Ponce School of Medicine - Moffitt Cancer Center Partnership
The geographic proximity and large Hispanic populations in Florida and Puerto Rico have driven a longstanding effort by the Ponce School of Medicine (PSM) and the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center (HLMCC) to develop an academic partnership. The complementary expertise at both institutions provides a synergistic means of studying the cancer problem in Puerto Ricans, and in the Hispanic population in general. The partnership focuses on four target areas: (1) basic research, (2) cancer education and training, (3) outreach, and (4) tissue procurement. Basic scientists from both institutions with shared interests and complementary expertise have jointly developed basic research projects.
In addition to synergistic hypothesis generation the partnership permits the sharing of technology available at the MCC and not at the PSM, and allows the PSM to develop cancer research programs, utilizing the expertise of HLMCC faculty. It is also a high priority of the PSM to develop the capacity to conduct investigator-initiated clinical research involving cancer patients, and to recruit new cancer faculty. Although the PSM has considerable expertise in other clinical disciplines, oncology needs to be developed in order to serve as a tertiary referral center for cancer care in southwest Puerto Rico. The cancer education and training program is designed to accomplish this in a staged fashion. Plans for the training of medical students, residents, and faculty in cancer care and clinical research have been devised.
The outreach program will eventually encompass a variety of different cancer prevention activities. Initially, a social marketing strategy will be used to determine the needs in Puerto Rico. The Tissue Procurement Core will support the research projects by banking tissue from cancer patients and normal controls in Puerto Rico. The reciprocal benefits for the HLMCC are the training of medical students, oncology fellows, and faculty in issues specific to the cancer problem in Puerto Rico that will provide an enhanced ability to appropriately treat Hispanic cancer patients in Florida, more effectively involve them in clinical research, and produce more effective cancer control programs for Hispanic communities in Florida.