University of Hawaii Secures $8M NCI Grant for Minority Clinical Trial Participation

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The national push for minority and underrepresented participants in clinical trials intensifies. The latest program occurs at the University of Hawaii where the National Cancer Institute has awarded $8 million in a six-year grant to support the diversification of clinical trial participation—with a focus on minority, rural and underserved patient populations.

The residents of Hawaii should have access to the most advanced clinical research the nation has to offer. Hawaii, a great state, represents possibly the most diversified in the country.

A Beautiful and Diverse State

Hawaii is truly a special place. Situated in Polynesia, this state represents the most diverse in the country. With nearly 1.5 million people the islands include Asian (37.3%), White (26.7%), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (9.9%), Latino (8.8%), Black (2.6%) and other/mixed (14.7%).

Moreover, within each demographic group many sub-ethnic and cultural groups can be found. For example, Asians in Hawaii, the dominant group, include a vast array of different ethnicities and cultures. It should be noted that Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and Asians represent a small fraction of patients participating in clinical trials. With the move often to gene and cell therapy, precision therapeutics there is a great need for diversification in studies.


TrialSite News has written about the power of the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP)which funds cancer research in the community—truly supporting the clinical research as a care option. The University of Hawaii Cancer Center is one of only 14 designated Minority/Underserved Community Sites where the patient population is comprised of at least 30% racial/ethnic minorities or rural residents. The center has been a member of the program (and its earlier version, called the Minority-Based Community Clinical Oncology Platform) since 1994. UH is on a mission to improve cancer care delivery.

Clinical Trial Site Network in Hawaii

The program’s clinical trial include network includes Hawaii Pacific Health, Queen’s Health System, Kuakini Medical Center, Tripler Army Medical Center and private practice oncology physician offices.

Expanding the Pacific to Micronesia

In January 2019 the UH Cancer Center expanded its geographic cancer coverage with NCI approval to the Family Health Plan Health Center in Guam.

Lead Research/Investigator

Jeffrey Berenberg, a UH Cancer Center Professor and Principal Investigator

Jared Acoba, NCORP Minority/Underserved Community Site Principal Investigator

Randall Holcomb, UH Cancer Center Director, NCORP Principal Investigator

Call to Action: Are you interested in participating in a clinical trial at UH? Contact the investigators above. Would you like to use TrialSite News health broker services? Contact us.