Dr. Christopher Li, assistant member in the Center's Epidemiology Program, received a Minority Access National Faculty Researcher Role Model Award at the sixth annual National Role Models Conference, held last weekend in Los Vegas, Nev. According to Andrea Mickle, president and chief executive officer of Minority Access, Inc., Li "symbolizes Minority Access' ideal faculty researcher role model — one who has exemplary achievements in research worthy of emulation."
The annual National Role Models Conference, held in cooperation with the National Center of Minority Health and Health Disparities and supported by the Office of Minority Health, honors minority individuals who have excelled in research, particularly in the biomedical sciences and health related fields, and their mentors and supporters of any race.
Li's research interests lie principally in the field of breast cancer and understanding factors related to its etiology and outcomes using a multidisciplinary approach. He has also examined disparities in cancer stage, treatment and survival by race or ethnicity. Among breast-cancer cases, Li and his colleagues found that compared to Non-Hispanic Whites, African Americans, Native Americans, Hawaiians, Indians/Pakistanis, Mexicans, South/Central Americans and Puerto Ricans have a 1.4 to 3.6-fold greater risk of presenting with stage IV breast cancer. African Americans, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans were also 20 to 50 percent more likely to receive a first course of surgical and radiation treatment not meeting the 2000 National Comprehensive Cancer Network standards. Additionally, African Americans, Native Americans, Hawaiians, Vietnamese, Mexicans, South/Central Americans and Puerto Ricans had 20 to 200 percent greater risks of mortality following a breast-cancer diagnosis.
This year's conference, entitled "Diversity in Retrospect and Prospect: Expanding the Pool of Researchers to Reduce Health Disparities," attracted students, researchers, and college and university faculty members and administrators from across the nation. The conference also featured a recruitment fair in cooperation with Nevada's Clark County School District, the fifth largest school district in the nation.
Minority Access, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that supports individuals, institutions, federal, state, and local government agencies, and various corporations to diversify campuses and work sites by improving the recruitment, retention and enhancement of minorities. Minority Access, Inc. is located in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area.