The room where it happens: addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion in National Clinical Trials Network clinical trial leadership

Rebecca A. Snyder, Barbara Burtness, May Cho, Jaydira Del Rivero, Deborah B. Doroshow, Kathryn E. Hitchcock, Aparna Kalyan, Christina A. Kim, Jelena Lukovic, Aparna R. Parikh, Nina N. Sanford, Bhuminder Singh, Chan Shen, Rachna T. Shroff, Namrata Vijayvergia, Karyn A. Goodman, Pamela L. Kunz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Many multicenter randomized clinical trials in oncology are conducted through the National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN), an organization consisting of 5 cooperative groups. These groups are made up of multidisciplinary investigators who work collaboratively to conduct trials that test novel therapies and establish best practice for cancer care. Unfortunately, disparities in clinical trial leadership are evident. To examine the current state of diversity, equity, and inclusion across the NCTN, an independent NCTN Task Force for Diversity in Gastrointestinal Oncology was established in 2021, the efforts of which serve as the platform for this commentary. The task force sought to assess existing data on demographics and policies across NCTN groups. Differences in infrastructure and policies were identified across groups as well as a general lack of data regarding the composition of group membership and leadership. In the context of growing momentum around diversity, equity, and inclusion in cancer research, the National Cancer Institute established the Equity and Inclusion Program, which is working to establish benchmark data regarding diversity of representation within the NCTN groups. Pending these data, additional efforts are recommended to address diversity within the NCTN, including standardizing membership, leadership, and publication processes; ensuring diversity of representation across scientific and steering committees; and providing mentorship and training opportunities for women and individuals from underrepresented groups. Intentional and focused efforts are necessary to ensure diversity in clinical trial leadership and to encourage design of trials that are inclusive and representative of the broad population of patients with cancer in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1132-1138
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 9 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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