The Association for Clinical Oncology (the Association) recently submitted comments in response to a Request for Information (RFI) from Representative Richard Neal (D-MD), the Chair of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee, about the use of race in clinical care algorithms. The RFI is part of the Ways and Means Committee’s ongoing work to improve racial health equity.
The comment letter states that the clinical practice guidelines developed by the Association’s sister organization, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (the Society), do not include race or ethnicity as a factor to determine methods of treatment for patients, however, factors including race and ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, geographic location, and insurance access are known to impact cancer care outcomes.
“We believe that stakeholders should work towards achieving health equity by ensuring equitable access to both high-quality cancer care and research, and addressing the structural barriers that preserve health inequities,” writes Monica Bertagnolli, MD, FACS, FASCO Chair of the Board of the Association, in the letter.
The letter also outlines some of the ongoing work that the Association and Society are undertaking to increase equity in cancer care, including:
- A statement published in July 2020, which offers recommendations to improve health equity for underserved minorities.
- A new collaboration with the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) to foster participation in cancer-related clinical trials to more fully reflect the diversity of patients with cancer in the U.S.
- Ongoing activities in support of the Strategic Plan for Increasing Racial and Ethnic Diversity of the Oncology Workforce.
- Training and awareness programs aimed at educating oncology care providers about cultural literacy and addressing cancer health disparities.
Read the full comment letter.
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