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Dr. B. Lee Green and Kuan Brown

B. Lee Green, PhD, Senior Member in the Department of Health Outcomes and Behavior at Moffitt Cancer Center, agreed to spend one month last summer mentoring a college student in a program called Brain Expansions Scholastic Training, or B.E.S.T., a long standing partner of Moffitt’s Faculty Diversity in Oncology Program (FDOP).

After that month, Green would send the student on his way and return to his own busy life as a researcher.

But things turned out differently after Green got to know the young student, Kuan Bowen, 22, a University of South Florida sophomore majoring in biomedical sciences.

“He was such an impressive young man,” Green said. Bowen was not only bright, but also driven and eager to learn – exactly the qualities Green wanted for a research assistant he was about to hire.

"I am always looking for people who are passionate, dedicated, serious, and eager to learn," explained Green. "Kuan embodied all these characteristics; he wasn't simply trying to fulfill some requirements or check the box before moving on."

So Green hired Bowen in September, which gives Bowen the rare chance to have academic research published as an undergraduate. Bowen intends to apply to medical school, so this impressive line on his resume will prove valuable.

“He will have the chance to be a part of writing research grants, and will be a part of any papers published, with the hope that when he is done his name will appear as an author on some major publications,” Green said.

As a research assistant, Bowen is assisting with an extensive review of scientific literature about the use of emerging technologies and health disparities. He and Green are not only investigating how these technologies can help overcome health disparities, but also whether they might unintentionally increase disparities.


He will have the chance to be a part of writing research grants, and will be a part of any papers published, with the hope that when he is done his name will appear as an author on some major publications.
B. Lee Green, PhD, Senior Member

It’s an example of how a program like B.E.S.T. can provide Moffitt and other institutions with bright young professionals for the future.

B.E.S.T. is a Tampa Bay program that provides hands-on experiences and mentoring for under-represented or disadvantaged students interested in health care professions.

Bowen, from Brandon, first got involved in B.E.S.T. through a month-long summer program after his sophomore year at Spoto High School. He dressed in scrubs, went to an Advent Health hospital five days a week and learned about the practice of medicine firsthand from doctors. He made a presentation on a mitral valve condition, using de-identified data from a real patient.

Last summer B.E.S.T. brought him to Moffitt, where students shadow physicians and researchers in FDOP.

“What B.E.S.T. did for me was take the instruction off the books, leap it from the page and put it into my physical hands,” Bowen said. “I could actually touch and feel the science I had been reading about.” The entire experience solidified his interest in going into medicine. He is considering applying for a combined MD-PhD program.

Green has a favorite line any time he speaks to young people visiting Moffitt. He tells them: “The person who cures cancer might be sitting in this room.”

B.E.S.T helps Moffitt and other local hospitals by getting more people in the room – including Black students and those from other underrepresented groups.

“The number of Black men going into medicine is dwindling,” Green said. “Our response in FDOP is to help get more people in that pipeline.”

"That’s why mentoring programs like this one are not only important for students and for hospitals like Moffitt, but also for the entire community," Green said.