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Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center To Participate In Pilot Project Aiming To Diversify Cancer Clinical Trials

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(Baton Rouge, La.) Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center has been selected by The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) to participate in an exclusive pilot project focused on increasing racial and ethnic diversity among patients enrolling in clinical trials. The goal of the initiative is to ensure racial and ethnic diversity among clinical trial participants and support for clinicians to enhance their abilities in communicating the benefits of research to all eligible patients.

Sites invited to be involved in the project represent a diverse mix of small and large research sites at community- and academic-based oncology programs, which will allow ASCO and ACCC to draw actionable conclusions about effectiveness of tools and training in a variety of research and clinical settings.

“The Cancer Center is proud to participate in such an important and needed program,” says Cyndi Knox, director of clinical research, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. “We have a long history of outreach to diverse communities and we are looking forward to being part of a project that will quickly impact cancer patients. This is especially important for patients from racial and ethnic groups historically underrepresented in clinical trials, but it is also key for the entire cancer research community.” 

As part of the program, a site self-assessment tool will be utilized to conduct an internal assessment of cancer center’s policies, procedures and programs that may impact which patients are screened for and offered a clinical trial, as well as factors impacting subsequent enrollment and retention. Once participating sites enter responses, the organizations will receive recommendations for specific strategies to implement and enhance their performance. After completing assessments, participants will provide feedback and suggested revisions to enhance the tool.

Another aspect of the project, the implicit bias training program, is designed to help sites acknowledge and mitigate implicit bias across research and care teams related to which patients are offered clinical trials and how it correlates to those who decide to enroll. It is a virtual, curriculum-based program and includes self-directed and interventional components. Participants’ feedback will be used to enhance the training program.

This work is part of an ASCO-ACCC initiative to establish evidence-based practical strategies and solutions to advance a vision where every patient with cancer has the opportunity to participate in research, focusing initially on patients who are Black and/or Hispanic/Latino. If the tool and training prove useful across a variety of research sites, the organizations plan to explore and expand the research.

A list of all participating sites and additional updates on the program will be available on the ASCO-ACCC Initiative to Increase Racial & Ethnic Diversity in Clinical Trials web page.

About Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is a regional cancer care organization that has been fighting cancer for 50 years. The cancer care organization provides care at nine centers in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Houma, Gonzales, Zachary and Natchez, Mississippi, and its service area encompasses southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi regions. For more information, please visit www.marybird.org.

About ASCO
Founded in 1964, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) is committed to making a world of difference in cancer care. As the world’s leading organization of its kind, ASCO represents nearly 45,000 oncology professionals who care for people living with cancer. Through research, education, and promotion of the highest-quality patient care, ASCO works to conquer cancer and create a world where cancer is prevented or cured, and every survivor is healthy. ASCO is supported by its affiliate organization, the Conquer Cancer Foundation. Learn more at www.ASCO.org, explore patient education resources at www.Cancer.Net, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.