Health and Nutrition

Diversifying the Ranks of Cancer Researchers To Help Reduce Cancer Disparities


By the National Cancer Institute

BETHESDA, Md., Aug. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Somewhere in a research laboratory, an African American woman with a medical degree is helping to solve the mysteries of breast cancer.  She is working with colleagues to find out why young African American women are disproportionately affected by triple-negative breast cancer, an aggressive and often deadly form of the disease.  In another laboratory, an African American man who is an expert on prostate cancer is examining results from a new test that may one day help explain the disparity in which black men are more likely to develop and die from prostate cancer than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States.

As the research community invests more resources into investigating cancer and other health disparities, improving diversity in the research ranks is critical. Underrepresented researchers bring more to the table than education and training credentials.  Researchers from underserved communities can help educate and interest patients from their respective communities in cancer clinical trials because they are trusted by patients in those communities. They can also provide cultural insight that other researchers may not have.  For example, an African American cancer researcher is more likely to understand the "fear" some African American men have of regularly visiting the doctor or understand that, in many African American households, the woman is the medical "gatekeeper."

Yet, the shortage of underrepresented investigators in biomedical research labs is pronounced. Between 2000 and 2008, African Americans earned just 1,900 of the 82,000 doctoral degrees in biology, chemistry, and physics awarded by U.S. institutions, according to the National Science Foundation.  

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is opening doors for African Americans and others from underserved communities to join the cancer research enterprise.  Through two key programs, NCI aims to encourage more researchers from underserved communities to join the field and prepare underrepresented scientists for the rigors of a research career.

The Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) program provides training and career development opportunities to researchers as young as high school students all the way up to junior investigators. The program helps researchers enhance their skills and opportunities through formal networking and mentoring, and it provides a range of funding opportunities for CURE participants.

NCI's Partnership to Advance Cancer Health Equity (PACHE) program offers intensive training opportunities for participants by fostering partnerships between NCI-designated cancer centers and academic institutions that provide services to racially and ethnically diverse or underserved communities. The PACHE program has a total of 17 partnership sites.

Both CURE and PACHE are run by the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities. The center was created in 2001 to reduce the unequal burden of cancer in our society and train the next generation of competitive researchers in cancer and cancer health disparities research.

The commitment to enhance diversity in biomedical research also extends to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NCI's parent agency.  NIH is working to increase the ranks of researchers from underserved communities and to enhance opportunities for more researchers of color to obtain research funding through a formal Working Group on Diversity in the Biomedical Research Workforce.  The group presented a plan of action in August 2011 that called for investing more than $500 million in programs over the next decade to encourage more underrepresented individuals to become biomedical scientists. 

NCI has a growing cadre of researchers from underserved communities who are leading the way in helping the cancer research community address cancer disparities. You can learn more by reading the Lifelines® profiles of Drs. Jorge Gomez and Tanya Agurs-Collins here.

NCI leads the National Cancer Program and the NIH effort to dramatically reduce the burden of cancer and improve the lives of cancer patients and their families, through research into prevention and cancer biology, the development of new interventions, and the training and mentoring of new researchers. For more information about cancer, please visit the NCI web site at or call NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237). More articles and videos in the culturally relevant Lifelines series are available


CONTACT: James Alexander, +1-240-276-6633,

Tallevast, FL: Environmental Racism, Corporate Greed and Waiting for People to Die [VIDEO]

This is another instance of environmental injustice in the United States. I know all of the residents in the video. They deserve better treatment than that shown to them thus far. Where is the outrage and support from environmental and civl rights organizations? It seems as if the powers to be are waiting for the residents to die so the problem will go away. I think not.

Bodybuilding for Women: How much is too much?

Iris kyle schwarzenegger Did you see this photo of female bodybuilding champion Iris Kyle and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in JET magazine?   It's common knowledge that Gov. Schwarzenegger's claim to fame was via the bodybuilding circuit. He is probably the most famous Mr. Olympia ever and he hasn't competed professionally in decades. Schwarzenegger's bodybuilding led him to movies and ultimately politics.

I followed female bodybuilding in the late seventies and added light weights to my workouts because I seemed to develop muscle definition in my arms very easily and that wasn't what I was looking for at the time. Anyhoo, that was a long time ago and I'd not kept up with the sport since the mid-eighties when the champions started looking a little too muscular for my taste.

