Sept. 21, 2016:

Studies show that patients with low income, the elderly, racial and ethnic minorities, women and those who live in rural areas represent the smallest percentage of clinical trial participants. Unfortunately, these groups also represent a disproportionate burden of disease. A diverse coalition of health care partners today announce the #BeAGift campaign aimed at changing perceptions of and encourage participation in clinical trials across the region and nationwide.

Results of clinical trials must be applied to all populations; therefore, populations with diverse backgrounds, racial and ethnic groups, ages, and regional diversity are required for participation. The #BeAGift public awareness campaign will launch at a live Facebook event at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 21, and continue on social media through April 2017. Partners will raise awareness to help educate patients and their families on the value of participating in clinical trials.

Marking the significance of the new campaign, the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium is pledging to actively work toward clinical trial development and participation that “reflects the demographics of disease, thereby providing a more accurate reflection of the response of unique subgroups to interventions and therapies.”

Studies show that African Americans make up more than 13 percent of the U.S. population, but only 5 percent of clinical trial participation. Hispanics comprise 17 percent of the U.S. population, and only 7.6 percent of clinical trial participation. The #BeAGift campaign aims to break down misperceptions around clinical trials and help patients see their participation as a gift to others battling the same disease.

Campaign partners include: the University of Illinois Cancer Center, the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium, Susan G. Komen Chicagoland, the University of Chicago Medicine Center for Clinical Cancer Genetics and Global Health, 4D Healthware, Pfizer Field African American Network,, Chicago Cancer Health Equity Collaborative, Northeastern Illinois University, Loretto Hospital, Center for Healthcare Innovation, Patient Advocate Foundation, and the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois.

To learn more, visit and follow the launch event on Facebook. Join the Twitter conversation at

About the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium: The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium was created in 2013 to transform the conduct of cancer research through collaborative, hypothesis-driven, highly translational oncology trials that leverage the scientific and clinical expertise of Big Ten universities. The goal of the Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium is to create a unique team-research culture to drive science rapidly from ideas to new approaches to cancer treatment. Within this innovative environment, today’s research leaders collaborate with and mentor the research leaders of tomorrow with the unified goal of improving the lives of all patients with cancer.

About the Big Ten Conference: The Big Ten Conference is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in the lives of students competing in intercollegiate athletics and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. The broad-based programs of the 14 Big Ten institutions will provide over $200 million in direct financial support to almost 9,500 students for more than 11,000 participation opportunities on 350 teams in 42 different sports. The Big Ten sponsors 28 official conference sports, 14 for men and 14 for women, including the addition of men’s ice hockey and men’s and women’s lacrosse since 2013. For more information, visit