. "3 Overview of Programs of Research on Ethnic Minority and Medically Underserved Populations at the National Institutes of Health." The Unequal Burden of Cancer: An Assessment of NIH Research and Programs for Ethnic Minorities and the Medically Underserved. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1999.
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accrual of new ethnic minority cancer patients. NCI reports that minority accrual in CCOPs is proportionate to their representation in the United States (see Chapter 4 for more detailed information on minority enrollment) but adds that recruitment of minority and underserved populations remains a "special focus" of recruitment efforts (National Cancer Institute, 1998b). Approximately $2.5 million was allocated to this activity in FY 1997.
In addition, NCI's Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program has provided $1.1 million in funding in FY 1997 to 5 of the 11 cooperative groups to enhance the accrual of minorities in trials. Funds have been used to support community outreach in institutions with large minority patient populations, focus groups and educational opportunities for minority professionals, and advertising to increase minority awareness of clinical trials. Within the past 2 years, NCI has also reached agreement with VA and the Department of Defense to include eligible veterans and active-duty military personnel in clinical trial programs, potentially increasing the pool of minority participants. Finally, as noted above, ORMH of NIH has supported specific minority accrual projects at the NCI cancer centers, including the development of outreach literature for people with low levels of literacy, hiring of bilingual patient liaisons and a minority recruitment data manager, and other projects.
Conferences to Increase Accrual of Minorities
NCI has sponsored a series of conferences "to share current information and strategies that would aid cancer clinical investigators in recruiting and retaining minority participants in cancer clinical research" (National Cancer Institute, 1998b, p. 10). An RFA was issued to provide support for regional conferences; the RFA was preceded by a National Conference on the Recruitment and Retention of Minority Participants in Clinical Cancer Research. The national conference was cosponsored by NCI, ACS, the Oncology Nursing Society, NIH, and NIH's ORMH, and NIH's Office of Research on Women's Health. A monograph was published as a result of the national conference, and publication of the proceedings of each of the regional conferences is under way.
Basic research is the foundation of cancer research at NCI. This emphasis is reflected in the NCI FY 1999 budget request, which outlines four areas of "exceptional promise" for advancing knowledge of cancer: cancer genetics, including efforts to identify every human gene predisposing an individual to cancer; preclinical models of research, including the development of appropriate animal models of human cancers; imaging techniques