Introduction: The Geographic Management of Cancer Health Disparities Program (GMaP) Region 1 North (R1N) is one of seven NCI GMaP Regional “hubs”, covering the states of KY, ME, MD, NH, VA, VT, WV and DC. A primary goal of GMaP R1N is to facilitate the career development of the next generation of underrepresented cancer researchers by promoting and increasing applications to the NCI Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) Program. CURE provides funded training opportunities to students at all career levels to ensure a continuum of career development opportunities in cancer health disparities (CHD) research. CURE is an underutilized option for training for underrepresented minority (URM) students interested in CHD research. GMaP R1N developed and piloted an outreach program targeted to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with the goal of increasing interest in CHD research and increasing awareness of CURE among HBCU students. Methods: GMaP R1N staff conducted a series of planning calls with NCI GMaP staff to develop a customizable agenda for HBCU pilot events. The group decided on the name “CURE Tour” for branding purposes for promotion and advertising. The agenda for the events included: a) presentation from an experienced CHD researcher; b) presentation from a former CURE trainee regarding his/her experiences; c) introduction to the GMaP Program; and d) knowledge quiz about presentation content (with prizes for winners). GMaP R1N staff developed relationships with staff at HBCUs for promotion of the events and logistics. Pilot “CURE Tour” events were implemented in the spring of 2019. Results: A total of 99 students attended three “CURE Tour” pilot events at Delaware State University (n=38); Coppin State University (n=44); and Morgan State University (n=17). Approximately 98% of attendees were undergraduate students with 2% graduate/doctoral students. Students (n=81) completed post-event surveys. 98% reported learning something new about CHD/CURE that they did not know previously. 92% responded that the event was engaging; 63% expressed interest in CHD research; 66% said they were interested in applying for CURE funding; 96% said they would tell a friend about the event; and 90% reported that they would participate in a future event. Conclusions: The GMaP R1N “CURE Tour” pilot was effective at reaching a primarily undergraduate population of URM students at HBCUs who are interested in CHD research careers. All “CURE Tour” attendees will be tracked in the future regarding CURE funding and CHD careers. The agenda for the “CURE Tour” events was successful in keeping students engaged and providing new information to them regarding CHD research and CURE. Based on the success of the pilot, the same methods will be followed in developing future “CURE Tour” events at other HBCUs. In addition, materials and methods can be used to replicate “CURE Tour” events in other GMaP Regions and for other URM student populations.
Citation Format: Mabinty Conteh, James Zabora, Laundette Jones, Mark Cromo, Julia Houston. The Geographic Management of Cancer Health Disparities Program “CURE Tour”: Increasing awareness of the NCI Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences Program through outreach to Historically Black Colleges and Universities [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the Twelfth AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved; 2019 Sep 20-23; San Francisco, CA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020;29(6 Suppl_2):Abstract nr B003.