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Penn Today: Improving diversity in cancer clinical trials

From Penn Today: Despite making up 13.4% of the U.S. population, only 5% of Black patients with cancer are enrolled in clinical trials. Of 8,700 patients who participated in trials nationwide related to the 28 oncology drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2018 and 2019, only 4% were Black, according to FDA Drug Trial Snapshot reports. Last year, Washington and Carmen Guerra, an internal medicine physician and vice chair of diversity and inclusion for the Department of Medicine, established a program called Flu-FIT, which used local connections and community events to create opportunities for people to get screened for colorectal cancer and receive their flu vaccine. In addition to disease prevention efforts, Washington and Guerra launched a pilot program to encourage clinical trial participation among the underserved community. Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center (ACC)’s Cancer Clinical Trials Community Ambassador Training Program was established in August 2021 to create cancer clinical trial community spokespersons and resources to increase awareness and access to cancer clinical trials in the diverse Philadelphia communities. Read the full story in Penn Today.