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ASCO, Susan B. Komen Join to Increase Diversity in Oncology

Susan B. Komen for the Cure joined the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) to increase the number of minorities practicing oncology in the United States.  By recruiting and training more doctors as oncologists from groups underrepresented in medicine, they hope to improve cancer care for ethnically diverse patients.

In announcing the new initiative ASCO said,

Although a number of programs exist to recruit individuals underrepresented in medicine, few of these programs focus specifically on recruitment to clinical oncology. Ultimately, it is hoped that increasing diversity in the clinical oncology profession will lead to increased and improved cancer care for underserved populations as well as increased research on health disparities.

Specifically, the new program will provide:

  • Assistance paying medical education loans to trained oncologists who commit to practicing in a medically underserved area.
  • Stipends for medical students to have an oncology or oncology research rotation.  Rotations will include work with a oncologist mentor who will continue to provide career guidance to the student.
  • Travel awards for internal medicine residents to attend ASCO’s annual meeting.

ASCO President Richard L. Schilsky, M.D. said,

Many issues contribute to disparities in health care in the United States, including lack of access to health care, lack of health insurance, poverty, language and literacy barriers, and low expectations of the result of cancer treatment, doctors, and the health care system. Through this initiative, ASCO hopes to further improve cancer care for these underserved populations.

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