The Special Populations Networks (SPN) program evolved from leadership initiatives established by the NCI in the 1990s to address the disproportionate burden of cancer among African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and Appalachian populations.
SPNs initiated collaborative projects with a wide variety of research partners, including NCI-supported Cancer Centers and Cooperative Groups, academic institutions, and community groups. They established partnerships to foster minority participation in clinical trials.
Under the mentorship of SPN Principal Investigators, junior SPN researchers conducted pilot cancer control research projects in collaboration with community-based partners. SPNs and their partners then developed research grant applications built on the findings of these pilot projects.
For detailed information on the 18 SPN projects and their individual achievements, see the SPN Project Listing. Taking the next step toward eliminating cancer health disparities, the SPN program transitioned into the Community Networks Program (CNP) in March 2005. Along with the recently launched Patient Navigator Programs, the CNP seeks to directly reduce cancer health disparities by eliminating the disconnect between discovery and delivery.