Alleviating Disparities in Clinical Trials

Patient Advocate Foundation has partnered with Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois and 12 additional organizations to launch the #BeAGift campaign; a new initiative designed to remove the stigma from clinical trials.

HAMPTON, Va., Sept. 15, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Clinical trials are often associated with the "guinea pig" mentality, especially among the elderly, racial and ethnic minorities, women, those living in rural areas, and persons with low socioeconomic status. In partnership with Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois (SCDAI) and other organizations, Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF), a national nonprofit dedicated to helping underserved populations overcome healthcare barriers, is pleased to announce the launch of the #BeAGift campaign during The Importance of Diversity in Clinical Trials: A Briefing for the Chicago Community, event hosted in Chicago, Illinois.

The #BeAGift campaign focuses on the "gift" anyone involved in a clinical trial gives. From researchers using their "gift" to investigate potential cures to patients whose "gift" is participation in clinical trials to advance innovation, #BeAGift will focus on vulnerable communities whose misconceptions about clinical trials are common and whose need for participation in clinical trials are higher.

"We want to evolve the narrative around clinical trials especially among those whom we think could benefit the most," Shonta Chambers, EVP of Health Equity Initiatives and Programs says. The #BeAGift campaign works to close the gap in clinical trial health disparities through social media initiatives on Twitter and Facebook. "By addressing and subsequently shifting the negative connotations associated with clinical trials among minority and undeserved populations, we can incorporate more diversity so clinical trials are more representative of all communities regardless of circumstance," Chambers continues.

The #BeAGift campaign is just one of Patient Advocate Foundation's initiatives to combat health disparities and educate underserved populations about clinical trials. "Lighting the Way: A Practical Guide to Clinical Trials" is a complimentary publication outlining facts and common misconceptions about clinical trials and is available for download along with other PAF patient advocacy tools at In addition, PAF offers a free interactive webcast covering the ins and outs of clinical trials as part of their Patient Empowerment Series, an online program providing patients with the resources and tools they need to self-advocate. To view PAF's "Clinical Trials: A Pathway to Cutting Edge Treatments" webcast on-demand, along with other webcasts in the series, visit

Patient Advocate Foundation is also proud to support Project Innovation, a national movement designed to accelerate the pace of medical discovery in cancer, using the support of clinical trials regardless of background. Project Innovation is supported by PAF's sister organization, National Patient Advocate Foundation.

Other partners supporting the #BeAGift campaign include UI Health: Cancer Center, The University of Chicago Medicine: Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics and Global Health, Loretto Hospital, Northwestern Medicine, Healthware, Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago Cancer Health Equity Collaborative, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, B1G: Cancer Research Consortium, Susan G Komen: Chicago Illinois, African Ancestry, CHI: Center for Healthcare Innovation, and Pfizer Field African American Network (PFAAN).

The #BeAGift campaign will launch in September recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month and Sickle Cell Awareness Month, continue through February during Black History Month, and finish at the end of April during National Minority Health Month.

To be a part of the LIVE Facebook event celebrating the launch of #BeAGift campaign, join us Wednesday, September 21, 2016 at The Chicago Urban League on 4510 South Michigan Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60653 beginning at 3:00 PM. For more information, or to register online, visit Registration on site begins at 2:30 PM.

About Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF): Established in 1996, Patient Advocate Foundation assists patients who have been diagnosed with serious illness overcome healthcare access barriers. PAF provides in-depth sustained assistance through personalized case management, financial support, and connection to critical community resources, all at no cost to the patient or their caregiver. For more information about Patient Advocate Foundation and its mission to improve health access to all patients, visit or call (800) 532-5274.


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