A $22 million, five-year federal grant to fund the study is significant but fell $6 million short of the initial proposal. The Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center has committed to raise the shortfall through private philanthropy.
The pledge from Caterpillar, the world's largest manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, natural gas and diesel engines and industrial gas turbines, is the largest private gift thus far. The study is an innovative collaboration among Vanderbilt, Meharry Medical College, the International Epidemiology Institute and federally funded community health centers (CHCs) throughout the Southeast.
"This is an ambitious project of national and international importance," said Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, vice chancellor for Health Affairs at Vanderbilt. "We must meet the challenge of ensuring that advances in medicine are shared equally, regardless of race, geography or economic status. This generous gift from Caterpillar goes a long way toward ensuring that the full promise of this landmark study will be realized."
The study will provide critical information to help understand and ultimately address why African-Americans and residents of the Southeast are at greater risk of developing and dying from cancer than other groups. While the study's initial focus is on cancer, the cohort will provide invaluable information for the study of other significant health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke, all of which also disproportionately affect African-Americans and Southerners.
"When it comes to social responsibility, Caterpillar makes betterment of the world a formal part of its corporate strategy," said Vanderbilt Chancellor E. Gordon Gee. "T
Contact: Cynthia Floyd Manley
Vanderbilt University Medical Center