In further statements from professional oncology organizations about inequities and disparities among racial and ethnic minorities and underserved populations, as well as racism and discrimination, the Association of American Cancer Institutes (AACI) issued the following statement:
The AACI condemns racism and discrimination. We firmly believe that these intertwined issues must be confronted with a sense of urgency— just as we address cancer and other crises that impact public health. The senseless and violent deaths of George Floyd and countless other African Americans sadden and anger AACI’s Board of Directors, staff, and cancer center leaders.
As an association comprising 100 academic and freestanding cancer centers across the United States and in Canada, AACI is dedicated to reducing the burden of cancer through research, treatment, and advocacy—and diversity and inclusion are key to fulfilling our mission. In our role as advocates, it is our duty to seek ways to improve health outcomes for all people. Recognizing that the burden of cancer falls disproportionately on communities of color—particularly black communities—AACI is committed to promoting health equity.
Earlier this year, AACI called upon U.S. presidential candidates to build on decades of progress against cancer by increasing access to comprehensive health care and addressing health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities. At our annual conferences, AACI continues to highlight the work of minority researchers and provide sessions on community outreach and engagement and recruiting diverse populations to clinical trials. Moving forward, AACI aims to foster mentor relationships within and across cancer centers to ensure that individuals in leadership roles represent the diverse makeup of our country. But there is still work to do. We can do better. We must do better. We stand in solidarity with others in the cancer community—as well as citizens across the United States and throughout the world—who are working to confront health disparities caused by systemic racial discrimination and all forms of injustice.