Valley to Participate in Pilot Project to Increase Diversity in Cancer Clinical Trials

August 27, 2021

Valley Health System has been invited to participate in a nationwide pilot project focusing on increasing racial and ethnic diversity in cancer clinical trials participants.

The new project is a collaboration between the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC). The goal of the collaboration is to establish strategies and solutions to increase participation in cancer treatment clinical trials, particularly among individuals from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic communities.

Valley was one of 75 research sites nationwide invited to be part of the pilot project.  “I’m very proud that Valley has been invited to be a part of this exciting opportunity,” said Taja Ferguson, Director of Valley’s Okonite Research Center. “We are committed to ensuring access to all, and to identifying and reducing bias in clinical research programs.”

As part of its participation, Valley will conduct a site self-assessment to identify any policies, procedures or programs that may affect which patients are screened for and offered a clinical trial. Research and care team members will also undergo implicit bias training to acknowledge and mitigate bias that may affect which patients are offered clinical trials and choose to participate.

ASCO and ACCC will work with each participant to confirm and facilitate participation in the pilot project. 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 people from all racial and ethnic minority populations historically underrepresented in cancer treatment trials.