Institutional Challenges & Objectives

In Puerto Rico, the incidence of certain malignancies, such as breast cancer, has risen dramatically over recent years. In addition, increasingly large numbers of elderly Puerto Ricans, who left the island at a younger age, are now returning to their homeland. With many elderly Puerto Ricans returning to the island, a shift in the incidence of certain diseases such as cancer has occurred, creating an increasing burden. 

Despite The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center’s success and its international reputation for providing excellent care and contributing significantly to cancer research, MD Anderson faces a challenge of growing proportion. The United States Census continues to reveal that the Houston Hispanic population will one day grow to become the largest ethnic group in the region served by the institution. Thus, MD Anderson must focus a significant amount of its energy and resources on cancer issues related to Hispanic populations if it is to be responsive to the people that it serves.

To meet these challenges, the following institutional objectives have been established:

The University of Puerto Rico

  • To empower investigators to successfully compete for externally funded grants
  • To provide access to state-of-the-art equipment and techniques
  • To increase the chances of success for trainees in cancer research and care
  • To provide an incentive for trainees to remain in Puerto Rico once they have graduated
  • To improve the infrastructure to successfully support competitive research activities and to aid in the retention of faculty and trainees
  • To establish the University of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center as a renowned NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • To take the lead in providing cutting edge research and cancer care that can be exported to other Latin America cancer centers

MD Anderson Cancer Center

  • To implement research (basic, translational, clinical and population) efforts focused on disparities in cancer incidence and outcomes in Hispanic populations
  • To revise clinical care practices, screening and prevention initiatives to be culturally sensitive
  • To attract more Hispanic physicians
  • To facilitate more Hispanic researchers
  • To train physicians to provide culturally sensitive patient care to an increasingly multi-ethnic patient population
  • To explore non-traditional research of benefit to ethnic populations