The mission of Minnesota Center for Cancer Collaborations (MC3) is to reduce cancer disparities experienced by Minnesota’s racial and ethnic minority populations. Founded in 2010 by the National Cancer Institute’s Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities, our initial focus is on engaging Minnesota’s growing new immigrant and refugee populations through community-based research.


MC3 is funded under Award Number U54CA153603 through the National Institutes of Health and is one of twenty-three Community Network Program (CNP) National and Regional Centers. CNP Centers use the Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach to eliminating disparities in specific target communities. How CNP Centers are reducing the unequal burden of cancer in our society.

MC3 is composed of four operating groups (traditionally called cores):

The Administrative Core provides leadership and organizational infrastructure for the center, including overall center strategy, technical support, and public relations. This core is led by Kola Okuyemi, MD, MPHEileen Harwood, PhD, and Jane Korn, MD, MPH.

The Community Outreach Core collaborates with established partners, New Americans Community Services and Centro Campesino, to increase community members’ knowledge of and access to cervical and breast cancer screening in Minnesota’s African immigrant and Latino populations. This core is led by Nancy Raymond, MD and Gloria Contreras.

The Research Core supports one full research project on tobacco use and one pilot research project on cervical cancer screening in the Somali population. This effort is led by Jean Forster, PhD, MPH, and Anne Joseph, MD, MPH.

The Training Core aims to prepare a cadre of scientists and health professionals with a focus on underrepresented groups across Minnesota. The goal of this core is to train investigators to incorporate community-based participatory research into their cancer research and to promote their capacity to achieve sustained career success as community-engaged heath disparity workers. This core is led by Cathy Jordan, PhD, and Susan Gust.

At the University of Minnesota, MC3 is housed within the Academic Health Center and Medical School's Program in Health Disparities Research


kola okuyemi

Kola S. Okuyemi, M.D., M.P.H.

Professor, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
Director, Medical School's Program in Health Disparities Research
Director, Minnesota Center for Cancer Collaborations

Dr. Okuyemi received his M.D. from the University of Ilorin in Nigeria in 1984. He conducted a fellowship in the Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine at Morehouse School of Medicine in 1991. He completed a residency at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, where he also received a Masters of Public Health in 1999. He subsequently joined the faculty at the University of Kansas Medical Center's Department of Family Medicine. Okuyemi joined the faculty of the Department of Family and Community Health and the Program in Health Disparities Research at the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2006.

Dr. Okuyemi has devoted his career to improving the health of minorities and eliminating health disparities using pharmacological and culturally tailored behavioral interventions. He has received funding for research and educational programs from NIH and private foundations totaling $28 million and mentored a large number of faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate and undergraduate students. 

jane korn

Jane Korn, M.D., M.P.H. 

Medical Director, Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Division
Program Director, Comprehensive Cancer Control ProgramMinnesota Department of Health
Deputy Director, Minnesota Center for Cancer Collaborations

Dr. Korn received her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1979, subsequently completing residency training in Internal Medicine and a Masters in Public Health at the University of Minnesota. She served on the faculties of General Internal Medicine at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and at the University of Massachusetts Medical School before joining the Minnesota Department of Health in 1991. At the Department, Dr. Korn was one of the key architects of Sage, the state breast and cervical cancer early detection program, and went on to lead the development of Cancer Plan Minnesota, the state’s first comprehensive cancer control plan. Her professional interests focus on systematizing the delivery of preventive services and cross-program and -agency collaborations for chronic disease prevention and control.


MC3 Executive Team
See the people that make our program possible!

Community Impact
Increasing community members’ knowledge of and access to cervical and breast cancer screenings.

Advisory Group
Facilitating community involvement and input into MC3 activities. 

Additional Links