When I saw the photo of Ms. Kyle I was shocked by her extreme muscle development. To each his or her own so my preference has absolutely no effect on Ms. Kyle or anyone else. I know that some men find muscular women very sexy. I won't go into the discussion of body types or the frequent use of anabolic steroids and their effect or even the disparity in prize awards and endorsements for women compared to men. Here's what I'd like to know from you: Is an extremely muscular woman attractive to you?

My Top Five Women Bodybuilders (In no particular order.):

  1. Rachel McLish
  2. Carla Dunlap
  3. Lisa Lyon
  4. Gladys Portugues
  5. Kike Elomaa

Here are some of my early female body building favorites. Click on the photo to learn more.

Lisa Lyon

Carla Dunlap

Is this too much muscle development or do you find this attractive?

Iris Kyle

Bev Francis

Regardless of your opinion, these athletes are to be commended for their discipline and accomplishments. It's also great to see how many have transitioned to entrepreneurs also. Getting paid for what you love to do is always a smart move.

Related links:

  • Wikipedia: Female Bodybuilding
  • Official Website of the IFBB Professional League
  • Official Web Site of the National Physique Committee, Inc and The NPC News Magazine

  • Am I Not Human?: Too Much to Eat for Thanksgiving

    I am grateful…blessed…appreciative of all the favor bestowed upon me and my family through the years. I am thankful that both of my parents are alive and still together. I have an awesome circle of friends both offline and online; I'm even grateful for my brother and I hope he never reads that. When all is said and done, no matter how hard I try, my family has too much food leftover after Thanksgiving dinner.

    There was a time when I could eat enough to put any guy to shame but now I just really don't feel like it. No matter how much I try to put it out of my consciousness, my thoughts drift back to those less fortunate: my tortured brothers in sisters Darfur; missing, murdered and malnourished children in Haiti, still displaced citizens from the Gulf Coast, and the homeless in any town anywhere in the world.

    The world has been energized by the election of Barack Hussein Obama as the next president of the United States of America. It is my wish that he also make it a priority to help stop the poverty, genocide, rape and torture that many have to deal with on a daily basis all over the world. The more we talk about the horrific conditions many live in, the more we expose the horror and can do something about it. it's time for us to do something meaningful and sustaining.

    These monthly blog posts are a way to send a message from a united front of concerned citizens around the world. Feel free to join us each month in this message of hope, love and respect until we can affect the change needed by our brothers and sisters in Darfur and around the world. Are they not human?

    Peace and Blessings to All and Happy Day of Thanksgiving.


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    Remembering Julius Carry III and Gene Upshaw

    Julius Carry III

    Gene Upshaw

    Actor Julius Carry, III passed away; he was 56. Although Carry appeared in several roles in movies and on television, he will always be remembered as Sho'Nuff from the movie, The Last Dragon. Professional football player and labor union leader Gene Upshaw also passed away; he was 63. Upshaw was a trailblazer moving ably from the football field to capable but also controversial labor union leader.

    It's important to note that both of these gentlemen died from pancreatic cancer. A little research shows that often when pancreatic cancer is diagnosed, it's already too late. The usual risk factors of smoking, obesity, family history and older age didn't surprise me but the fact that pancreatic cancer occurs more frequently in blacks than in whites really threw me for a loop. Further issues of pancreatic cancer, weight and black women are also wake-up calls to make sure to keep my health in check.

    Both Carry and Upshaw made their mark in their chosen profession. They will be remembered and sorely missed by family, friends and fans. Although we will all die as surely as we are born, let's try to live healthy lives until it is time for our transition.


    Alpha Kappa Alpha to Host Historic Global Walk on June 28

    Chicago, IL ( - On June 28, over 50,000 members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will link arms in a synchronized ESP 1908 Global Centennial Walk to raise awareness about the importance of fitness. Stepping off at the same time, worldwide, the members will send a strong statement about the importance of Emotional, Spiritual and Physical health.

    Esp_pink_green Leading the walk will be International President Barbara A. McKinzie, who will be joined by 50,000 members from nearly 1,000 chapters, as well as friends and families who recognize the significance of making one's health a priority.

