BOG hears about FAMU’s role in cancer research

Florida Board of Governors committee members view presentations of the speakers Wednesday afternoon. 
Photo Submitted by Oldens Lafortune

The Florida Board of Governors meets regularly at various universities, discussing many topics ranging from innovation research, to mental health.

This week, the meeting was held at Florida A&M University’s Grand Ballroom.

The Academic and Research Committee presentations on Wednesday were part of the meeting with Alan Levine, chair of the committee, governing the meeting’s agenda.

The meeting highlighted a collaboration between FAMU, University of Florida, and University of Southern California from the Florida-California Cancer Research, Education and Engagement Health Equity Center that would address health equity in black and Latino populations.

Kinfe Ken Redda, a professor emeritus and researcher at FAMU’s College of Pharmacy, says that this project will give the students of the program hands-on training that will help them excel in cancer research.

“We want to share with them what we do in the lab,” Redda said. “We want to teach them cells that cause cancer and the molecules that can be used to treat cancer.”

Redda is also one of the four research education core leaders in the center’s CARE2 program.

The center is supported by a five-year, $6 million partnership grant from the National Cancer Institute, which is a division of the National Institutes of Health.

Levine, who’s also the president and CEO of Mountain States Health Alliance, the largest hospital and health system in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, highlighted an important fact involving cancer research.

“When you look at the money in research, Florida has one NCI designated cancer center and California has eight,” Levine said.

The Florida Board of Governors is a 17-member governing board, headquartered in Tallahassee, founded in 2003. It serves as the governing body for the State University System of Florida. This system includes all the public universities in the state of Florida.

FAMU is hoping this cancer research collaboration leads to further partnerships with other institutions in the country.

Renee Reams, research program director at FAMU, says that collaborations between FAMU, UF and USC would increase community engagement and the number of minority researchers.

“It’ll allow us to do innovative translational research in black and Latino communities, especially on cancers that show a higher mortality rate among these two race groups,” Reams said.

In the past six months, the CARE2 plan has managed to open nine research projects on cancer disparities in black and Latinos, with three of those research projects ongoing.

The partnership of the three institutions has also landed seven different recognitions and honors, which includes three awards for their research.