Building capacity for collaborative research between basic scientists and underrepresented communities in cancer research

Namoonga M. Mantina, Juan Contreras, Monica Yellowhair, Cynthia Miranti, Jennifer Hatcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Basic science research is critical for understanding biological mechanisms essential to advances in cancer prevention, diagnoses and treatment. However, most of this research is conducted outside of the purview of community observation or input, leaving these research processes mysterious and subsequent findings disconnected from the communities they intend to benefit. This paper discusses strategies to build capacity for collaborations between basic scientists and Hispanic community members at the University of Arizona Cancer Center (UACC). Methods: Through partnership of the Cancer Biology Program and Office of Community Outreach and Engagement both at UACC, the Research Outreach for Southern Arizona (ROSA) program was developed as a way to forward the following strategies to build capacity for collaboration: forming a community working group, launching a community and student ambassador program, hosting scientific cafés and developing a community-based survey. Results: The strategies underpinning the ROSA program have been integral in bridging dialogue between basic scientists and the community and fostering bidirectional learning opportunities. Each of the strategies presented have documented successes and based on the lessons learned, they have evolved into productive and integral parts of UACC’s overall strategy of bridging scientific research and communities. Conclusion: While the strategies discussed are evolving, they help foster dialogue and exchange between basic scientists and community members that demystifies basic science research and facilitates culturally tailored approaches to address health disparities of vulnerable communities. These strategies also have the potential to shift cancer research into a paradigm that is more collaborative and transformative.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-853
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • Basic science
  • Cancer
  • Community engagement
  • Health disparities
  • Hispanic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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