Grant Seeks to Improve Access to Clinical Trials in Minority Populations

November 17, 2009

The Comprehensive Cancer Center at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center has been awarded a grant from the National Cancer Institute to partner with community cancer centers across the country to improve cancer-related health care disparities in underserved, disadvantaged and uninsured populations.

“The reality is that African Americans and other minority populations tend not to participate in clinical trials, preventing them from taking advantage of potentially life-saving therapies,” said John H. Stewart IV, MD, a surgical oncologist at the Comprehensive Cancer Center and project leader for the grant.  “The objective of this grant is to have large, comprehensive cancer centers like Wake Forest Baptist help smaller community cancer centers utilize patient navigators to provide education and facilitate the enrollment of minority populations in cancer-related clinical trials.”

The $300,000 grant will be used to initiate cancer patient navigator programs and evaluate the role of patient navigators in clinical trials. Patient navigators work with patients to bridge cultural and linguistic barriers, provide education on resources available to patients and help them navigate the health care system.

The first two community cancer centers participating are Gibbs Regional Cancer Center in Spartanburg, SC and St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, MD.  The program will be expanded to other community cancer centers over the next two years.


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