Anticipation rose as guests filled the FAMU College of Pharmacy Auditorium, before Romonia Reams and Folakemi Odedina arrived to present the NCI P20 Grant and Training Program.
The two colleagues spoke to the interested patrons of the new pharmacy building auditorium.
The two colleagues teamed up with their respective universities, Reams for Florida A&M University and Folakemi for University of Florida, to create the NCI P20 Partnership Planning Grant.
The duo pitched the grant three times, the first being as early as 2011. Although it scored highly each time, it was denied. Having the drive to do what they set out to do is what kept the two going to continue to pitch the grant two additional times. A third time’s a charm turned out to be true for Reams and Odedina, as they were awarded the grant on September 22.
“We were elated to finally get the NCI P20 grant award,” Reams said.
NCI P20 was created so both Reams and Odedina can bring awareness, research and new methods to cure certain forms of cancer.
Both Odedina and Reams addressed the community engagement of this project several times. They stated that if you raise awareness on the importance of regular checkups, the community will trust what you’re doing.
Many professors from the school of pharmacy and nursing divisions were in attendance. All were eager to find out details of the grant was and how it could affect the community, peers and students.
Together the two universities will create educational opportunities, build research and aim to gain the communities trust. Ultimately, the two want to overcome cancer and health disparities not only in the community but the world.
The focus of cancer for the grant will be, but not limited to prostate cancer. The team is willing to focus on other types of cancer, however this particular cancer lacks funding and research in Florida.
“As being one of the members of the pilot project team, I hope to bring awareness and great research,” Selina Darling Reed, professor at FAMUs College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said.
Each team at UF and FAMU has a principal investigator, co-investigator, evaluator, mentor and advisors to come together to form the grant. The NCI P20 has grants in states such as Texas, New York and California, but this is the first in Florida.
“FAMU and UF are the best universities to collaborate on this research project, to increase more culturally responsive research within minorities,” Odedina said.
Five students from both universities will get the opportunity to attend a 12-week intensive training program at UF with hands on research. Preparation has been taking place for the past five summers.
Once completed, if the student does not enroll in graduate or medical school they will get the opportunity to be in the one-year post baccalaureate program. The program can be a bridge to future medical school aspirations.