Newswise — In a formal statement today, the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) condemned racism, discrimination, and gun violence, urging that these issues be confronted as public health crises.
Prompted by last week’s mass shooting in Atlanta, which targeted Asian-American women and killed eight people, AACI expressed its solidarity with others in the cancer community—as well as with citizens and groups across the United States and throughout the world—who are working to confront systemic racism and all forms of injustice.
AACI is committed to promoting health equity, diversity, and inclusion within North America’s leading cancer centers and in our communities. In the statement, the association highlighted the responsibility of its Board of Directors, staff, and cancer center leaders to improve health outcomes for all people — not just as they relate to cancer, but in all facets of public health.
As a membership organization comprised of 102 leading academic and freestanding cancer centers in the U.S. and Canada, AACI provides a unifying platform for its members to engage in meaningful advocacy activities, advance public policy, and encourage collaboration.
AACI previously issued a statement condemning the violence perpetrated by police that resulted in the deaths of numerous Black victims.
The association aims to foster relationships that promote diversity in the oncology leadership pipeline. At its annual conferences, AACI highlights the work of minority researchers and provides sessions on community outreach and engagement and recruiting diverse populations to clinical trials. And last year, AACI called upon U.S. presidential candidates to build on decades of progress against cancer by increasing access to comprehensive health care among communities of color.
AACI President Karen E. Knudsen, MBA, PhD, is focusing her presidential initiative on mitigating cancer health disparities. She aims to convert understanding of health disparities across AACI cancer centers into meaningful, measurable actions to improve the lives of patients with cancer. As part of the initiative, Dr. Knudsen recently launched a podcast, Accelerating Equity: Cancer Care for All.
“The presidential initiative to reduce cancer disparities is just one strategy AACI is implementing to increase the pace of positive change,” said Dr. Knudsen, enterprise director of Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center and executive vice president of oncology at Jefferson Health in Philadelphia. “To promote equity in cancer research and care, it is essential to understand the underlying causes of cancer health disparities, including systemic and interpersonal racism. There is still a great deal of work to do.”
AACI is dedicated to accelerating progress against cancer by enhancing the impact of North America’s leading academic cancer centers. For more information, please visit aaci-cancer.org.