Two Day Virtual Event Focused on Solutions for Actionable Change
Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, brought together leading experts and advocates in breast cancer disparities from across academia, philanthropy and industry for the 2nd Annual Komen Breast Cancer Disparities Research Summit – a virtual conversation held Nov. 18-19 focused on developing actionable solutions for improving health equity.
“The COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the tragic disparities that exist across our health care system, yet this was not news to Susan G. Komen or our colleagues across the breast cancer community who have been working for years to address health and social inequities for Black women and members of vulnerable communities,” said Paula Schneider, Komen’s President and CEO. “Yet it has given us an opportunity to marshal the resources needed to make change. The time for talk is over. We must take action – and that action starts today.”
The Summit, sponsored by Amgen, Bank of America, Ford, Merck and Walgreens, featured nearly 300 researchers, patient advocates and industry leaders, including a keynote by CNN’s Athena Jones, who is also a breast cancer survivor. Topics included:
- How to connect with diverse populations and expand their participation in clinical trials
- Genetics of breast cancer and how to overcome disparities in genetic testing and counseling
- Effect of COVID-19 on health care disparities in cancer patients
- The role of racism in public health
- Public policies needed to achieve health equity
“We have long known that there are problems and causes of disparities in outcomes for breast cancer patients,” noted Dr. Amalie Ramirez, a Komen Scholar and Chair and Professor of Population Health Sciences at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, who served as Chair for the Summit. “Yet research in this area has been challenged by a lack of resources, limited data, a shortage of people trained to solve these problems, and no venue where researchers and patient advocates could collaborate to overcome these barriers. That’s why this event is so important, because we can begin to work together to solve the problem.”
This event also included a closed career development session, sponsored by Amgen, for Komen’s Training Researcher to ElimiNate Disparities (TREND) program trainees. This program is designed to build a workforce from underrepresented populations and a workforce to study health disparities so that we can have a greater impact in communities of need. At the Summit, early career investigators improve their knowledge and skillset so they can effectively pursue solutions for actionable change.