The Florida Prostate Cancer Research Training Opportunities for Outstanding Leaders (ReTOOL) Program: Creating Opportunities for Minority HBCU Students

Project: Research project

Project Details


Background: There is a need to develop a cadre of racially and ethnically diverse, well-trained scientists to (1) increase the capacity for scientific research among underserved populations; (2) address cultural appropriateness of the conceptualization, design, and implementation of research ideas; (3) effectively and respectfully deliver health care interventions for diverse populations; and (4) eliminate health disparities. To address the lack of well-trained minority prostate cancer (CaP) scientists in Florida, the University of Florida (UF) Prostate Disease Center and Florida A&M University (FAMU) have partnered to eliminate the following barriers documented for minority scientists: (1) lack of committed role models; (2) inadequate mentoring; (3) insufficient preparation; (4) low expectations; and (5) not being aware of the culture and idioms of science.

Objective: To achieve our long-term goal of increasing the pool of minority CaP researchers, our primary objective is to develop, promote, and sustain an independent, competitive CaP research training program that creates opportunities and promotes careers in CaP research for minority HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) students through the Florida Prostate Cancer Research Training Opportunities for Outstanding Leaders (ReTOOL) Program.

Specific Aims: The following specific aims are proposed for the ReTOOL program:

(1) Support the research training of five FAMU undergraduate students annually for 2 years within the scientific environment of the UF Prostate Disease Center (PDC) by (a) providing a strong didactic curriculum that focuses on CaP, health disparities and cultural competency; (b) providing access to participate in UF seminars, workshops, and grand rounds; (c) providing formal mentorship; (d) placing students in a peer-reviewed, funded CaP research environment to foster learning, provide positive mentor/mentee interactions, and cultivate an interest in CaP research; and (e) creating a series of support networks and activities to assist student participants in utilizing the UFDC, UF Shands Cancer Center, university, community, and national resources.

(2) Provide continuous career development support for 10 FAMU students for the purpose of creating opportunities and fostering careers focused on eliminating CaP disparities.

Program Design: Directed by Dr. Folakemi Odedina who is well known for her work on CaP disparities, the program mentors include over 25 UF basic, clinical, and behavioral scientists. In addition to Dr. Odedina (a behavioral scientist), there are five primary mentors -- three basic scientists (Dr. Yehia Daaka, Dr. Sergei Kusmartsev, and Dr. Zhongzhen Nie) and two clinical scientists (Dr. Philipp Dahm and Dr. Nancy Hardt). The FAMU faculty advisor is Dr. Renee Reams, and she will oversee the recruitment of students. The recruitment plans will include an annual workshop conducted by Dr. Odedina and a UF mentor at FAMU. The program will be well promoted at FAMU beginning in the fall semester of each grant year through the FAMUINFO e-mail service, FAMU TV, FAMU Radio, and mailings of fliers. In addition, Dr. Reams will recruit outstanding students from the FAMU Student Research Forum, which she directs. The ReTOOL program comprises a comprehensive training program to ensure trainees are knowledgeable in their respective areas of research interests: (1) didactic training, (2) mentorship, (3) independent reading, (4) attendance and participation in local and national conferences, (5) mentored research for 12 weeks, and (6) continuous career development for minority students at FAMU. We will utilize the contract services of the UF Survey Research Center (UFSRC) to track trainees after participation in the program to determine their career progress. The UFSRC will track trainees through bi-annual surveys for 5 years after the summer training program using multiple models.

Impact: The ReTOOL program will significantly impact the likelihood of the trainees entering careers in CaP research in many ways. The expected outcomes include: (1) establishment of a research training program focused on CaP; (2) 10 FAMU students who are committed to eliminating CaP disparities through research; (3) 10 completed projects by FAMU students under the supervision of UF scientists; (4) a minimum of five peer-reviewed abstracts presented at national/international conferences; (5) a minimum of five peer-reviewed publications; (6) one community report annually to disseminate findings of trainees to the lay public; and (7) a pipeline of future minority students that will lead to a competitive pool of underrepresented minorities poised to become the next generation of CaP clinicians and/or scientists.

Our application builds on the signature success of the Department of Defense funded STPA Project INSPIRE by the Moffitt Cancer Center and FAMU, with Dr. Odedina serving as the FAMU faculty advisor. With .......

Effective start/end date2/15/1212/14/14


  • Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs: $199,588.00


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