In light of the health disparities in oncology, GRYT Health (“grit”), an oncology solutions company that was started and run by cancer survivors, and Bristol Myers Squibb, have partnered to launch Diversity in Oncology, a virtual platform available at www.diversityinoncology.com to highlight and raise awareness of the health disparities in oncology facing diverse patients in the U.S.
As one example of a racial disparity that exists in oncology, according to the National Institute of Health, “The invasive breast cancer age-adjusted mortality rate for black women age <40 was twice that for white women.”
The Diversity in Oncology initiative will co-create a series of live, interactive sessions that bring together a multi-stakeholder audience of local and national organizations, patients and caregivers, healthcare providers, clinical trial teams and principal investigators, schools of public health and others. The goal of the initiative is to have courageous conversations about what’s currently inequitable, so that this cross-stakeholder, cross-cultural initiative can work towards structural changes in clinical trials. By bringing together diverse patients who have experienced inequities, alongside those who run trials, we will highlight current inequities and identify ways to adapt the system.
The first of four live sessions will be October 27, 2021, from 4:00 – 5:30pm ET and is titled “Experience of Diverse Patients and Families in Clinical Trials.” It will feature an opening keynote from Wendy Short Bartie, senior vice president, U.S. Oncology at Bristol Myers Squibb, followed by a panel conversation moderated by Megan-Claire Chase, partnership director at GRYT Health and equity advocate. The session will include “break-out” rooms where attendees will be able to interact with the speakers to ask questions and to share their own stories and experiences in cancer clinical trials.
“This initiative is about acknowledgment of the real and current issues in cancer clinical trials that need to be fixed,” said Megan-Claire Chase, partnership director at GRYT Health and moderator of the first session on the Diversity in Oncology platform. “This initiative is being developed with the voices of the underrepresented communities living these experiences, so that resources and structural change can be co-designed together.”
The panel speakers in the first session will share their own personal experiences - as patients participating in clinical trials, as well as those who chose not to participate in a clinical trial.
“When I participated in a clinical trial for breast cancer, the research team never showed any care or concern to my questions,” said Venus Ginés, president and founder, Día de la Mujer Latina® Inc. and speaker on the Oct. 27 session of Diversity in Oncology. “When I shared about the side effects that I was struggling with - they would say ‘I will document it on your file,’ but there was no support or follow-up care. After three months, I left the trial and upon not getting a call-back, I felt it had been a waste of my time.” Venus founded Día de la Mujer Latina® Inc. not only to educate Latinas about breast and cervical cancer, but as a result of her experience. In her work, she teaches promotores/community health workers to be more patient-centered and respectful to their constituents and patients, providing timely responses, resources, and support.
Upcoming sessions, all available on the same virtual platform, will focus on topics relevant to bringing awareness to and developing solutions for healthcare inequities, including the experience of diverse physicians, principal investigators in clinical research, improving representation of diversity in clinical trials, and new models of academia and community collaboration in terms of clinical research.
The virtual platform will provide resources and access to organizations and individuals advancing health equity, as well as the opportunity to participate in the live, interactive sessions to foster discussion and collaboration.
To register for free access to the platform and the series, visit www.DiversityinOncology.com. All sessions will be recorded and also available on demand.
GRYT Health is a digital oncology company that empowers people to be in charge of their own health through education, engagement and support. We offer a community free from judgment that focuses on humanity and the value each person brings.Our mission is to improve quality of life and increase survival for people facing cancer through the relentless focus on patient experience. We put patients first and work with healthcare organizations that do the same. We use the patient voice to enhance drug development and access; and together, we are helping to move healthcare forward. Visit www.grythealth.com or www.solutions.grythealth.com to learn more.