Grants - Illinois - Designated Grants - 2021

Nita Lee, MD, MPH

Funded in collaboration with ESPN

EMPOWERED U is a community research program to better understand and address the gaps in cancer research in our diverse communities. Black or African American (AA) patients have lower rates of joining cancer prevention or treatment clinical trials.  For many cancers, Black or AA patients are still diagnosed later or may not live as long as white patients. Many factors such as insurance, poverty, age, other diseases, racism and bias in treatment, and trust of medical research due to prior racism may cause these differences.  As science for cancer treatment advances, the gap will increase if not everyone has equal access to new technology. Patients may miss the chance to join new trials and researchers may miss the chance to better understand disease and treatments in diverse groups.  

This program partners directly with community members to study opinions from patients, caregivers, local community leaders, and medical providers to better understand barriers, myths, fears as well as factors that can improve trials participation and the patient experience.  

The patient and community voice will be captured in focus groups and interviews. The community research team will use this important input to design a Community Clinical Trials Toolkit (booklets, print cards and videos) to better answer questions and worries and support patients to learn about clinical trials. Importantly, we will also create community led education for providers and clinical research teams about community and patient perspectives and best practices to support patients.