MUSC Hollings Cancer Center

Hollings RBC Scholars


Contact: Vicky Agnew
MUSC Hollings Cancer Center
Phone: 843-792-0376
Mobile: 843-697-6208
Contact: Bill Free
RBC Insurance/Liberty Life Insurance Company
Phone: 864-609-4302

MUSC Hollings Cancer Center Congratulates Summer Research Scholars

Voorhees College Student from Easley Completes Research Project, Aided by RBC Gift

(July 22, 2009, Charleston, SC) - The Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina congratulates Rashell Blake and Celina Ridgeway, its 2009 RBC Insurance Research Scholars, on the completion of their summer cancer disparities research.

Blake, of Kingston, Jamaica, and Ridgeway, of Easley, S.C., both rising seniors at Voorhees College, worked with Marvella Ford, Ph.D., associate director for Cancer Disparities, on individual projects addressing clinical trials and cancer education programs in underserved populations in the state.

The RBC Scholars program, made possible with a $50,000 gift from RBC Insurance, is in its third year. Since its inception in 2007, four Voorhees students conducting cancer disparities research have been accepted into graduate degree programs.

"The RBC Insurance Research Scholars Program provides funding to train the next generation of cancer disparities researchers,” said Dr. Ford. “These are highly motivated students conducting research and identifying strategies to reduce disparities in cancer outcomes. They are also driven by personal reasons because many members of their own communities and families have been touched by cancer." 

For many years, national education and research experts have noted the under-representation of minorities in certain academic fields of study such as medical research, engineering, and mathematics. As a result, these fields are not benefiting from the important perspective these young minds bring. In addition, the lack of minority perspective has hampered research that could benefit underserved populations.

The RBC Insurance Research Scholars Program addresses those issues with scholarships enabling these students to conduct research at South

Carolina's leading academic medical center - and by directing them toward research projects that will yield new information about medically underserved populations.

According to David Black, president and CEO of RBC Insurance, "RBC Insurance is committed to the development of rural healthcare and encourages other corporate citizens to support the recruiting of future physicians to practice in South Carolina’s rural areas. Without a healthy workforce, sustainable economic development in these areas is simply not possible.”

About the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center
Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina is a National Cancer Institute designated cancer center. It offers state-of-the-art diagnostic capabilities, therapies and surgical techniques and has multidisciplinary clinics that involve surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation therapists, radiologists, pathologists, psychologists and many other specialists seeing patients under one roof.  Multidisciplinary care is provided in disease specific clinics such as thoracic, breast, head and neck, genitourinary, gastrointestinal, hematological, and pediatric cancers. Hollings Cancer Center is the largest academic-based cancer program in South Carolina and has more than $35 million in cancer research funding. More than 1,000 people are currently participating on a cancer clinical trial at HCC. To expand patient access to clinical trials, MUSC Hollings Cancer Center has established the Clinical Trials Network (CTN). Partnering with nine cancer centers in S.C., the CTN broadens the reach of new research that may one day be the new standards of care.  For more information, please visit

About MUSC
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and residents, and has nearly 11,000 employees, including approximately 2,000 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $1.6 billion. MUSC operates a 750-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized Children's Hospital, the Ashley River Tower (cardiovascular, digestive disease, and surgical oncology), and a leading Institute of Psychiatry. For more information on academic or clinical services, visit or




* This website is best viewed in Firefox or Chrome internet browsers.