ASCO Unveils New Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan

Makes Broad Commitment to Advance Equitable Care for All Patients, Everywhere
For immediate release
December 14, 2021

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Rachel Martin
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Alexandria, Va. – Building on its long history of advancing health equity in cancer care, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today released, “The ASCO Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Action Plan: A Legacy of Commitment, A Future of Promise for Individuals with Cancer.” The plan, which was approved earlier this year by ASCO’s Board of Directors, aims to infuse equity into all of the organization’s activities, with the goal of making meaningful progress that improves the quality of cancer care.

“ASCO has a long track record on addressing EDI, however, this is the first time we’ve said, ‘Equity is part of everything we do at ASCO and critical to high-quality care,’” said ASCO President Everett E. Vokes, MD, FASCO. “It’s a gamechanger for us as an organization, because we now have a strategy that outlines where we, the largest oncology professional society, can have the biggest impact in making cancer care better for all people, worldwide.”

Organized around ASCO’s mission pillars of research, education, and quality, the ASCO EDI Action Plan describes three overarching goals that ASCO intends to achieve as a result of its work:

  • Research – Clinical trials will more accurately represent the population of patients with cancer, clinical trials will be routinely offered as a treatment option, and all patients will have equitable access to clinical trials. 
  • Education – The oncology workforce will better reflect the diversity of the population and will be well-equipped to deliver high-quality, equitable care for every patient. 
  • Quality – There will be fewer barriers to accessing cancer care, and practices will have the resources needed to advocate for patients and sustainably deliver high-quality, equitable care to all patients. 

The ASCO EDI Action Plan describes specific initiatives ASCO plans to continue, expand, or initiate, and outlines targets for the organization to reach over the next three to five years. ASCO aims to address the wide variety of factors—including race/ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, and geography—that can impact access to cancer care and outcomes, both in the United States and internationally. 

ASCO’s Ongoing Commitment to Health Equity

From its inception, ASCO has been committed to addressing health disparities in cancer care and has published multiple statements and guidance to highlight specific areas of concern and efforts needed to address cancer equity. ASCO has issued recommendations on reducing disparities in cancer carereducing disparities through the Affordable Care Actcharting the future of cancer health disparities research, and improving diversity in clinical trial participation. In 2020, reflecting its longstanding commitment to health equity, ASCO updated its mission statement to read: “Conquering cancer through research, education, and promotion of the highest quality, equitable patient care." 

“Today ASCO has the opportunity, ability, and will to build on its strong foundation of addressing health disparities to make an even greater impact,” said ASCO CEO Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO. “I am confident that the steps we are taking now will accelerate lasting and meaningful change.”

Read an illustrated overview of ASCO’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Action Plan and learn more about all of ASCO’s equity-related activities at asco.org/equity.

ASCO’s EDI work is funded by donations to EDI Initiatives through Conquer Cancer®, the ASCO Foundation.

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.