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Becton Dickinson Provides Grant in Support of Clinical Trials Initiative Fund


The Valley-Mount Sinai Comprehensive Cancer Care program offers patients the entire spectrum of oncology services while delivering unique care with compassion, empathy, and dignity. Recently, the program was a recipient of a generous grant from Becton Dickinson (BD) in support of Valley’s Clinical Trials Initiative, which seeks to increase trial participation among racial and ethnic minority communities in the hospital’s catchment area over a three-year period. BD has been a longtime partner in supporting philanthropic efforts at Valley, and their gift sends an important signal about their ongoing commitment to the hospital and the importance of clinical trials in helping to improve and save lives.

This past August, Valley was one of 75 research sites invited to be a part of a nationwide pilot project conducted by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Association of Community Cancer Centers. Over the course of three months, Valley tested a research site self-assessment tool and took part in an implicit bias training program focused on acknowledging and mitigating bias that may affect which patients are offered clinical trials and choose to participate. “Clinical trials are important, lifesaving tools,” says Taja Ferguson, Director of Valley’s Okonite Research Center. “However, for the outcome of clinical trials to have validity, participants should represent the patients that will be using the medical products. With a more representative patient population, the results of clinical trials will have more accurate outcomes in real-world patients with the illness in question.”

With pilot program data collection now complete, the BD grant will provide funding for Valley’s establishment of strategies and solutions to improve the clinical trial experience of the hospital’s diverse patient population. These include training Valley personnel to become certified in medical interpretation, offering a rideshare program for trial participants, creating a community needs assessment and patient-friendly navigation system suited to local patient needs, and partnering with local organizations and community leaders on targeted health literacy and awareness campaigns. “At Valley, we are committed to identifying and reducing bias in our clinical research programs,” says Ferguson. “Thanks to the BD grant, we can now work to ensure that all patients have access to these cutting-edge healthcare opportunities.”

Taja Ferguson, Director, Okonite Research Center