Background/Rationale: A barrier to improving access to quality care for underserved minority groups, as well as advancing research on health disparities, is the lack of workforce diversity in the United States. Research reports that minority physicians and scientists continue to be significantly under-represented in medical and scientific communities. Funded by the National Cancer Institute's Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD), GMaP is rooted in the conviction that a diverse workforce is essential for advancing cancer research and reducing cancer health disparities (CHD). We consider the overall scope and programming of two GMaP Regions, Region 3, serving Central to Southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado, and Region 5, serving Central to Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, America Samoa, and Guam. We will focus on approaches to professional development training and consider how each enhances opportunities for minority students and early-career investigators to participate in a diverse research workforce and create health equity in the U.S.

Approaches: We will discuss the multidisciplinary strategies used by GMaP Regions 3 and 5 to recruit students, early-career investigators, and cancer and CHD researchers into sustainable networks designed to provide meaningful training, engagement, and funding opportunities for ethnically/racially and/or geographically diverse individuals. We will review Region 3's travel-based strategy in which training encounters are conducted at multiple regional partner institutions, and Region 5's Career Development Workshop in which individuals from partner institutions travel to Seattle for an annual multiday training.

Results: We will share feedback from these learning encounters, and specific examples of these approaches to ascertain that although time and resource intensive, such training encounters are successful and beneficial to GMaP individuals. Outcomes will include data from our overall GMaP programmatic evaluations, training feedback, and scientific product publication/dissemination and successful funding received by under-represented participant members.

Conclusion: Creating a diverse cancer research workforce is challenging; however, continued engagement with under-represented students, faculty, and early-career researchers who desire training to participate fully in NIH/NCI funding mechanisms is vital to reverse structural, educational, and resource-related trends that perpetuate an inequitable research workforce. Although identifying promising candidates and providing support in sufficient flexible ways to be truly beneficial for each individual member may be slow and resource intensive, this research demonstrates that each encounter and training helps take members one step closer to her/his professional goal.

Citation Format: Miria Kano, Sara Cole, Shiraz I. Mishra, Andrew L. Sussman, Beti Thompson. Promoting workforce diversity for cancer and cancer health disparities researchers: Approaches used by the Geographic Management of Cancer Health Disparities Program (GMaP) Regions 3 and 5 [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Eleventh AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved; 2018 Nov 2-5; New Orleans, LA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020;29(6 Suppl):Abstract nr A059.