    Those participating include members from every region, as well as from Canada, Germany, the Virgin Islands and the Bahamas. The walk is being coordinated by AKA's International Program Committee, chaired by Loann Honesty King. In planning the in-sync walk, King declared that the walk is full of symbolism that revolves around the Sorority's Centennial.

    "To commemorate the Sorority's founding year--1908--the contingent will walk a symbolic 1908 steps, which is approximately two miles," King said.

    In setting to this historic walk, participants will all face in the direction of Washington, DC, where Alpha Kappa Alpha's Centennial convention takes place, July 11-18. After completing the two-mile walk, members will meet again at the Sorority's biennial convention on Sunday, July 13 in Washington. There, in another show of solidarity, members will walk 1908 steps to the Washington Convention Center. At the culmination of this event, President McKinzie will lead members into the Center and the historic Centennial convention will officially begin.

    Continue reading "Alpha Kappa Alpha to Host Historic Global Walk on June 28" »

    Request for Prayer for Healing, Uplift and Strength

    I apologize that I've not posted to this blog as frequently as I'd like. I've not shared with you the recent challenges on my time and energy that have been wrought due to the illness of my mother. My experience with the health care industry and insurance companies during the last week and a half has afforded me several days of blog posts and most of them will not be pretty. I won't go off Michael Moore style right now, but I will later.

    I am a firm believer in the power of prayer so I ask that you pray for the healing of my mother, Mary Woodard. I also ask that you pray for the emotional and physical strength of my dad, Art Woodard. My folks have been married for 57 years and my dad tries to be with her every moment he can. My dad is old school so he internalizes his emotions, except for anger. Speaking of anger, I also ask that you pray for God's control over my anger that will allow me to register my dissatisfaction with the service provided by a hospital staff member without raising my voice and losing my cool.

    I will keep you posted about my experience and perhaps you will share your experiences also. I have to end this post now because I have to get ready for work and write an e-mail to the hospital administrator and public relations office about the unacceptable behavior of the social worker assigned to my mother.

    I've already complained about the lax hospital security and insufficient air conditioning – heat promotes germs. I'm sure some of the staff will be glad to see me leave and others are glad I've voiced my concerns. In arguably, the hospital workers are overworked and underpaid. There is still a need to provide customer care that is better treatment than cattle on a farm. I said I wouldn't go there in this post.

    Thank you for all positive thoughts for my family during this time. I'll post as time and energy allow. In the meantime, check out this article: Who's making money off the health care crisis?

    Killing black babies before they have a chance at life

    A disturbing article from the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper reports that the death rate for black infants in Leon County is higher than some poor nations while the same rate for white infants is far less than the most advanced nations.

    What's up with that? Leon County is home to Florida's capital city, Tallahassee. Florida, the state where folks can't vote and the President's brother is its immediate past Governor? Yes, the same one. [Click here to read more.]

    How safe is the food you eat?

    Ecoli E. coli and an extensive beef recall have forced the closing of the Topps Meat Company. Topps was one of the largest meat processing companies in the United States. If the safety of the food supply in the United States doesn't cause you some concern, I don't know what will.

    If there was ever a time to consider the switch to vegetarianism, this would be it. If Topps sold tainted beef, isn't is reasonable to assume other companies are guilty of the same? It wasn't the company, it was the beef.

    I know of a gentleman who died recently from e. coli tainted beef bologna. After a hospital stay and surgery, he was sent home and died a few days later in the arms of his daughter. I'll spare you the description of his body's reaction during his last moments but let's just say that it was horrific and disgusting to the point that I'm considering the ultimate transition to a vegan lifestyle.

    By far, the most comprehensive and informative site is sponsored by the folks at PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). Yes, those are the same folks that went a tad overboard regarding the Michael Vick case but be sure to check out their website for shocking facts on nutrition and the food industry.

    Going vegetarian is easy. Grocery stores are always stocked with colorful vegetables and plenty of other vegan foods. Almost all grocery stores now carry delicious faux meat products, too—from veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs to vegetarian chicken nuggets, ribs, steak strips, and more. With all these great products available, it's easier than ever to whip up delicious meat-free meals at home. Going out to eat couldn't be easier too! With more and more people becoming vegetarian these days, most restaurants now offer great-tasting, healthy vegetarian selections.

    Making the Transition

    Watch more videos at

    Pledge to Be Veg for 30 Days!

    Famous Vegetarians



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