Stanford Cancer Institute

The Stanford Cancer Institute (SCI) hosted five scholars from Howard University and Morehouse College in a summer research program for Historically Black Medical Colleges (HBMC) medical students. The SCI-HBMC summer program aims to foster lifelong interactions and collaborations between Stanford Medicine and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) partner institutions. 

Rising second-year medical students were matched with an SCI faculty member for an eight-week research opportunity. The scholars were able to participate in other Stanford learning opportunities, including the Population Sciences Retreat, Stanford Cancer Institute Breakthroughs in Cancer seminars, and the Health Matters fair.  

The inaugural SCI-HBMC scholars were Afia Oduro, Chima Ekwunazu, and Marek Harri from Howard University and Lauren Ryan and Mikalah Unique Thomas from Morehouse University. 

SCI faculty members who served as mentors were Alyce Adams, PhD, Heike Daldrup-Link, MD, PhD, Natalie Lui, MD, Manali Patel, MD, MPH, and Melinda Telli, MD. 

Of her experience as a mentor, Adams said, “I had the distinct pleasure of working with Chioma Ekwunazu this past summer as part of the SCI-HBMC program. Based on her interest in health equity, she interviewed Black women about their interest and experience in engaging in health research as research partners. Her findings are informing our active studies and are under review for possible presentation at an upcoming scientific meeting. In addition, she contributed to the development of an educational module for early-career scientists about the science of patient engagement in research. She made notable contributions to our work and was a joy to work with. I can’t wait to see where she goes in her career.” 

The program is part of Stanford Medicine’s Racial Equity to Advance a Community of Health (REACH) post-baccalaureate program, which helps scholars obtain valuable research experience and grow their professional networks. SCI leader Terrance Mayes, EdD, and Dean Lloyd Minor, MD, lead the REACH program.

August 2023 by Katie Shumake
Photo by the Stanford Department of Medicine