AN interdisciplinary group of researchers who worked collaboratively to address cancer and health disparities in patient populations of African descent has received the prestigious American Association for Cancer Research Team Science Award for their innovation and meritorious science.
Lecturer in public health at The University of the West Indies' Cave Hill campus, Dr Natalie Greaves was a member of the winning African Caribbean Cancer Consortium (AC3) Team. The team, led by Professor Camille Ragin of the Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, was recognised for furthering the study of viral, genetic, environmental and lifestyle risk factors for cancer in patient populations. These factors have demonstrated far-reaching implications for the improvement of cancer etiology, detection, diagnosis, treatment and prevention in black patient populations worldwide.
On receiving the award Dr Greaves stated she was immensely grateful and humbled by the acknowledgement of the AC3's contribution to science, and that she was "deeply honoured and privileged to be among a global community of like-minded scholars who continue to aspire to make a difference in the lives of persons impacted by cancer".
She also acknowledged fellow members of The UWI community contributing to the advancement of cancer research through the African Caribbean Consortium, namely Professor Simon Anderson, director, George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre, Caribbean Institute for Health Research (CAIHR), The UWI; and fellow public health experts Drs Heather Harewood, Waneisha Jones and Natasha Sobers.
Dr Greaves shared her elation that transdisciplinary research in the developing world is gaining momentum, and shared that she hopes the AC3 achievement will serve to inspire a future generation of physician scientists and attract funding for cancer research into the region.
The medical sciences lecturer noted that her achievement would not have been possible without knowledge imparted by her science teachers and various academic mentors throughout her career, including at The UWI. Dr Greaves graduated from the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery programme at The UWI's Cave Hill campus in 2002 with honours in surgery. Although her start at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown was in oncology, she has spent most of her career providing primary palliative care in Barbados while also advocating for education and palliative care service delivery throughout the region. Dr Greaves joined The UWI full-time in 2016 and as a physician scientist she has concentrated her work in the last five years on noncommunicable diseases, especially cancer.
Deputy dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the Cave Hill campus Dr Michael Campbell lauded the team's achievements stating, "The faculty is extremely proud of Dr Greaves and the rest of the AC3 team for this remarkable achievement. Their award is testament to the calibre of work by our Caribbean colleagues as key collaborators in global cancer research."
The 2023 AACR was held April 14-19 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.