Charles Drew University of Medicine And Science - Division of Cancer Research And Training

Charles Drew University (CDU) is a private nonprofit, secular, minority-serving medical and health science institution established in 1966 as a postgraduate medical school to help society’s poorest communities. Established when California Governor’s McCone’s Commission cited poor health status and diminished access to healthcare as among the major factors fomenting the 1965 civil unrest in Watts, the university’s mission is to conduct education and research in the context of community service in order to train physicians and allied health professionals to provide care with excellence and compassion, especially to underserved populations. CDU, which continues to serve as the only academic health sciences center for the area’s 1.5 million people, is also the only designated minority-serving health-sciences university in a county of more than 10 million people, 70 percent of whom are from minority communities. Defined as a Minority Serving Institution, the university’s College of Medicine (COM) is a Historically Black Graduate Institution. The university is a charter member of the Hispanic Serving Health Professions Schools.

CDU and Cancer Research: In 1995, CDU initiated a structured cellular and molecular oncology research program. Lead by Dr. Jay Vadgama, the research program has remained continuously funded from competitive research grants from the National Institute of Health (NIH) and other national grant sources. In 2002, the Department of Internal Medicine established a formal Division of Cancer Research and Training under the leadership of Dr. Jay Vadgama. This development complemented an evolving partnership with UCLA, and it attested to a long-term focus in cancer research, training, education, and treatment. Soon after, CDU and UCLA established a formal, partnered breast cancer research training program to enable promising CDU faculty and postdoctoral fellows to obtain the critical experience and training necessary for independent funding. Since then, CDU and UCLA have collaborated on several projects which have been funded by more than $14 million in grants from federal institutions.

Center to Eliminate Cancer Health Disparities was established through the Division of Cancer Research and Training in 2009 through a grant from the National Institute of Health. Numerous research projects are currently being conducted by the Center’s faculty and staff, including basic laboratory research, community outreach and engagement and clinical trials activities.

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