Deputy Associate Director for Diversity and Inclusion in Clinical ResearchNov 9, 2022
Jessica McDermott, MD, Assistant Professor with the Division of Medical Oncology, has been named Deputy Associate Director for Diversity and Inclusion in Clinical Research. This role was recently created to identify and address barriers clinical trial accrual. Dr. McDermott is well suited for this role as she has served as the lead investigator and sub-investigator on numerous clinical trials and has been instrumental in improving access to clinical trials for patients from medically underserved communities.
"Having more access to clinical trials benefits everyone, There is data that suggests that patients who have access to trials at academic centers do better in general because there is more follow-up and access to the latest treatments."
Dr. McDermott has witnessed firsthand barriers to clinical trial accrual in the form of proximity, transportation, language, and health insurance. However, the work to increase clinical trial accrual extends far beyond the University of Colorado Cancer Center,. Collaborations with other cancer centers, primary care providers, pharmaceutical companies, and other trial runners are all critical to increased access and decreased trial burdens.
According to Dr. McDermott, clinical trials have historically been underrepresented in terms of race and ethnicity and her hope is for trial participation to match the demographics of Colorado's overall population by working more broadly with patients and providers throughout the state. "We are looking at how we better share with non-CU providers about their open trials and our open trials, so we can make sure we are sending each other patients as appropriate", says Dr. McDermott.
Dr. McDermott's efforts are part of a larger effort to develop and implement policies across cancer clinical research to align with a larger campus wide vision for diversity, equity, and inclusion.