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March 28, 2022

2 min read

Source/Disclosures

Disclosures: Nelson reports no relevant financial disclosures.


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Association of Community Cancer Centers has released consensus-driven recommendations to improve equity, accessibility and diversity in cancer research.

Officials presented the recommendations during ACCC Community Oncology Research Institute (ACORI) Action Summit.

Oncology program action items.

The summit “jumpstarted critical conversations” on equity within cancer research, including the roles and responsibilities of oncology practices and programs, with an emphasis on bringing patient and community perspectives into research, said ACCC Immediate Past President Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW.

“ACORI is working to establish clinical trials as a standard of care in treatment plans and to help achieve equitable cancer care delivery for all patients,” Nelson told Healio. “We know communities of color and those with socioeconomic barriers suffer worse outcomes in cancer care, and we need to be part of the solution to bring awareness as providers and systems that have allowed this to be the case.”

One of ACCC’s goals is to develop and share the tools and resources oncology programs can use to incorporate patient perspectives into their work.

Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW

Krista Nelson

“Lack of community participation in cancer clinical trials has long been an issue, as has a lack of diversity among participants,” Nelson said. “Connecting community cancer centers through partnerships will help overcome persistent barriers that exist to conducting research in the community. By sharing resources, we can help make any community oncology program research-ready.”

ACCC’s recommendations and action items resulted from ACORI’s executive summary report that culminated in the summit, a virtual event in collaboration with Stand Up to Cancer that involved 120 stakeholders, including representatives of oncology practices, trial sponsors, research teams and patient advocacy groups, among others .

Action items for oncology programs included:

  • understanding the needs of communities they serve, barriers to research participation and community resources to improve trial enrollment and retention;
  • engaging directly with patients and caregivers to incorporate their experiences and perspectives in the research process; and
  • building capacity to conduct equitable and patient-centered research.

Other recommendations included asking industry sponsors and others involved in trial design to actively identify and partner with oncology programs working with underserved and understudied patients.

“Through ACCC’s robust network of partnerships, ACORI will enable community oncology programs and their multidisciplinary teams to access the tools, knowledge sharing, effective practices and peer mentorships to increase their ability to offer trials to patients,” Nelson told Healio.

The ACCC formed ACORI, its research arm, in 2021 to close the gap in cancer research by establishing clinical trials as a standard of care in treatment plans, as well as to work toward achieving equitable cancer care delivery for all patients. In May, ASCO announced the launch of a pilot project, stemming from a collaboration with ACCC, to address the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in cancer treatment trials.

In 2020, the two organizations formed a collaboration designed to increase racial and ethnic diversity in cancer clinical trials.

“The goal of the collaboration is to establish practical strategies and solutions to help increase participation in cancer treatment trials, with a focus on increasing clinical trial participation in patients from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic communities,” Nelson said.

“The 75 invited sites 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 the tools and training in a variety of research and clinical settings ,” Nelson continued. “Each site has been assigned to participate in the site self-assessment tool pilot study, the implicit bias training program pilot study, or both pilot studies.”

For more information:

Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW, can be reached at Providence Cancer Institute Franz Clinic, 4805 NE Glisan St., Suite 11N-1, Portland, OR 97213; email: krista.nelson@providence.org.

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