. "4 Evaluation of Priority Setting and Programs of Research on Ethnic Minority and Medically Underserved Populations at the National Institutes of Health." The Unequal Burden of Cancer: An Assessment of NIH Research and Programs for Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1999.
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has made special efforts to provide training for minority graduate students and scientists," commented one respondent. Many were critical, however, of perceived gaps in funding and programs at two critical ends of the training "pipeline": outreach programs for promising high school students from minority and medically underserved communities and support for young researchers transitioning to faculty positions. Among the comments supporting this position: "Excellent options for training. Nothing specific for junior faculty." "NCI could improve the support of minority clinical scientists, especially during the transition period to independent investigation." "NIH seeks to train minority scientists yet fails to ensure adequate support once scientists reach a faculty position. A transition period of three years would make a big difference." Still others believe the problem of encouraging more individuals from underrepresented groups into the sciences is a problem beyond NIH's resources. Among the comments reflecting this view: ''There is a framework for training minority scientists; however, there is an insufficient critical mass of either applicants or mentors to make the process work," and "There is a great deal of effort going on into recruiting and training minorities and scientists [sic]. There is, however, a scarcity of candidates that hinders the best NIH efforts."
Many respondents listed minority training programs, however, as among the NIH programs that have worked well to address the research needs of minority and medically underserved communities. Several respondents pointed to NCI's Minority Supplement and Minority Access to Research Careers and Minority Biomedical Research Support training programs as highly effective in preparing well-trained minority scientists for work in cancer research fields. NCI programs that offer funds to assist young scholars—criticized by some in this survey as nonexistent—were praised by others. "The NCI program to support the transition from post-doctoral positions to faculty positions is excellent. It should be supported and extended to other NIH institutes," wrote one respondent. Many other respondents stated that the quantity and quality of cancer research among minority and medically underserved populations would increase as the number of scientists from these groups increased, suggesting that training programs are viewed as a critical link to improving research.
Other respondents pointed to NCI's Leadership Initiatives—the National Black Leadership Initiative on Cancer, the National Hispanic Leadership Initiative on Cancer, and the Appalachian Leadership Initiative on Cancer—as very effective in addressing the cancer control and research needs of these populations. Finally, other respondents pointed to specific