OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center Gynecologic Oncologist Selected for the Robert A. Winn Career Development Award

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OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center Gynecologic Oncologist Selected for the Robert A. Winn Career Development Award

Christina Washington, M.D., has been selected to join the second cohort of the Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials Award Program, established by the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation (Winn CDA). Washington is a gynecologic-oncologist with OU Health Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Clinical trials are an important component of improving science and the safety and efficacy of new medicines. The data collected through clinical trials better informs treatment decisions and increases patient options. Despite Black Americans representing 13% of the U.S. population, and Hispanics representing 16%, both groups make up only 7% combined as clinical trial participants.

The Diversity in Clinical Trials program is designed with inclusivity every step of the way and addresses the disparity and inequity in clinical trials. Engaging patient populations that reflect the epidemiology of the disease being studied and assuring that the trials reflect the populations being served are vital components of promoting diversity in clinical trials.

Winn Scholars must be from an underrepresented population or have a demonstrated commitment to increasing diverse patient participation in clinical trials that are being conducted. The two-year award of $240,000 recognizes the outstanding professional achievements and promise of Washington as a community-oriented clinical researcher. Not only is the award funding provided, but Winn CDA also assists with sponsorship, training, mentoring, resources and a network of support.

Washington will receive training in investigator-initiated and industry-sponsored clinical trials and in community outreach and engagement to encourage and facilitate underrepresented populations to participate in clinical trials which work towards enhancing and improving their health outcomes.

“I am very excited to have received this award. My project is titled Building Bridges between Community Leaders to Increase Involvement of Underrepresented Minorities in Clinical Trials. My hope is to continue to work with our African American and Native American Community Advisory Boards to develop programs to improve participant enrollment for each study protocol and create programs to assist with patient navigation” said Washington.

“Cancer takes a terrible toll in Oklahoma as we have the fourth highest cancer mortality rate in the nation. There are significant health disparities as well, with an increase in cancer mortality of 24% for Black/AA, 26% for rural residents and 73% for American Indians for Oklahoma compared to the national average,” said Robert Mannel, M.D., Director, Stephenson Cancer Center. “In receiving the Winn Career Development Award, Dr. Washington will join the ranks of a diverse group of clinical researchers who are committed to engaging their communities and ensuring that all impacted people are represented in clinical trials, which is essential for understanding the disparities in outcomes that are evident.”