American Cancer Society

American Cancer Society and four Historically Black Colleges and Universities Announce Groundbreaking Diversity in Cancer Research Program to Improve Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Unique Program Will Create A More Inclusive Cancer Research Environment, Help Address Health Disparities


Atlanta-September 22, 2021  -   The American Cancer Society (ACS), along with four historically black medical schools including Charles Drew Medical School, Howard University, Meharry Medical College and Morehouse School of Medicine, today announced a groundbreaking Diversity in Cancer Research (DICR) Program to help improved diversity, equity and inclusion in the cancer research field.   The inaugural initiatives of the overarching program include DICR Institutional Development Grants.  The four HBCU’s have received DICR grants in a pilot program for 2021-2022.

The awards provided through the DICR program are unique in cancer research.  They provide a large amount of salary support for the four colleges to select clinical faculty who need more dedicated time for their cancer research and scholarly activities.  They also fund other student and postdoctoral program and underpin the awards with career development funds and mentorship by established American Cancer Society Professors.  The grants will build sustainability for both clinical and scientific cancer-focused careers, launching or sustaining the careers of 104 individuals by 2025.

The impactful program will create a more inclusive research environment to address health disparities more effectively and could lead to targeted recruitment efforts focused on bringing people of color into clinical research protocols. Establishing a research community that is made up of a diverse group of people is vital to ensuring scientific excellence.

American Society Subaward Requirements

Subaward Grant Mechanisms


Pilot Grants

Applicants must be full-time faculty within the first 6-years of initial appointment who have not yet obtained R-level funding.

Clinician Scientist Development Grants

Applicants must be early career clinical scientists (Instructor or Assistant Professor) within the initial 6 years of a faculty appointment with a clinical license and has a role in clinical care.

Post-doctoral Fellows

Researchers who are US citizens or permanent residents and within three years of receiving a doctoral degree.

Masters Scholars

Students must be enrolled in a master program with an interest in Cancer Control and Prevention or cancer research. 

Award Amount and Term

Subaward Grant Mechanisms


Pilot Grants (16)

$30,000; 4 grant/years x 4 years = $ 480,000

Clinician Scientist Development Grants (2)

$600,000 x 2 clinicians over 4 years = $1,200,000

Post-Doctoral Fellowships (2)

$175,500 x 2 post-docs over 3 years = $351,000

Masters Scholars (6)

$25,000/year x 2 MS x 2 years; 3 MS cohorts: $300,000

Summary of Research Subawards

Pilot Grants

Shaneeta M. Johnson, MD, MBA, FACS
Sasha Corbin, MD
Department of Surgery/Morehouse School of Medicine

Pilot Grant: Disparities In Colon Cancer Amongst African Descendants: A Retrospective Observational Pilot Study comparing African Americans and Afro-Caribbean Persons

Desiree A. Rivers, PhD, MSPH
Robina Josiah Willock, PhD, MPH
Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine/Morehouse School of Medicine

Pilot Grant: Bridges to Cancer Health Equity Navigator Training

Benjamin D. Renelus M.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine/Morehouse School of Medicine

Pilot Grant: Closing the Gap in Minority Participation in Clinical Trials (In Progress)

Clinician Scientist Development Grants

Regina Lee, MD
Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology/Morehouse School of Medicine

Clinician Scientist Development Grant: Molecular Classification of Endometrial Cancer and Clinical Outcomes in African American women  (under review)

Post-Doctoral Fellows

Victoria Churchill, PhD
Georgia State University
Post-Doctoral Candidate: Tobacco Research/Health Communication (In progress)