We're looking forward to expanding our crucial work to help educate and subsequently save lives."

Photo: Judith Kaur, MD


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