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COMMUNITY
MATTERS
A MONTHLY NEWSLETTER BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE OFFICE OF EDUCATION AND COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
VOL. 1, ISSUE 4
                                                        11.17.2016
AWARENESS
Health Equity 
EDUCATION
PHDR Intern Follow-Up
RESEARCH
Postdoctoral Fellow Spotlight
AWARENESS: Partnering to Achieve Health Equity 

Our Education and Community Engagement team is reaching diverse communities throughout the Twin Cities. This month, our team focused on learning more about the factors that lead to health disparities in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. We believe the first step in addressing health disparities is to shine light on the barriers communities face that prevent health equity. With this goal in mind, our team was out in Oklahoma City on Thursday November 10, 2016 attending a conference on Precision Medicine and Cancer in American Indian Communities. Precision medicine is an emerging approach for cancer and chronic disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, tissue and tumor profiles, environment, and lifestyle for each person. Many American Indian and Alaska Native communities suffer disproportionately from cancer. To understand how research and precision medicine can inform cancer needs in these communities the Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma hosted a meeting to dialogue with researchers and community partners across the United States. We are excited to put these lessons into practice with the work we do at the Masonic Cancer Center!

EDUCATION: Nitya Chandiramani 
We would like to congratulate Nitya Chandiramani, research assistant to Dr. Sue Everson-Rose and a participant in the 2016 Cancer Disparities Internship offered through the Program in Health Disparities Research, on her recent accomplishments! Nitya was selected to receive a 2016-2017 Community Health Initiative Undergraduate Scholarship and a 2016 Scholarly Excellence in Equity and Diversity (SEED) Award.
RESEARCH: Jamie Van Etten, Ph.D.
        Jamie Van Etten, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota and a trainee on the institution's Cancer Biology Training Grant.  She is also an actively engaged member of her community, both within and outside of the research setting.
        Like many biomedical researchers, Jamie was initially driven to science by her interest in medicine. However, once she had the opportunity to take part in research projects firsthand, beginning in a lab focused 
on fruit fly genetics and later working with fluorescence microscopy, she was "hooked" on the prospect of a career in research. "I still have a very strong interest in medicine, which is why I’ve really worked hard to get good training in translational research. MCC is a great place for this."
        Jamie's current work, under the mentorship of Scott Dehm, Ph.D., focuses on mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies in prostate cancer. Like normal prostate cells, prostate cancer cells depend on androgens (like testosterone) and the androgen receptor for survival. Prostate cancer patients are treated with drugs to turn off this androgen production and block receptor activity. However, one way resistant cells escape therapy is by making receptor variants that cannot bind androgens and cannot be turned off. The Dehm lab is focused on understanding how androgen receptor variants get made and is working on developing new methods to block their synthesis in order to overcome this mechanism of treatment resistance.
        In addition to her success in the lab, Jamie also volunteers within the community. She is currently a member of the Medical Reserve Corps at the University of Minnesota, and has taken part in fundraising events such as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. As an undergraduate student at the College of Charleston, she served as a "Student Community Service Coordinator," working with other student workers to implement campus-wide programs and building a campus community center from the ground up. As a graduate student at the University of Michigan, she volunteered at their Trauma Burn Unit, caring for ICU patients, with special attention focused on entertaining the pediatric patients in the unit. As a postdoctoral fellow, she has been actively engaged with the Office of Education and Community Engagement, helping to enhance opportunities for career development and educational outreach for our trainees.
        When asked what makes her training here unique, Jamie cited a number of factors, including the highly collaborative and vibrant research community, opportunities to meet with invited speakers from all across the country, and the career mentoring and training opportunities offered by the T32 fellowship. Additionally, she thanked the "tremendous support for young women in science from junior and senior faculty" and her fellow trainees, who are "incredibly helpful and insightful, and whose different areas of expertise facilitate great collaborations."
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