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ACS teams up with the National Basketball Wives Association

The partnership will prioritize funding cancer research grants for HBCU medical and STEM students.

The American Cancer Society and the National Basketball Wives Association (NBWA) have teamed up to inspire millions to join the fight against cancer through the power of advocacy, basketball, and sport.   

Together, these two organizations join in a mission to ensure that no one is disadvantaged in their fight against cancer and to help eliminate barriers to cancer prevention and treatment in underserved Black and Latinx communities.  

The NBWA is the official nonprofit charitable membership organization represented by wives, significant others, and life partners of active and former NBA players. 

The partnership will focus on initiatives that ensure that the fight against cancer includes a diverse group of cancer researchers from all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. According to data from the National Institute of Health, the combined number of grant applications from Black and Latinx scientists is less than 7%  ̶  with less than two percent of those grant applications submitted by Black or African American cancer researchers. This translates to fewer people of color entering career stages of cancer research, and inevitably, fewer scientists of color working to develop cancer breakthroughs.   

“The American Cancer Society is committed to tackling racial disparities related to cancer. To do this, we must address the critical need for diversity in the scientific workforce,” said Howard Byck, our senior vice president of Corporate and Sports Alliances. “We are grateful that the National Basketball Wives Association is joining us in this fight and lending their talent and influence to this important issue.” 

Funds raised through this partnership will support our Diversity in Cancer Research Internship program and will provide internship grants to African American students at Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) to increase their entry into the field of cancer research. African Americans have the highest death rate for most cancers, yet are the most underrepresented group in the field of cancer research. 

“Our 2021 goal is focused on health and education equity, the two widening gaps that have adversely affected our most vulnerable communities,” said Mia Wright, NBWA president. “We are proud to be in the fight against cancer with American Cancer Society, and are ensuring we use our platform to create access for HBCU students, who are some of our world’s most brilliant minds.”  

Partnership goal 

As its initial goal, the NBWA will work toward funding $125,000 in STEM cancer research internship grants awarded to 25 HBCU medical students. This program will provide opportunities for under-represented scientists of color to enter the cancer research pipeline, ultimately increasing diversity in cancer research. The program’s goal is to positively affect the outcomes for cancer diagnosis in the Black community, while filling the gap of education and career opportunity for Black students.  

For more information, visit cancer.org/NBWA or contact Sheri Barros.  


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