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Promoting Diversity in Cancer Research

A chief priority of CRTEC is diversity, accomplished in part by leveraging a wealth of well-funded and enduring Penn institutional commitments.

Diversity in Education

We have notable successes in minority recruitment to high school, undergraduate cancer and PhD research programs, as noted above for the YES, SUPERS, and Cancer Biology PhD programs, respectively. Most recent additions to this initiative include the American Cancer Society Summer High School Experience (SHE) for girls, which includes collaboration with the Culinary Literacy Center of the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the upcoming course "Cancer Biology & Technology" for teachers in partnership with the School of Education and the School District of Philadelphia.

Penn is a founding member of the Leadership Alliance, a consortium of 33 institutions focused on URM educational development, and the CRTEC collaborates with the PSOM Office of Inclusion and Diversity, led by Dr. Eve Higginbotham. We look forward to continuing expansion of this initiative and welcome all inquiries.

Diversity in Cancer Training

Supporting URM and women in postdoctoral/GME training and junior faculty recruitment is mission critical. Diversity efforts in these areas are directed by Dr. Carmen Guerra, a member of the CRTEC Operating Committee and ACC AD for Diversity and Outreach, Vice Chair of Diversity and Inclusion in the Department of Medicine, and institutional Diversity Search Advisor. Dr. Guerra leads efforts to increase diversity in faculty and trainee applicant pools using the AAMC Holistic Review Framework for evaluating trainee and faculty candidates.

In collaboration with Wharton faculty in 2015, Dr. Guerra launched the Dr. Edward S. Cooper Leadership Development for women and diverse faculty. To date, this initiative trained 129 individuals with good results: 83% women, 10% Hispanic, 24% Black, and 2% American Indian/Alaska Native; 10% of participants are Hematology-Oncology faculty.

In November 2019, the ACC coordinated "A Seat at the Table: Removing Barriers and Bias for Women in Oncology," led by Dr. Lynn Schuchter (Cancer Therapeutics), a standing-room only colloquium that addressed the importance of gender-balanced leadership in the field of oncology.

Successful diversity recruitment efforts since 2015 include the ACC Calabresi K12, which recruited 53% women and increased its URM representation from 4% to 13%. Also, the Hematology-Oncology Division interviews and ranks minority candidates at a rate (13-15%) that exceeds their representation in both the total pool and those who are "ranked to match." Enhancing URM and women recruitments to cancer education and training is a priority for CRTEC.