The PACR began in 1999, when Dr. Lee Hartwell, then President and Director of Fred Hutch, approached New Mexico State University (NMSU) about the possibility of collaborating. In 2018, we received our third consecutive cycle of funding through the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Since the Partnership’s inception, we have fostered and supported 33 collaborative projects focused on cancer research, training, or outreach, resulting in 126 authored publications. We have contributed to the career development of 39 early stage investigators, enriched the training and educational experiences for 697 undergraduate and graduate students, and increased knowledge about cancer screening, treatment, and prevention for approximately 10,000 underserved outreach program participants residing in New Mexico.
Our overall goals are to expand the regional cancer program at NMSU and increase knowledge and attention to cancer-related health disparities at both NMSU and the Hutch. To achieve these aims, we have assembled a diverse portfolio of innovative cancer research projects (two full and two pilot projects) that each address an unmet regional need among underrepresented populations. Recent emphasis on health disparities represents a shift in the focus of our Partnership from basic to public health science research projects. These projects benefit from strong community input.
In addition to the four research projects, we maintain five cores: Administrative, Planning and Evaluation, Research Education About Cancer and Health (REACH), Outreach, and Sustain Competitive Cancer Early Stage Scientists (SuCCESS). These cores promote the development of cancer research, education, community collaboration, in-reach, and outreach.
We continually evaluate and strengthen our training programs for current and future scientists from underrepresented communities.
The PACR provides internships at Fred Hutch for NMSU undergrad and grad students, a teaching experience at NMSU for Fred Hutch post-docs, an innovative field experience in New Mexico, and additional scientific workshops on NMSU’s campus.
The Outreach Core will work with community groups in areas where all people do not have a fair chance to get good health. We will try to reduce the uneven health experience that affects these communities by working with the communities themselves. Community members know the needs that are important to the people that live there. In this community approach, researchers and community members decide what activities are needed in their communities. We often ask community members to be a part of Community Advisory Boards (CABs) to help the Outreach Core plan activities and events. We work with communities to make sure the activities last over time. At the same time, community members learn about how science works so that future activities can be done and can be tested.
The Outreach Core has four different programs:
Small Grants Program: Both NM and WA have a yearly grant-writing workshop to teach community members how to write an effective grant application. The Outreach Core invites community groups to submit their applications for new projects that will decrease the risk of getting cancer. Selected applications receive money to do their projects.
Field Experience: We want students to learn about working with people who do not have equal chances to get good health. Every year, students in graduate school will spend time in NM to learn how to make sure everyone has an equal chance to receive good health care. Students work with program staff, Community Health Educators and staff in communities and clinics to learn about the difficulties that affect the people who do not have good health chances.
Community Health Education Activities: Both NM and WA provide health education to people living in those states. Community Health Educators (CHEs) deliver tested activities to community members. These activities are approved by the Community Advisory Boards.
Cooperative Extension Services: NMSU works with Cooperative Extensive Services to give online cancer education to employees. By doing online education, we hope to reach more community members in NM. A program like this is also being planned in WA.
In support of the PACR mission to bring more members of underrepresented populations into the field of cancer research, we provide internships for NMSU students to work at the world-class Fred Hutch facility. Watch as three graduates describe their experience participating in internships sponsored by the PACR.