Closing The Care Gap In Cancer

In this video recorded on World Cancer Day, Kimberly Richardson, founder of the Black Cancer Collaborative, discusses with me how racial minorities need to be a central part of the disparities conversation when it comes to cancer treatment, diagnosis, and research.

Despite efforts to increase diversity in clinical trials, racial/ethnic minority groups generally remain underrepresented, making it difficult for researchers to test the efficacy and safety of new interventions across a wide range of populations.

Kimberly says she is tired of the narrative that black patients mistrust the healthcare system and this is the reason they are not involved in clinical research. “It’s just simply not the case,” says Kimberly. The real reason is “because we simply have not been asked to participate, as well as Asians, as well as Native Americans, as well as Latinos. We have not been asked to participate.” 

To make real change, believes Kimberly, we have to involve everyone. “To move that dial on cancer research… if we really think we’re going to find a cure, it’s going to take all of us.  If you’re not there, that’s one unanswered question.”

Towards the end of the conversation, I asked Kimberly what the healthcare community can do in order to close the care gap.

“For oncologists, I ask you, I implore you, to be better at how you communicate with your patients. And for researchers, I ask you to see us as equal partners in this research that you bring a scientific skill and I bring a lived experience and they matter and those things together are going to help you with your research, design, and your protocols and ultimately with the results of your studies.”

 “And when we talk about closing the gap. Let’s be authentic. And acknowledge that these gaps exist. And do more than just go, Oh my God, that’s horrible. Yeah, let’s start thinking about ways to fix what we know we can fix. It’s possible to fix this.”