Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The DCI is committed to eliminating cancer disparities and advancing health equity in partnership with local communities, especially communities of color. The DCI Plan to Enhance Diversity (PED) leverages existing frameworks within the Duke School of Medicine and Duke University Health System to build and monitor a program based on inclusive excellence that harnesses the strengths achieved through the promotion of a diverse cancer center workforce.

Specific Aims

The mission of Plan to Enhance Diversity and the DCI Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is to promote, support, and sustain a workforce of inclusive excellence through the following specific aims:

Aim 1  
Establish the DCI Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to create the necessary infrastructure for the implementation, execution, and evaluation of programs related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. The office is led by Associate Director, Tammara Watts, MD, PhD. The DCI OEDI will be supported by a program manager working in conjunction with the DCI Administration. This infrastructure will execute the aims of the PED, support new and existing team members, and drive meaningful change across the DCI.

Aim 2
Create innovative career development programs for women and under-represented persons in the oncology biomedical workforce, in partnership with offices of Community, Outreach, Engagement and Equity (COEE) and Cancer Research Training and Education Coordination (CRTEC)

Institutional barriers, such as inadequate research infrastructure, low investment, and ineffective recruitment and retention of faculty of color and women have been shown to promote feelings of dissatisfaction and frustration.

DCI will develop and support mechanisms to lower those barriers through several financial award programs to senior post-docs and mid-career faculty from underrepresented minority or disadvantaged backgrounds as defined by the NIH.

These programs will be done in collaboration with CRTEC and COEE to fully leverage DCI’s resources. In addition, the DCI OEDI will provide support for a cancer-focused senior postdoctoral underrepresented scientist to participate in the Duke Next Generation Leaders program for senior post-doctoral scientists looking to obtain their first academic faculty appointment.

Career Development Grants Available
These and other grants are available to support underrepresented minorities and women.

Benchmark Award for Diversity in Cancer Research 

  • $75K annually to one senior postdoctoral scientist
  • Recipients must submit a K01, K99/R00 (or equivalent) during the interval of the award. Preference will be given to individuals who are working on a K-award or other resubmission(s) for which this funding will help provide support for additional preliminary data to facilitate successful funding on resubmission.
  • Funds from this award may be used to provide salary support for a technician to support the recipient’s independent research projects.

The Perseverance Award for Diversity in Cancer Research

  • $100K annually to one mid-career less than 7 years out from their initial training who has yet to achieve their first independent R01 or equivalent level of funding.
  • Recipients of the Perseverance Award must have previously applied for an R01 or equivalent award and have demonstrated sustained efforts toward achieving independence to be competitive for this funding.

The K to R Transition Award

  • 50K annually for up to 2 years for K-funded investigators
  • Eligibility criteria include completing 3 years on the K-award, and clear plans for transition to independence or team science.
  • 15 DCI Members with K-awards (~9 women, ~3 potential underrepresented minority status)

ALL award recipients must participate in the DCI internal grant writing program administered by CRTEC.

Aim 3
Enhance the leadership growth and career development of women and under-represented persons in the oncology biomedical workforce and through strategic partnerships with existing programs within the Duke University School of Medicine, Duke health system, and nationally.

The DCI Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion will provide financial support for underrepresented minority DCI members interested in leadership development through campus-wide programs. Following completion of these leadership training programs, underrepresented minority DCI members will be offered additional opportunities to pursue further DCI leadership opportunities, including the newly established Program Director Liaison. As a DCI program and other leadership vacancies arise, the DCI Director will have a well-trained cohort of underrepresented minority faculty to choose from and to promote other leadership opportunities within the school of medicine and Duke health system.

This page was reviewed on 12/13/2023