The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) today announced that 75 research sites applied and have been invited to participate in a pilot project testing a research site self-assessment tool and an implicit bias training program focused on increasing racial and ethnic diversity among clinical trial participants.
Originally planned as a pilot project involving approximately 40-50 research sites, the program has been expanded in response to broad interest from the oncology community. The launch of this next phase of the oncology organizations' collaboration will help ensure racial and ethnic diversity among clinical trial participants and support for clinicians so they are able to routinely offer clinical trials to all eligible patients.
The 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 tool and training in a variety of research and clinical settings. 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.
"The enthusiastic response and breadth of applications demonstrate how deeply the oncology community is committed to our goal of equity in clinical trials," said ASCO-ACCC Steering Group Co-chair and Board Chair of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO. "Working directly with a wide range of research sites will give us a unique opportunity to gauge the feasibility and utility of specific approaches to enhancing participation of patients who have been underrepresented in cancer trials.”
Site Self-Assessment Tool:
The site self-assessment tool is intended to help research sites conduct an internal assessment of their 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 the sites enter their responses, they will receive recommendations for specific strategies to implement and improve their performance. After completing their assessments, participants will provide feedback and suggested revisions to enhance the tool.
Implicit Bias Training:
The implicit bias training program is designed to help research sites acknowledge and mitigate implicit bias across research and care teams related to which patients are offered clinical trials and which choose to participate. It is a virtual, curriculum-based program and includes self-directed and interventional components. Participants’ feedback will be used to enhance the training program.
"We are delighted to expand our original scope for this initiative and work with so many highly engaged research sites to better understand the potential impact of the tool and training program," said co-chair of the ASCO-ACCC Steering Group and ACCC Immediate Past President Randall A. Oyer, MD. "Partnering with these research sites will be critical to learn about their unique and common challenges and experiences, which will help to establish how we can have the greatest impact, as soon as possible, for patients from racial and ethnic groups historically underrepresented in clinical trials, and the entire cancer research community."
ASCO and ACCC will work with each of the invited sites to confirm and facilitate participation in the pilot project, which will officially begin this summer.
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/Latinx. The collaboration launched in July 2020 with a Request for Ideas to the oncology community seeking novel innovations to remedy participation barriers. If the tool and training prove useful across a variety of research sites, the organizations plan to explore a longitudinal intervention study to evaluate their effectiveness in diversifying participation of people from all racial and ethnic minority populations historically underrepresented in cancer treatment trials.
A list of 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.