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Addressing Advocacy at the Bench

Patient engagement is a valuable tool to increase research efficiencies and lower health inequities. The challenge lies in moving theory into practice. The AACR’s Addressing Advocacy at the Bench panels highlight case studies of community-based research initiatives, developed and implemented by teams of patients and researchers working together to improve outcomes for all patients.


Patients’ cultural health beliefs are integral to their quality of care. It affects how they think and feel about clinical research, their health and health problems, when and from whom they seek health care, and how they respond to recommendations for lifestyle change, health-care interventions, and treatment plans. The interface between cultural processes, healthcare, and science is complex. Fortunately,  there is emerging literature on the effectiveness of community-based interventions to increase the cultural competence of health providers and scientists. This session will highlight case studies of community-based initiatives, developed and implemented by teams of advocates and researchers, that focus on shaping programs, policies, and interventions that promote cultural competence.

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AACR Virtual Conference: 14th AACR Conference in the Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved: covid-19 vaccines: patient advocates as trusted sources of information

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention recommend that everyone 12 years and older get a COVID-19 vaccine. That includes most people with underlying medical conditions, including cancer. To date, there are over 80 million Americans who have not been vaccinated. The reasons are numerous, but the leading explanation is mistrust in the vaccine and concern about it’s long-term effects. This session will address the topic of mistrust of health care providers or systems among underrepresented communities, who are more likely to get seriously ill and die from COVID-19, but hesitant to take the coronavirus vaccine; and, highlight ways patient advocates are engaging their communities and building trust in the vaccine. Highlighted programs will focus on improving communications, increasing education, creating welcoming environments, and addressing barriers to access.

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The Atlantic: People v Cancer, Collaborations Against Cancer: Patients Partnering with Scientists

Patients and physicians are reaching new levels of partnership, as they co-create treatment plans, assess evidence-based therapeutic options, and discuss quality of life issues. Is it possible to have similar partnerships earlier in the pipeline when treatments are being discovered? Can patients and scientists work together to better inform translational cancer research approaches and improve patient outcomes? This session explored the intersection of cancer survivors, patient advocacy, and patient engagement in cancer research with a look at the impact of AACR’s as a platform that brings these unique communities together

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12th AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities in Racial/Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved

Populations at risk for health disparities are less likely than other groups to participate in research studies. This gap in research participation threatens to increase health inequities, as cancer research studies drive the development of new and improved treatments. Researchers and advocates are combatting this issue by co-creating patient engagement efforts that promise to increase patient participation in cancer research. This session highlighted case studies of community-based initiatives, developed and implemented by teams of patients and researchers, working together to eliminate research and health disparities.

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