Cook County Health’s John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital is one of three Illinois health organizations to receive funding from the National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP).

In August, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) renewed funding for Stroger Hospital’s Minority/Underserved NCORP for $5 million over six years. Stroger is the only Minority/Underserved NCORP in Illinois. The funding will support cancer clinical trials and cancer care delivery studies.

Since 2002, the oncology program at Stroger has received over $17 million in NCI funding for clinical research.

As part of the National Institutes of Health, NCORP is comprised of seven research bases and 46 community sites, 14 of which are designated as minority/underserved community sites, including Stroger Hospital. The goal of NCORP is to increase access to clinical trials for patients who would not normally have access to them. Minority community sites are comprised of at least 30 percent racial/ethnic minorities or rural residents

Thanks to the funding, Stroger Hospital has placed more than 2,000 patients in cancer clinical trials. The majority of those patients are minorities, including 50 percent African Americans.  According to the American Cancer Society, African Americans have the highest death rate and shortest survival of any racial and ethnic group in the U.S. for most cancers.

“The way to solve the health disparity gap is to ensure that everyone has access to state-of-the-art treatment strategies and drug development,” said Dr. Thomas Lad, Chair of Hematology and Oncology at Cook County Health. “We’re motivated to put as many people as possible in trials. That is the way progress is made.”