Cancer impacts all of us, but clinical trials to improve cancer care do not currently serve all of us Equitably

SWOG and The Hope Foundation, in collaboration with Genentech and additional future funders, have launched a multi-phased, multi-year initiative to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) among SWOG leadership, membership, and throughout its cancer clinical trials. The projects detailed below are ongoing efforts.

Realizing DEI In Leadership

Charles D. Blanke, MD“Efforts to ensure widespread SWOG engagement with diversity, equity, and inclusion—DEI—must start at the top.” – SWOG Group Chair, Dr. Charles Blanke

In the SWOG strategic plan 2019-2024, one aspect of the Group’s vision is to remain a national and international leader in practice-changing clinical research through diversity and inclusion in leadership. In pursuit of that goal, SWOG has engaged a firm, Pope Consulting, to assess where leadership currently stand with DEI attitudes, practices, policies, and resources; and to help the Group plot its path forward.

In phase 1 of the work, already begun, Pope is performing a maturity analysis to assess the current state of and vision for DEI within SWOG leadership. This phase includes 15 hour-long interviews with a selected set of SWOG executive officers, committee leaders, and senior staff to gather information as part of an analysis of DEI structures and systems in the group. An online focus group, visioning, and training are all soon to follow. 

TeamScience@SWOG, Module 6: Improving Diversity and Representativeness of SWOG Cancer Research Network Clinical Trial Participants

This spring, we awarded our first career grant specific to furthering DEI efforts across our network trials. Awarded to Patricia Robinson, MD, the DEI Career Development Award provides the opportunity to lead a network-wide project designed to increase the diversity of SWOG trials. Robinson’s efforts will include assisting with the rollout of a member training program called TeamScience@SWOG, Module 6: Improving Diversity and Representativeness of Clinical Trial Participants.

The implementation of Module 6 – along with related efforts to network with advocacy groups to connect to diverse patient communities – is a partnership between the SWOG patient advocate and recruitment and retention committees, chaired by Rick Bangs, MBA, and Allison Caban-Holt, PhD, respectively. These efforts are centered around increasing diversity in cancer trial participants, and leading significant organizational change to ensure members are equipped to do so.

Minority/Underserved Recruitment Initiative: A Program for Improved Outreach & Accrual

On May 21, we kicked off this NCORP-focused initiative with 2-hour virtual symposium for information gathering and shared learning, serving as a springboard for research ideas to test promising accrual strategies across network sites. Funding for five pilot studies will be offered in late 2021 through The Hope Foundation.

View Pilot Grant Opportunity

The symposium featured 2 rounds of site presentations, each followed by a brief panel discussion. Participating sites included: (session 1) Hawaii Minority Underserved NCORP, Upstate Carolina NCORP, Columbia University MU NCORP, Montefiore Medical Center MU NCORP, and (session 2) New Mexico MU NCORP, Stroger Hospital of Cook County MU NCORP, Puerto Rico MU NCORP, Baptist Memorial Healthcare/Mid South MU NCORP.

Compiled Symposium Slide Presentations

NCORP Special Symposium: Improving Representation in Cancer Clinical Trials from The Hope Foundation on Vimeo.

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