Oluwadamilola Oladeru (Lola), MD, MA, MBA, Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, and Director of the Breast Radiation Oncology service at Gainesville, has been awarded a grant by the NRG Oncology Early Career New Investigator and Health Disparities Committees for the Health Equity New Investigator Mentor Program for Underrepresented Minority (URM) Scholars.
The program will intensively train selected early-stage investigators in the NRG Oncology system by means of a structured mentorship experience, with particular emphasis given to the recruitment of researchers from underrepresented groups. NRG Oncology recognizes the need to improve diversity and inclusion in oncology research by developing early-stage investigators to quickly and efficiently develop innovative studies that will lead to future improvements in cancer care with a focus on health equity. This program will build on the work of the New Investigator Committee by collaborating with their leadership by recruiting applicants and mentors.
As the NRG reports, in recent years, young researchers have faced increasing time and financial pressures that threaten their ability and motivation to participate in clinical research. It has become harder than ever for busy physicians and PhD prepared researchers to devote the time and energy needed to develop the next generation of clinical cancer research. Likewise, more experienced clinician/investigators’ ability to serve as mentors has come under pressure as well, for the same reasons. Further, ethnic minorities have long been under-represented as researchers in the cooperative groups for multiple reasons.
Dr. Oladeru (right) was one of three mentee scholars chosen for the inaugural program. Mentee requirements include developing NRG Oncology NCORP protocol under the guidance of a NRG Oncology mentor, attending all semiannual NRG Oncology meetings, completing Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI Program) or institutional requirements for biomedical research and Human Subject Protection training, and submitting an annual progress report.
Two-year Mentee and Mentor funding may be up to $15,000 and $5,000 per year, respectively, as a stipend. For more information, visit the NRG Oncology website.