Cancer Support Community’s New Short Documentary Film Named Official Selection at CINEHEALTH International Health and Wellness Film and Video Festival


How Does a Clinical Trial Benefit ME? Strives to Advance Health Equity by Exploring Medical Mistrust in the Black Community and Present-day Benefits of Clinical Trials

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 30, 2023 — The Cancer Support Community (CSC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to uplifting and strengthening all people impacted by cancer by providing support, fostering compassionate communities, and breaking down barriers to care, is pleased to announce that its short documentary film How Does a Clinical Trial Benefit ME? has been named an Official Selection of the inaugural CINEHEALTH International Health and Wellness Film and Video Festival (CINEHEALTH). Hailed by Academy Award-nominated and Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentarian Barak Goodman as “moving and persuasive,” the film is the first in CSC’s film series Justified Medical Mistrust: Acknowledging the Past to Change the Future.

The six-part short documentary film series explores historical and current injustices, and provides education about cancer clinical trials, the personal benefits of participation, effective community-based approaches, and strategies for achieving inclusive, quality cancer care, which includes access to clinical trials. Viewers hear the perspectives of patients, healthcare professionals, and leaders who are people from communities of color.

How Does a Clinical Trial Benefit ME? highlights historical human rights violations and features a compelling discussion about the ways clinical trial participation can benefit both the patient and the community. The film features experiences and insights from two patients who are also past clinical trial participants, Lisa Dutton and Dr. Alexea Gaffney, and oncology professionals Dr. Craig Cole (hematologist and Director of Clinical Research in Hematology/Oncology and Multiple Myeloma at the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine at Karmanos Cancer Center) and Dr. Monique Gary (breast surgical oncologist and medical director of the Grand View Health/Penn Cancer Network cancer program).

How Does a Clinical Trial Benefit ME? was made possible thanks to funding by GSK, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, and Pfizer.

Racial disparities in health and healthcare have been longstanding and persistent in the United States. Cancer disparities occur because of a host of factors including systemic racism and lack of trust in the healthcare system. The inability to eliminate cancer disparities has also been attributed, in part, to the underrepresentation of people of color in clinical research.

Through its research, CSC has made large strides in understanding participation in clinical trials for all patients and cancer types. After controlling for income, a quantitative survey study of over 3,000 cancer patients and survivors indicated that, compared to White participants, participants of other races and ethnicities reported lower knowledge of clinical trials, greater mistrust of medical institutions, and perceived lower understanding of clinical trials. “These findings provide a critical foundation for understanding the unique concerns among cancer survivors in communities of color and how these barriers can be overcome with innovative new approaches that increase trust and knowledge related to cancer clinical trial participation,” said Debbie Weir, CSC’s CEO.

Numerous programs have been developed to increase participation in clinical trials among communities of color, yet no significant increase in enrollment has been widely achieved. “We believe this has occurred because efforts do not adequately recognize and address the legacy of medical mistreatment and present-day experiences of bias and discrimination in healthcare,” said Audrey Davis, CSC’s Senior Director, Health Equity. “In addition, the healthcare system frequently blames Black and African American patients for their own underrepresentation in cancer clinical trials, instead of recognizing that these patients might actually be willing to participate if they were offered, had enough information to make an informed decision, and were respected with cultural humility by their healthcare teams. These concerns must be addressed and concrete efforts toward gaining and retaining trust made in order to see an increase in clinical trial participation and health equity advancement overall.”

The second video in the series, Righting the Wrongs: What is the Medical Community Doing Within Communities of Color to Gain Trust?, is currently in production. It’s slated for a fall 2023 release.

Justified Medical Mistrust is just one project CSC is undertaking that provides education and trusted information to help Black and African American cancer patients decide if participating in a clinical trial is right for them. Another is the Peer Clinical Trials Support Program, which CSC launched last year. The program pairs Black and African American cancer patients with Peer Specialists, specially trained Black or African American cancer patients or survivors who have participated in a clinical trial.

CINEHEALTH is the first and only international film festival focusing exclusively on health and wellness. It is taking place on September 12, 2023 in Philadelphia and will be hosted by Digital Pharma East in partnership with Digital Health Networks. The live festival will be followed by a virtual segment at Digital Health Networks (

To stream How Does a Clinical Trial Benefit ME? go to:

For more information about Cancer Support Community’s health equity initiatives, including the Justified Medical Mistrust short documentary series and the Peer Clinical Trials Support Program, go to CSC’s Health Equity in Action page:

For more information about CINEHEALTH:

About the Cancer Support Community

The Cancer Support Community is a global nonprofit that uplifts and strengthens people impacted by cancer. We are dedicated to fostering a community where people find connection, compassion, and knowledge. We provide professionally led support and navigation services, along with social connections and award-winning education — when, where and how impacted individuals prefer throughout their cancer experience. These resources are available at 190 Cancer Support Community, Gilda’s Club, and healthcare partner locations as well as online and over the phone — all at no cost. We amplify the voices of those impacted by cancer through research and advocacy and create solutions that break down barriers to care and close the healthcare gap for communities whose members are disproportionately affected by cancer.

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