Cancer Disparities Fellows


The Cancer Related Health Disparities Training Program seeks to train researchers who are prepared to conduct community-engaged research to develop, test, and disseminate interventions in both clinical and community settings to reduce cancer-related health disparities among underresourced populations.

The program also intends to enhance the diversity of the research workforce in this area of study by specifically recruiting individuals from underrepresented or underresourced populations.

The program is innovative in focusing on education and experience in community-engaged research and on interventions to reduce cancer disparities. It's also innovative in mentorship, in which community members provide cultural mentoring and partnership in all aspects of research.

This T32 Cancer Related Health Disparities Training Program is a joint effort between the University of Minnesota Medical School and School of Public Health. It's funded by the National Cancer Institute, Grant T32 CA163184.


How to Apply

The program offers training for up to three predoctoral individuals who must be accepted into a PhD program in the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. The program also accepts up to three postdoctoral individuals with MD, PhD, or equivalent degrees.

Predoctoral positions

  • No current positions available
  • Three predoctoral positions are filled
  • Up to a three-year appointment

Postdoctoral positions

  • No current positions available. 

Program Experience

The program provides exceptional educational and career development opportunities.

Trainees will do the following:

  • Engage in ongoing and independent research that focuses on developing, testing, and evaluating interventions in clinical and community settings to reduce cancer-related inequities among underrepresented and underresourced populations (broadly defined here to include race, ethnicity, immigration status, age, income, geography, gender, sexual orientation, etc).
  • Receive interdisciplinary training through two required core courses: a monthly seminar and a writing workshop.
  • Collaborate with a dynamic, federally funded, multi-disciplinary team of investigators (psychologists, physicians, epidemiologists, and statisticians) and with cultural community organizations that have a history of community-university research partnerships to address community-identified problems.

The program can be tailored to suit the trainee's training requirements with opportunities for teaching experience, clinical and community-based work, authorship on relevant manuscripts, collaborative grant writing experience, and rigorous independent grant submission. There is also support for conference travel and other training experiences.


  • Applicants must be U.S. citizens, U.S. non-citizen nationals, or permanent residents. (Individuals on temporary or student visas are not eligible for Kirschstein-NRSA support).
  • Preferred candidates will have experience working with community-based organizations.
  • Interest and experience within cancer-related health disparities research is preferred.
  • Criteria for selection of all fellows include academic performance and a career orientation toward independent research in an academic, clinical, or public health setting related to cancer and health disparities.
  • Fellows must be able to commit full-time in the program at the time of appointment.
  • Predoctoral applicants will typically have a master’s degree or equivalent degree in a biologic or behavioral discipline and must be accepted into a PhD program in the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.
  • Postdoctoral applicants must have a doctoral degree (MD, PhD, etc.) in any of the following disciplines: medicine, behavioral science, epidemiology, health education, health services research, sociology, anthropology, clinical, social or counseling psychology, or a related discipline.
  • Preferred postdoctoral candidates will have experience and peer-reviewed publications in above disciplines.

Stipend and Benefits


Stipends are based on current NIH-approved levels and years of postdoctoral experience. Please note that there is a potential payback requirement for postdoctoral trainees who take non-research positions prior to the end of two years.


The amount of tuition covered by the program is subject to the actual NIH award. Support is provided for predoctoral trainees and is partially available for postdoctoral coursework.

Other training-related expenses

Reimbursement for textbooks, other required course materials, and certain other research-related expenses are on a pre-approval basis.

Health insurance

Predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees are encouraged and eligible to secure the Graduate Assistant Health Plan for single coverage through the University of Minnesota (trainees pay 5%).

If preferred, trainees can find their own health insurance provider, and the program will reimburse them for an amount up to the Graduate Assistant Health Plan single coverage rate. Prior permission from the program coordinator is required.


Reimbursement of pre-approved travel expenses is limited to one professional meeting per grant year. Maximum dollar amount is subject to the actual NIH award, approximately $800-1,000 annually.


Trainees will each have three mentors: one each from medicine, public health, and the community.

Postdoctoral trainees: This is a mutual choice between the fellow and program leadership.

Predoctoral trainees: Advisor/mentor assignments are partially made by the graduate program with consultation from program leadership and the PhD student.


Annual evaluation requirements include performance evaluations, updates for human subjects documentation, and the program's grant continuations or renewals.

Postdoctoral Fellows

 Jonathan Miller


Jonathan Miller is a post-doctoral associate in the Program in Health Disparities Research at the University of Minnesota Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.  He is an Epidemiologist and Biostatistician with an interest in cancer prevention in underserved populations, particularly through physical activity interventions.  Dr. Miller has worked extensively in North Minneapolis: implementing and evaluating year-round outdoor physical activity programs for elementary and middle school students through the Loppet Foundation.  His research is focused on the life-course development of physical activity behavior and its role preventing cancer and other adverse health outcomes.


Predoctoral Fellows


Serena Xiong


Serena Xiong is a PhD student in Epidemiology and Community Health.   Her research interests are in cancer disparities, immigrant and minority health, health disparities/health equity, evaluation, e-health/mhealth, and health policies.  She is a proponent of community-based participatory research, and would like to further advance the literature and practices in how to democratize the research process between universities and communities.   Following the completion of her degree, Serena would like to stay in academia to further her teaching and research career.



Manami Bhattacharya

 Manami B.

Manami Bhattacharya is a PhD student in the School of Public Health. Her research interests are health disparities, cancer disparities, cancer prevention and survivorship, and community-based research, especially relating to access to and management of health care in underserved and disproportionally affected populations. In the future, she would like to pursue a position where she is able to contribute to research surrounding the above issues, create pathways for communication between disadvantaged communities and research being done, and affect positive change in how systems handle prevention and survivorship.


Collin Calvert


Collin Calvert is a PhD student in Epidemiology and Community Health. His research interests are in mixed methods, alcohol use, policy interventions, and cancer disparities, with a focus on communities of color and rurality. A goal of his work is increasing public recognition of alcohol as a risk factor for several types of cancer and cancer recurrence. Following graduation, he plans to pursue an academic research and teaching career to continue investigating alcohol's relationship to cancer and effective policy interventions to reduce cancer incidence and disparities.