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American Cancer Society Receives NBA Foundation Grant to Increase Underrepresented Students Entering Cancer Research Careers

American Cancer Society and NBA Foundation logo

The American Cancer Society Center for Diversity in Cancer Research received an NBA Foundation grant to support programming for 300 underrepresented high school, college, and post-Baccalaureate students interested in oncology and cancer research in 21 NBA markets. The Center was created in 2023 to increase diversity and inclusion in the cancer workforce by providing training and support to students that are underrepresented in science and health professions. The collective percentage of Black, Hispanic, and American Indian and Alaska Native people in biomedical careers is the lowest among racial and ethnic groups, and less than 2% of National Institute of Health cancer research grants come from African American or Black researchers. An inclusive research community more effectively addresses cancer disparities, invigorates problem-solving, drives innovation, and accelerates the American Cancer Society’s mission to improve the lives of people with cancer and their families.

Bill Dahut

The NBA Foundation’s support in our common goal of providing pathways to expand opportunities in historically excluded communities and ultimately, achieve more diversity in fields that need new voices is important in our work to end cancer as we know it for everyone. Our center is focused on empowering these young voices and equipping them with the support they need to significantly contribute to improving inequities in cancer prevention, treatment and care.

William Dahut

Chief Scientific Officer of The American Cancer Society

black woman standing in front of a poster board project

I can’t tell you how many text messages I get [from] people, saying ‘I want to get my mammogram today’ or ‘get an ultrasound,’ or ‘I’m having a biopsy,’ or ‘I got my colonoscopy.’ For someone to take time out of their day, it keeps me going. Because they took that one step, now I got to take five. I got to make sure that they get the care and the treatment that they need. I know that when I leave this earth, I will have made a difference.

Lesa Felton

DICR Intern, Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, 2023

NBA Foundation Mission

To drive economic opportunity in the Black community through employment and career development by funding programs that generate successful transitions from school to meaningful employment for Black youth.

The NBA Foundation, which aims to help uplift the visibility of youth-serving organizations across league markets, recently announced an 11th round of grants. It recently passed the $100 million threshold in grants distributed – a milestone achievement but far from the end of this group’s mission. The Foundation is working to invest $300 million in creating economic empowerment in Black communities.  Through 337 overall grants to 227 non-profits, the lives of more than 240,000 Black youth have been impacted for the better. The 11th round consisted of 46 grantees with a total of $8.66 million spread across a wide variety of groups. These groups range from The American Cancer Society to the Dallas Black Dance Theater, preparing young people for all industries – a key goal of the foundation.

black girl intern working in medical lab
black man working in medical field
black male intern standing in front of poster board project