New approach

Gabrielle Saulsbery//October 18, 2021

New approach

Valley Health will participate in pilot project to increase diversity in cancer clinical trials

Gabrielle Saulsbery//October 18, 2021

Woman diagnosed with cancer wearing a fashionable hair cap
Valley Health System is one of 75 sites nationwide invited to participate in the pilot project. -DEPOSIT PHOTOS

Valley Health System has been invited to participate in a nationwide pilot project designed to increase racial and ethnic diversity in cancer clinical trial participants.

The American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Association of Community Cancer Centers are collaborating on the project. Their collective goal is to establish strategies and solutions to increase participation in cancer treatment clinical trials, particularly among individuals from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic communities.

In all, 75 sites nationwide have been invited to participate in the pilot project.

Taja Ferguson, director of Valley’s Okonite Research Center, said Valley is “committed to ensuring access to all, and to identifying and reducing bias in clinical research programs.”

Valley will self-assess to identify policies, procedures or programs that may affect which patients are screened for and offered a clinical trial.

Employees will also undergo implicit bias training to acknowledge and mitigate bias that may affect which patients are offered clinical trials and choose to participate.

If the self-assessment tool and bias training prove effective in this pilot project, ASCO and ACCC will explore a larger study to further evaluate their effectiveness in diversifying participation of populations historically underrepresented in cancer treatment trials.