The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has designated the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center, which is part of the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, as a “Comprehensive Cancer Center.” An important part of the nation’s effort to combat cancer, the Comprehensive Cancer Centers are selected by the NCI for their scientific leadership, resources, and the depth and breadth of their research in basic, clinical, and/or population science.
The Center, now renamed the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, is one of 46 NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the United States, of a total of 69 NCI-named Cancer Centers. These centers are vital to cancer research as they draw researchers from across disciplines and often entail research collaboration among the centers.
Dr. Cheryl Holt, professor in the University of Maryland School of Public Health’s department of behavioral and community health in College Park, co-leads the Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Population Science Program along with Dr. Joanne Dorgan, professor in the department of epidemiology and public health (University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore). Their program conducts multidisciplinary research and translates discoveries into behavioral cancer prevention interventions. The program’s research focuses on the epidemiology of infection- and hormone-related cancers, tobacco and nicotine, equity in cancer prevention and detection, and cancer survivorship. The Population Science Program is a collaborative effort between researchers located on the College Park and Baltimore campuses of the University of Maryland. Recently, Dr. Holt received a supplemental NCI grant to support a new project to train community health advisors to conduct cancer education and outreach activities in Baltimore city.
Dr. Holt is also founding director of the Community Health Awareness, Messages, and Prevention (CHAMP) research laboratory, through which she and her research team promote early cancer detection via community-based projects in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The CHAMP research team mainly conducts projects with the faith-based community, building local capacity to encourage early detection of breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer screening.
“We have made significant strides in expanding our basic and clinical research to include a strong population science program to help reduce disparities in both cancer treatment and prevention that threaten the health of minority populations,” said Dr. Kevin J. Cullen, the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Distinguished Professor of Oncology at the UM School of Medicine and the cancer center’s director, in a press release.
Based on the NCI-designation, the center’s funding will increase by 50 percent to $1.5 million and it will be eligible for a broader array of funding from NIH and other sources.