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Message from the MICR Chair

Laura Fejerman, PhD

Laura Fejerman, PhD

Associate Professor in Residence, Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Institute of Human Genetics, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

University of California San Francisco, Berkeley, California

Dear MICR Membership,
What an exciting 2019 AACR Annual Meeting!

Research on Cancer Health Disparities was presented in multiple scientific sessions, including a plenary chaired by Dr. Lisa Newman highlighting work on breast cancer in African-American women, prostate cancer in African-American men, colon cancer in Nigeria and cholangiocarcinoma in different Asian populations. This was possible thanks to the efforts that the MICR council, with the untiring support of Dr. Sanya Springfield, has made throughout the years, the leadership of this year’s program committee chair, Dr. John Carpten, and the support of AACR’s CEO Dr. Margaret Foti and 2019 President, Dr. Elizabeth M. Jaffee. It was a historical year for cancer health disparities and for underrepresented minorities in cancer research.

I am now looking ahead and planning, together with conference co-chairs Smita Bhatia, Phyllis Pettit Nassi, Sandi L. Pruitt, Mariana C. Stern, and Clayton C. Yates, our next big event: the 12th AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved, which will take place Sept. 20 – 23, 2019, in San Francisco, California.

This year we are hoping, more than ever, to bring together scientists from different disciplines, from community outreach and behavioral research to tumor biology, genetics and genomics. We will have sessions that will combine presentations from different scientific perspectives but around the same overall themes, such as cancer health disparities in children, adolescents and young adults, lifestyle and environmental determinants of cancer health disparities, cancer health disparities in LGBTQ communities, and disparities in response to immunotherapy and the cancer immune profile. As we did last year, we are also including the voices of survivors/advocates throughout the conference.

The conference will also provide the opportunity for our younger cancer researchers to share their work during our poster sessions as well as during the “recent findings in cancer health disparities” sessions, which will include oral presentations from the top 18 submitted abstracts.

Start thinking about the abstract that you are going to submit!

We will also have our usual mentoring roundtables, which are always a great opportunity to network and learn from more experienced investigators.

This year I have the honor to serve as chairperson for the MICR Council. I intend to continue pushing forward the council’s original commitment to a) Increase the number, participation, visibility, and recognition of minority scientists in cancer research; 2) Develop programs that address the professional needs of minority scientists in cancer research; 3) Provide diversity in the field and within the AACR’s membership, programs, committees, and leadership; 4) Address the disparities in cancer incidence and mortality faced by minorities and the medically underserved; and when necessary 5) Advocate for relevant, effective legislation pertaining to science and public policy.

On behalf of the entire council, we thank you for your membership and involvement with MICR activities and your interest in being part of an organization that promotes the career of minority investigators.

I cannot wait to see you in San Francisco!

Laura Fejerman, PhD, MSc
MICR Chairperson 2019-2020