Virtual Policy Forum to Highlight the Role of Research in Equitable Access to High-Quality Cancer Care in California

August 8, 2022

Sacramento, Calif. –  A panel of experts in cancer care and equity will participate in a panel discussion on the critical need for research that addresses tangible, impactful solutions for equitable access to high-quality cancer care in California. The free event, hosted by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), will be held online on Wednesday, August 10 from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. PDT.

Cancer impacts everyone but it does not impact everyone equally. The cancer death rate is 20% higher for individuals from the poorest counties in the country compared to wealthy counties. Blacks have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial group for most cancers.

Research is critical to understanding and reducing cancer disparities. Clinical trials are a key part of research and enable the development of better drugs and treatments for cancer. However, people of color remain underrepresented in clinical trials, which raises the possibility that the results may not be fully applicable to them.

“The American Cancer Society and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network have an ambitious goal to achieve a 40% reduction in cancer mortality in the United States by 2035.Our ability achieve this goal relies on tackling the inequities that exist in cancer care, including in research and clinical trials,” said Kay Coleman, chair of the ACS CAN California Leadership Council and state lead ambassador for ACS CAN.

The 2022 ACS CAN California Virtual Health and Equity Policy Forum will bring together experts whose work is key to address gaps in cancer prevention and care delivery, reduce cancer disparities and increase access to new cancer technologies and treatments.

Dr. John Carpten, world-renowned geneticist, cancer researcher and current chair of the National Cancer Advisory Board, will deliver a keynote speech on closing the gaps in cancer health.

Dr. Robert A. Winn, director of Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center will moderate the panel discussion. Panel members include Dr. Maria Garcia-Jimenez of UCLA, Dr. Gillian Gresham of Cedars-Sinai, Dr. Elena Martinez of UC San Diego and Gladys Arias, ACS CAN health equity policy principal.

ACS CAN California advocates for policies at all levels of government that reduce disparities in cancer care. Among these are Senate Bill 912, a legislation that would ensure comprehensive biomarker testing is covered by more insurance plans –  including Medi-Cal; and the California Cancer Care Equity Act (SB 987), which would ensure Medi-Cal enrollees who receive a complex cancer diagnosis have access to treatment at a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, where they can benefit from emerging therapies, clinical trials and specialized treatment for particular types of cancer.

For more information and to register, visit