WVOCA Donates Additional Funds to the NRG Oncology Health Equity Fellowship Program

April 12 2023

The West Valley Ovarian Cancer Alliance (WVOCA) recently pledged to donate $25,000 to NRG Oncology to be split between the NRG Health Equity Fellowship Program and to start a fund for an early career, underrepresented minority researcher specifically focused on ovarian cancer. This generous $25,000 donation is delivered on top of WVOCA’s $38,000 donation for the NRG Health Equity Fellowship in April 2022.

WVOCA is a charitable organization consisting of volunteers, survivors, caretakers, and community leaders who are dedicated to increasing and elevating ovarian cancer awareness and survivorship. The organization raises funds for research and offers resources for patients affected by ovarian cancer.

“The members of the West Valley Ovarian Cancer Alliance in Sun City, Arizona have chosen to continue supporting the NRG Oncology Health Equity program with proceeds from our annual golf fundraiser. With 50+ years survivorship between three members of our five-member board, we believe supporting early career, underrepresented investigators is crucial to continue the legacy of NRG Oncology.” stated Laurel Pracht, the Board Chair of WVOCA, on behalf of their contribution.

Proceeds from WVOCA’s donation will greatly impact the NRG Health Equity Fellowship Program which was created to combat the ongoing increase in the financial and time burden placed on new, upcoming investigators’ ability to participate in clinical research studies and the limited-time and capacity of seasoned physicians to mentor and engage younger investigators into their respective pathways. Additionally, the Program aims to bridge the disparities gap of underrepresented researchers involved in cooperative group trials. The Program aims to provide training opportunities for early-stage minority investigators within the NRG Oncology membership structure by providing a mentorship experience with emphasis on the recruitment of researchers from underrepresented groups. Mentorship will be provided over a two-year period and will result in participating in the development of a new research protocol within NRG Oncology.

““The patient advocates are important voices in our organization to prioritize our mission. The ovarian cancer survivors of West Valley ask that we recruit an underrepresented minority investigator to help NRG overcome the disparity in genetic testing and cascading these results into families. These efforts will improve ovarian cancer prevention efforts to direct mutation carriers toward risk reducing bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy and mastectomy to prevent them from having cancer. Clinical trial development and managing it through the NCI process is part of the training of our Health Equity Mentorship program. We are grateful to our donors and their advocacy efforts,” added Joan Walker, MD, of the University of Oklahoma Stephenson Cancer Center, Co-Principal Investigator of the NRG Oncology National Cancer Institute (NCI) National Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) grant, and founder of the NRG Health Equity Fellowship Program.

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