Diversity In Oncology Press Release

GRYT Health and Bristol Myers Squibb Team Up to Launch Diversity in Oncology Initiative

This initiative aims to highlight current inequities from the voice of individuals experiencing them and co-create structural change

Oct 14, 2021, Rochester, NY – In light of the health disparities in oncology, GRYT Health (“grit”), an oncology solutions company that was started and run by cancer survivors, and Bristol Myers Squibb, have partnered to launch Diversity in Oncology, a virtual platform available at www.diversityinoncology.com to raise awareness of the health disparities in oncology facing medically underserved and increasingly diverse patient populations in the U.S.

As one example of a racial disparity that exists in oncology, according to the National Institute of Health, “Invasive breast cancer age-adjusted mortality rate for black women age <40 was twice that for white women.”

The Diversity in Oncology initiative will co-create a series of live, interactive sessions that bring together a multi-stakeholder audience of local and national organizations, patients and caregivers, healthcare providers, clinical trial teams, and principal investigators, schools of public health, and others. The goal of the initiative is to have courageous conversations about strategies for the delivery of equitable high-quality cancer care for all including clinical trials, so that this cross-stakeholder, the cross-cultural initiative can take action to make the clinical trial enterprise more inclusive and responsive to populations that are currently underrepresented.

The first of four live sessions will be October 27, 2021, from 4:00 – 5:30 pm ET and is titled “Experience of Diverse Patients and Families in Clinical Trials.” It will feature an opening keynote from Wendy Bartie, senior vice president, U.S. Oncology at Bristol Myers Squibb, followed by a panel conversation moderated by Megan-Claire Chase, partnership director at GRYT Health and equity advocate. The session will include “break-out” rooms where attendees will be able to interact with the speakers to ask questions and to share their own stories and experiences in cancer clinical trials.

“This initiative is about the acknowledgment of the real and current issues in cancer clinical trials that need to be fixed,” said Megan-Claire Chase, partnership director at GRYT Health and moderator of the first session on the Diversity in Oncology platform. “This initiative is being developed with the voices of the underrepresented communities living these experiences so that resources and structural change can be co-designed together.”

The panel speakers in the first session will share their own personal experiences – as patients participating in clinical trials, as well as those who chose not to participate in a clinical trial.

“When I participated in a clinical trial, the team never showed any care or concern,” said Venus Ginés president and founder of Día de la Mujer Latina® Inc, and speaker on the Oct. 27 session of Diversity in Oncology. “Each time I shared something that I was struggling with they would say ‘this is good to document,’ but there was no support. After three months, I had to leave the trial, and nobody followed up.” Venus created Dia de la Mujer as a result of her experience to ensure other patients have resources and support for the experiences she never did.

Upcoming sessions, all available on the same virtual platform, will focus on topics relevant to bringing awareness to and developing solutions for healthcare inequities, including the experience of diverse physicians, principal investigators in clinical research, improving the representation of diversity in clinical trials, and new models of academia and community collaboration in terms of clinical research.

The virtual platform will provide resources and access to organizations and individuals advancing health equity, as well as the opportunity to participate in the live, interactive sessions to foster discussion and collaboration.

To register for free access to the platform and the series, visit www.DiversityinOncology.com. All sessions will be recorded and also available on demand.


Breast cancer epidemiology in blacks and whites: disparities in incidence, mortality, survival rates and histology (nih.gov)

About GRYT Health

GRYT Health is a digital oncology company that empowers people to be in charge of their own health through education, engagement, and support. We offer a community free from judgment that focuses on humanity and the value each person brings. Our mission is to improve the quality of life and increase survival for people facing cancer through the relentless focus on patient experience. We put patients first and work with healthcare organizations that do the same. We use the patient voice to enhance drug development and access; and together, we are helping to move healthcare forward. To learn more, visit us at www.grythealth.com.

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