The Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials Award Program is the new name for the $100 million, five-year effort begun in 2020 by the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation (BMSF) and its partners, National Medical Fellowships (NMF) and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). Gilead Sciences, Inc., a new programme partner, has pledged $14 million over the next four years to the programme.
“We are proud and overjoyed that Dr. Winn has agreed to put his name on this program. He has been a tireless advocate for the goal of this program enabling people of color and underserved populations to benefit more from clinical research. Throughout his distinguished career, he has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to community-engaged research focused on eliminating health inequities. It is largely due to his leadership, expertise, and passion that the program became a reality,”said John Damonti, president, Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation.
The initiative was named in honor of Robert A. Winn, M.D., Director, Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, as part of the BMSF and its donor Bristol Myers Squibb’s commitment to health justice, diversity, and inclusion in 2020. Winn is the first African-American head of an NCI-designated cancer center and has received multiple honors and awards, including the NCI Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences Program Lifetime Achievement Award. Winn’s leadership was crucial in creating the BMSF Diversity in Clinical Trials Career Development Program as Chair of the National Advisory Committee from the program’s inception.
“I am honored to be such a small part of a big program that will have tremendous impact for years to come,”said Winn.
“We congratulate Dr. Winn on this richly deserved honor. The AACR and the cancer research community as a whole have benefited greatly from his leadership on issues of diversity, equity, and community engagement. His innovative efforts are helping to transform cancer research into a more inclusive field of investigation that supports minority scientists and physicians and understands the urgency of addressing the disparities that have impacted underserved communities for far too long. It is fitting to name this exciting, impactful program after him, and we were pleased to celebrate him and our partnership with BMSF and NMF yesterday at the AACR Annual Meeting Opening Ceremony in New Orleans,”said Margaret Foti, PhD, MD (hc), chief executive officer of the AACR.