City of Hope is making strides in the community to educate all segments of the population on cancer issues, which may improve representation of ethnic minorities in clinical trials.
Kimlin Tam Ashing-Giwa, Ph.D., director of City of Hope’s Center for Community Alliance for Research and Education (CCARE), recently carried that message to legislators and members of the media in Washington, D.C. She spoke at the Feb. 11 “Partnering to Address Health Disparities” congressional and media briefing sponsored by the California Healthcare Institute.
As Ashing-Giwa explained, too few ethnic minorities participate in clinical trials, which means researchers have insufficient data about how treatments work in different ethnic groups. Pharmacokinetic factors can influence cancer therapies’ effectiveness and side effects, she noted.
|Kimlin Tam Ashing-Giwa (Photo by Judy Tejero)|
Members of ethnic communities may not know about trials due to a variety of issues, including access to care, language and cultural barriers and trust of the medical establishment. Ashing-Giwa told event attendees about CCARE’s role and partnerships in addressing these issues in City of Hope’s surrounding communities.
“CCARE engages with the community in a symbiotic relationship to co-educate and exchange knowledge and wisdom,” she said. “CCARE and the community infuse the best scientific practice with socioeconomic and cultural relevance to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities among diverse and medically underserved communities.”
City of Hope provides culturally and linguistically appropriate education programs and events in the community to build trust among all populations on cancer prevention, screening and treatment, she said.
Others in the briefing included Boston Scientific’s Charles Athill, M.D., member of a health disparities initiative called Close the Gap, Helen Torley of Amgen, and Medtronic’s Eric Winston, director of an effort called the Disparity Outreach Impact Team. Speakers discussed their efforts to develop tests, treatments and technologies addressing conditions that disproportionately affect minority populations.
Rep. Mike Honda, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and a leader in health-care and educational reform, headlined the event.
“The complexity of human biology and disease requires a focus on ‘team science’ to understand, treat and prevent common diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity,” Ashing-Giwa concluded. “Therefore, it is important for Congress and the American public to expect greater national health improvements from the large investments the government makes in health research.”