Health Equity - Stand Up To Cancer

Health Equity

Stand Up To Cancer’s Health Equity Initiative aims to improve disparities in cancer research, screening and treatment.

Communities of diverse race and ethnicity, as well as people living in rural communities, are frequently underserved by the health care system. This can result in poorer health outcomes, which is the case with cancer much too often. The conditions in which people live, work, learn and play, as well as mistrust or fear of the healthcare system or language and financial barriers, can also contribute to disparities in cancer research, screening and outcomes.

SU2C is tackling this issue through its Health Equity Initiative, which was announced in January 2020 and focuses on three areas: increasing diversity in SU2C-funded clinical trials, initiating advocacy group collaborations and awareness campaigns, and funding research aimed at improving cancer outcomes and screening rates in medically underserved communities. SU2C began developing its Health Equity Initiative in 2017 and the initiative is guided by SU2C’s Health Equity Committee, which was formed in 2018.

“Cancer research has made tremendous progress but has not benefited all patients equitably. It is incumbent upon the medical community to ensure that new treatments are available and effective for all, and one of the key pieces to accomplishing that aim is to ensure diversity in clinical trials.”

—Edith Perez, Chair of the Health Equity Committee

Cancer research is more effective for all when representation and access to breakthrough treatments is prioritized and barriers to access are considered or removed.

This is why, since January 2020, all SU2C-supported research grant proposals address the recruitment and retention of patients from medically underserved communities in cancer clinical trials, as part of our Health Equity Initiative. We’re also committed to ensuring diverse and rural communities have the opportunity to receive the newest treatments and lifesaving screenings.

Stand up to Cancer Testimonial

For true breakthroughs to be made, diverse representation must be prioritized at every step of the journey.

Timeline of Achievements in Health Equity

SU2C began developing its Health Equity Initiative in 2017. The initiative is guided by SU2C’s Committee for Health Equity in Cancer Clinical Trials, which was formed in 2018. The Health Equity Initiative was formally announced in January 2020 during SU2C's annual Scientific Summit. To date, we’ve made significant progress:

Feb 15


SU2C launches first Clinical Trials PSA featuring Sonequa Martin-Green to share the importance of diverse participation in clinical trials

Jan 27


SU2C announces Health Equity Initiative

May 20


Second Clinical Trials PSA features Jaime Camil

July 16


SU2C receives grant ​​from Bristol Myers Squibb focused on improving health equity for underserved lung cancer patients

July 27


Third Clinical Trials PSA features Cedric the Entertainer

October 1


Sharp Tank Award goes to research focused on health disparities in multiple myeloma

December 17


SU2C receives grant from Exact Sciences to focus on colorectal cancer health equity research and screening education efforts

March 17


SU2C and Exact Sciences PSA features Jamie Foxx and raises awareness for colorectal cancer screening and disparities

March 23


SU2C announces Health Equity Breakthrough Team focused on increasing diversity in cancer clinical trials

August 21


SU2C announces Colorectal Cancer Health Equity Dream Team focused on increasing colorectal cancer screenings in medically underserved communities

Drag to advance the timeline


Through announcements that share our Health Equity Initiative’s progress and key programs as well as news stories that highlight the need for improved cancer health equity, SU2C is taking a leading role in initiating critical conversations and solutions to address cancer disparities.

Awareness & Education

One of the three core pillars of Stand Up To Cancer’s Health Equity Initiative is awareness and education around diversity in cancer research, treatment and prevention.

These efforts promote clinical trials as one of the ways to access the most advanced treatments and they also include information on the importance of cancer prevention via timely and consistent cancer screenings.

Science & Research

The second pillar focuses on science and research. SU2C is dedicated to funding research that is focused on screening and bringing diverse patients into the research and clinical trial process.

SU2C’s Health Equity Committee has developed high standards to solicit proposals from prospective researchers in order to increase diverse participation in cancer clinical trials. We have also funded research projects that are specific to underserved communities.



The final pillar involves advocacy and collaborations. SU2C is committed to joining forces with various advocacy organizations to ensure the communities they serve know how to get involved in cancer research, and have access to preventative screenings.

As a leading funder of cancer research, SU2C is taking tangible steps to improve health equity and setting standards that we hope others adopt to increase diverse participation in cancer clinical trials.

SU2C joined forces with HHPH to create a health literacy initiative featuring an original song and music video that raise awareness about the importance of colorectal cancer screening. The PSAs in English and Spanish, and specifically focuses on reaching Black and Hispanic Americans, who are disproportionately impacted by low colorectal cancer screening rates.

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In collaboration with the Black Women’s Health Imperative and Friends of Cancer Research, SU2C developed an advocate training program to empower Black women through education and outreach to participate in and effectively engage with researchers and clinicians to increase participation of Black women in cancer-focused clinical trials.

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SU2C Health Equity Committee (HEC)

Edith A. Perez, MD
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John D. Carpten, PhD
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Andrew T. Chan, MD, MPH
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Shawna Hudson, PhD
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Chanita Hughes Halbert, PhD
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Elizabeth Jaffee, MD
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Guillermina (Gigi) Lozano, PhD
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Raymond M. Williams, JD
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David R. Wilson, PhD
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Karen Winkfield, MD, PhD
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Robert A. Winn, MD
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John Whyte, MD, MPH
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