The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), a leading education and advocacy organization of the cancer care community, announced the launch of the organization’s Community Oncology Research Institute (ACORI). Building on its existing mission, the new institute is designed to close the gap in cancer research through optimal community oncology partnerships,
The Community Oncology Research Institute will work to establish clinical trials as a standard of care in treatment plans and to help achieve equitable cancer care delivery for all patients.
The Institute evolved from ACCC’s year-long examination of equity and access to clinical trials in the community under the direction of its Immediate Past President Randall A. Oyer, MD., who will lead the team of recognized multidisciplinary cancer team professionals.
“Communities belong in cancer research and cancer research belongs in the community,” Oyer said.
“Connecting community cancer centers through partnerships will help overcome persistent barriers that exist to conducting research in the community,” he added.
“Regardless of a cancer center’s size, location, or resources, community oncology research cannot flourish on its own. Partnerships are needed between academic and research centers of excellence, other community-integrated networks, and others working in all aspects of cancer research, most importantly, patients and community organizations who can bi-directionally inform research design and conduct. By sharing resources, we can help make any community oncology program research-ready,” Oyer explained.
The new Community Oncology Research Institute focuses on equity, by advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion with trial sponsors and regulatory agencies. The institute develops education and resources that promote strategies and solutions to achieve health equity, as we investigate persistent areas of disparities in cancer clinical trial participation.
In addition, the institute focuses on building capacity and competency among community research programs to make them research-ready, through the development of education and resources to democratize knowledge, skills, and infrastructure for clinical research.
“We also facilitate mentorship opportunities between established and developing research programs and convene community oncology stakeholders for peer-to-peer learning, educational sessions, and networking,” Oyer noted.
Underrepresented racial and ethnic groups
As its foundational project, the Community Oncology Research Institute collaborates with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to increase cancer clinical trial participation among patients from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.
The two organizations are currently recruiting 40 oncology research programs to be part of a pilot testing a site assessment tool and/or an implicit bias training program.
The Community Oncology Research Institute and ASCO are seeking a mix of small and large oncology programs from diverse regions around the country, and participating programs will receive a stipend.
As advances in cancer screening and diagnosis, treatment options and care delivery models continue to evolve, the institute will adaptin its resources to meet the changing needs of the entire oncology team.
Featured image: Patient Support. Photo courtesy: © 2016 – 2021 Fotolia/Adobe. Used with permission