Association of Community Cancer Centers Recommendations for Trial Diversity and Fairness

March 28, 2022

2 minute read


Disclosures: Nelson does not report any relevant financial information.


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The Association of Community Cancer Centers has released consensus recommendations to improve equity, accessibility, and diversity in cancer research.

Officials presented the recommendations at the ACCC Community Oncology Research Institute (ACORI) Action Summit.


Oncology Program Action Items.



The summit “reignited critical conversations” about equity in cancer research, including the roles and responsibilities of oncology practices and programs, with an emphasis on integrating patient perspectives and community in research, says outgoing ACCC president Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW.

“ACORI strives to establish clinical trials as the standard of care in treatment plans and to help achieve equitable delivery of cancer care for all patients,” Nelson told Healio. “We know that communities of color and those with socio-economic barriers suffer worse outcomes in cancer care, and we need to be part of the solution to raise awareness as the providers and systems that have made this possible. the case.”

One of the ACCC’s goals is to develop and share tools and resources that oncology programs can use to integrate patient perspectives into their work.

Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW

Krista Nelson

“The lack of community participation in cancer clinical trials has long been an issue, as has the lack of diversity among participants,” Nelson said. “Connecting community cancer centers through partnerships will help overcome the persistent barriers that exist to conducting research in the community. By sharing resources, we can help make any community oncology program research-ready.

The ACCC’s recommendations and action items resulted from the ACORI Synthesis Report that culminated in the Summit, a virtual event in collaboration with Stand Up to Cancer that involved 120 stakeholders, including practice representatives of oncology, trial sponsors, research teams and patient advocacy groups, among others .

Action items for oncology programs included:

  • understand the needs of the communities they serve, barriers to research participation, and community resources to improve trial enrollment and retention;
  • engage directly with patients and caregivers to incorporate their experiences and perspectives into the research process; and
  • build capacity to conduct equitable and patient-centred research.

Other recommendations were to ask industry sponsors and others involved in trial design to actively identify and partner with oncology programs working with underserved and understudied patients.

“Through ACCC’s strong network of partnerships, ACORI will enable community oncology programs and their multidisciplinary teams to access the tools, knowledge sharing, effective practices and peer mentorship to increase their capacity to offer patient trials,” Nelson told Healio.

ACCC formed ACORI, its research arm, in 2021 to bridge the gap in cancer research by establishing clinical trials as the standard of care in treatment plans, as well as to work towards achieving a equitable delivery of cancer care for all patients. In May, ASCO announced the launch of a pilot project, resulting from a collaboration with the ACCC, to address the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in cancer treatment trials.

In 2020, the two organizations formed a collaboration aimed at increasing racial and ethnic diversity in cancer clinical trials.

“The goal of the collaboration is to establish practical strategies and solutions to help increase participation in cancer treatment trials, with a focus on increasing clinical trial participation in patients from historically underrepresented racial and ethnic communities,” Nelson said.

“The 75 invited sites represent a diverse mix of small and large research sites in community and academic oncology programs, which will allow ASCO and ACCC to draw actionable conclusions about the effectiveness of the tools and training in a variety of research and clinical settings,” continued Nelson. “Each site was nominated to participate in either the Site Self-Assessment Tool pilot study, the Implicit Bias Training Program pilot study, or both pilot studies.”

For more information:

Krista Nelson, MSW, LCSW, OSW-C, FAOSW, can be contacted at Providence Cancer Institute Franz Clinic, 4805 NE Glisan St., Suite 11N-1, Portland, OR 97213; email: [email protected].

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