Charles Drew University of Medicine And Science - Division of Cancer Research And Training
Letter from our Director


Dear Colleagues, Community Members, and Students,

As the Chief of the Division of Cancer Research and Training and Director of the Center to Eliminate Cancer Health Disparities at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, I welcome you.

I first joined Charles Drew University family in 1992 as Director of Laboratory Research and Development. This was a historic time for the community who had just survived the 1992 Los Angeles Riots. I witnessed firsthand how the economic disparities of the area had fostered an unprecedented rise in health disparities, especially cancer health disparities, in our CDU community. After over 10 years of research and effort, the Division of Cancer Research and Training was formally established in 2002 at CDU to address these cancer health disparities through a multi-pronged translational research approach. 

In our short history, the Division and our team of dedicated researchers have conducted basic translational research, for which we have received numerous national and international recognition, awards, and competitive grant funding from National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense (D o D), and other national sources. The Division is continuing to train highly competitive and award winning students, including undergraduate, graduate and medical students, in performing multi-faceted translational research on cancer health disparities. We are now establishing ourselves as key researchers in the field of participatory research within the local South Los Angeles community.

In 2009, we were awarded a U54 grant to form a partnership between our Division and the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center to further address cancer health disparities. The Partnership proposes to enhance infrastructure for cancer disparities research, training, and outreach and to improve cancer health outcomes in the greater communities these two institutions serve. CDU has been a national leader in translational and health disparities research, and the proposed partnership brings new strength and focus to disparities in cancer. The Partnership’s overarching goal is to create cancer programs aimed at understanding the reasons behind significant cancer disparities and related impacts on racial and ethnic minority and socio-economically disadvantaged populations.

I am very pleased to report that we are making excellent progress in our work. We have been very fortunate to collaborate with some of the most well-respected and well-trained researchers in the world, both here at CDU and at UCLA. I invite you to spend some time learning about our efforts, training and research opportunities, and on-going activities. I am very proud of our numerous accomplishments and look forward to future success in addressing the needs of our community, as well as contributing to the reduction of cancer health disparities among racial and ethnic minority populations throughout the country.

Jay Vadgama, Ph.D.

CDU Division of Cancer Research and Training Chief
Endowed Chair in Cancer Research
CDU Director, Molecular Oncology Program
Department of Medicine
Professor of Medicine
UCLA School of Medicine