How students can help U of L researchers reduce education, health disparity gaps: Opinion

A $200,000 grant will help incoming Kentucky College students and University of Louisville researchers understand why Kentucky residents and marginalized groups have high rates of cancer and other major diseases.

Notably, Black and indigenous people of color or individuals from economic disadvantaged backgrounds suffer disproportionately from cancer, asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. These health inequities are linked to low education attainment, poverty, poor access to healthcare and insurance, poor diets, physical inactivity, food and environmental injustices and genetics. However, a major obstacle to eliminating health disparities is the lack of minorities in biomedical research. To address this problem, a group of rising first-year college students will receive mentored training in cancer and health disparity research within an eight-week Cancer and Health Disparity Summer Bridge program at the University of Louisville.

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The Summer Bridge program, starting June 13 – August 5, 2022, will recruit twelve under-represented and economically disadvantaged students who have been accepted into a four-year college in Kentucky. In this paid summer research, we will provide mentored research, orientation to college, study skills, networking opportunities, professional development, as well as advising both during and after the program. This will help guide students as they navigate through college and eventually, training and/or careers in health disparities.

This program is funded by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education. CPE leveraged COVID-19 relief funds to support Summer Bridge Programs that address COVID-19’s adverse effects on college enrollment, attainment and graduation as well as disruption of mentored summer research training programs during the pandemic. With the support of CPE, U of L’s summer bridge program will help to motivate the next generation of young scientists from diverse backgrounds to find new solutions to prevent or reduce health inequities.

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Graduating seniors or high school graduates who are Kentucky residents should apply by April 21, 2022. Applicants must be 18 or older by June 1, 2022. Application and details are here:

To serve as a UofL faculty mentor or community partner, please email: with “summer bridge” in the subject line.

La Creis Renee Kidd, Ph.D., M.P.H., Assistant Dean in Research Diversity, Associate Professor, and Endowed Chair in Cancer Health Disparity Research, in the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology and James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

Cynthia Corbitt, Ph.D., is a Professor of Biology and Biology Honors Director at the University of Louisville College of Arts & Sciences.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: How U of L researchers will reduce education and health disparity gaps