ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Conquer Cancer®, the ASCO Foundation, announced a new program to increase diversity in clinical trials and transform the clinical research landscape as part of the Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials Award Program established by the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation. The Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials: Clinical Investigator Leadership Award powered by Conquer Cancer’s EveryGrant® is a three-year career and leadership development program designed to provide clinical cancer researchers with advanced clinical trials knowledge, leadership skills, mentorship and sponsorship to succeed as independent clinical researchers, team members, and leaders.
The program, funded by the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, is exclusive to the graduates of the Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials: Career Development Award (Winn CDA) program who are early-stage investigator physicians underrepresented in medicine or who have demonstrated a commitment to increasing diversity in clinical trials. As part of Winn CDA, scholars will have completed a Community-Oriented Clinical Trialist curriculum, training them to become a new generation of world class clinical trialists who possess the additional knowledge and competencies to foster active community engagement in clinical and translational research.
“We cannot have a truly effective healthcare system without including diverse populations in clinical trials. By embracing diversity, we not only ensure equitable access to potentially life-saving cancer treatments, but we also pave the way for a healthier and more inclusive future for all. The Winn Clinical Investigator Leadership Award, powered by Conquer Cancer’s EveryGrant®, allows us to continue our investment in the training of scholars and extends our community-based trained scholars’ expertise onto some of our country’s most influential trial sites. These are critical components in reaching our program objectives,” said Robert A. Winn, director and Lipman Chair in Oncology at VCU Massey Cancer.
Currently, most clinical trials are sponsored and led by industry and are based on its protocol. The National Cancer Institute’s National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) and their foundations also lead a significant number of trials. Patients, as well as the entire field of oncology, will benefit from a strong, well-trained group of diverse clinical trialists better equipped to lead future clinical cancer research studies.
“We commend The Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation for their commitment to reducing healthcare disparities by increasing access to clinical trials for everyone," said Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, FASCO, Chief Executive Officer of ASCO and Executive Vice Chair of Conquer Cancer. "We look forward to working together as part of our commitment to advancing access to equitable, high-quality cancer care for every person, no matter who they are or where they live.”
The leadership and training program will be led by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and is intended to include collaboration with US Network Groups. As part of the training, each participant will be assigned to an NCTN group and placed on one of its core committees, and matched with an experienced clinical trialist. This will ensure that participants will have the skills not only to conduct high-impact clinical trials, but also to effectively engage with communities to foster active community participation in clinical research.
“The Winn Award Program exemplifies Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation’s understanding that more inclusive and diverse clinical trials will lead to better science and patient outcomes,” said John Damonti, President, Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation. “The Clinical Investigator Leadership Award, in partnership with Conquer Cancer®, the ASCO Foundation, offers graduates of our Winn Award Program the exceptional opportunity to continue their training and development as community-oriented clinical trialists. Educated and empowered by the privilege of serving on the National Cancer Institute’s NCTN core committees, they will have the unparalleled chance to begin applying their knowledge and expertise to the oncology field. We are honored and excited to welcome Conquer Cancer®, the ASCO Foundation, as a partner in our Winn Award Program and our commitment to health equity.”
The program will launch in early 2024 and will continue for five years, with the goal of training a total of 25 clinical trialists over a seven-year period. The program will provide salary support for the participants during their award term, support for the NCTN groups, and other training-related costs.
The application for the inaugural class of the Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials: Clinical Investigator Leadership Award will run from May 15, 2023 through June 30, 2023 and must be submitted electronically through Conquer Cancer’s Application Portal. To be eligible, candidates must be a participant in the first cohort of the Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials: Career Development Award and must be an oncology physician. For more information about the program including eligibility and requirements, download the Request for Applications.
To learn more about the Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials Award Program, please visit the program’s website at www.diversityinclinicaltrials.org.