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Peer Clinical Trials Support Program

A free, over-the-phone service that helps Black or African American (AA) cancer patients learn more about clinical trials.

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The Peer Clinical Trials Support Program matches interested patients with a peer — a Black or African American cancer patient or survivor with experience participating in a cancer clinical trial. Patients have the opportunity to discuss their fears, questions, and concerns with a knowledgeable and empathetic guide, and hear from someone of a similar background who has “been there, done that.”

Is Peer Support right for you?

If you are a Black or African American cancer patient or someone at a higher risk for a cancer diagnosis and want one-on-one support to ask questions, talk about your concerns, or simply learn more about clinical trials from a peer, this program is for you. Our trained Peer Specialists can share their experiences with cancer clinical trials, provide information, and offer confidential support. Please note that Peer Specialists do not give medical advice or enroll you in a clinical trial.


What are the requirements to participate?

To participate in this program, you must:

  • Identify as Black or African American
  • Be a cancer patient or someone with an increased risk of a cancer diagnosis due to family history (previvor)
  • Be at least 18 years or older
  • Speak English as a primary language


What can I expect?

During this program, you and your Peer Specialist will have 2 opportunities to speak together by phone. Phone calls are anticipated to be about 15 days apart and are offered at no cost to you. You can decide what to discuss about clinical trials with your Peer Specialist. You can expect to have a conversation tailored to your needs, hear about your Peer Specialist’s experience with clinical trials, and receive resources customized to you.


Is there compensation?

Participants who complete both phone calls and a satisfaction survey will receive a Visa gift card by email or mail.


How do I join?

Call us at 888-292-5162 or complete a short application using the link below. Either way, a team member will reach out to you to confirm your eligibility and match you with a Peer Specialist.


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If I don’t qualify for this program, how can I learn more about clinical trials?

If you don’t qualify for this program, there are many other ways to get support. We encourage you to contact our Cancer Support Community Helpline. Our navigators can assist you with any of your questions or concerns. You can also ask to set up a consultation with the Helpline’s Clinical Trials Specialist.

Call the Helpline at 888-793-9355 or connect with a navigator via our web chat service.

About This Program

The Peer Clinical Trials Support Program provides Black and African American cancer patients and those at higher risk for a cancer diagnosis the opportunity to learn more about clinical trials and discuss their questions or concerns with someone of a similar background who has experience participating in a cancer clinical trial.

During this program, patients and Peer Specialists have 2 phone calls together, offered at no cost. The discussion is confidential and is tailored to the unique needs of each person. Peer Specialists do not provide medical advice and do not enroll participants in clinical trials.

Talking to a peer — someone like you and who has had an experience similar to yours — is proven to help people increase their knowledge about their disease and situation, improve patient-provider communication and care navigation, and increase a person’s social supports. 

This Peer Clinical Trials Support Program hopes to increase knowledge and awareness of clinical trials, break down barriers, and empower patients to ask questions and become engaged in their cancer journey. 

This program is part of a research project by the Cancer Support Community that is designed to determine the effectiveness of a peer support program in improving knowledge, perceptions, and enrollment in clinical trials among Black and African American cancer patients. This project was approved and is being monitored by WCG IRB. 

What Is the Mission of the Peer Clinical Trials Support Program?

At the Cancer Support Community, we believe everyone should have the opportunity to live safe and healthy lives — and be supported in their fight against cancer. Access to clinical trials is one way of ensuring that everyone can benefit from the high-quality care and clinical advances that participating in a clinical trial provides. 


Why focus on the Black community?

Differences in cancer care are found everywhere from incidence (new cases) and mortality (death) rates to access and quality of treatment. These differences are often seen in the Black and African American community. For example:

  • African Americans have higher death rates than all other racial/ethnic groups for many, although not all, cancer types.
  • Despite having similar rates of breast cancer, Black women are more likely than White women to die of the disease.
  • Black men are twice as likely as White men to die of prostate cancer.


Why focus on clinical trials?

Cancer clinical trials are extremely important to evaluate cancer treatments for their safety, usefulness, and impact on a patient’s quality of life. If all groups are not represented in clinical trials, they will not have the chance to benefit equally from possibly life-saving treatments.

Current research shows that:

  • Fewer than 1 in 20 adult cancer patients enroll in cancer clinical trials.
  • Of this small number, only 5% of those who participate are Black. 
  • Black patients are less likely to be told about or offered a clinical trial as a treatment option compared to other groups. 
  • One of the reasons cancer health disparities continue to exist is due to underrepresentation of racial and ethnic minorities in medical research.

About Peer Support

Peer support is a way people can offer help and encourage change in others. Peer support is the “process of giving and receiving encouragement and assistance” and is based on the belief that people who have faced, endured, and overcome adversity can offer useful support, encouragement, hope, and mentorship to others facing similar situations.

Peer support is not a new idea. It is natural for us to seek out others who have been on a similar journey and intimately understand us. Peer support is not a new concept in healthcare either. Peer support programs have been proven to help people across health conditions in:

  • The early detection and prevention of chronic diseases
  • Addressing knowledge gaps about health topics
  • Accessing care and improving care navigation
  • Improving a person’s understanding about their health and situation
  • Improving social supports
  • Increasing a sense of control and ability to bring about change

Research shows that participants who receive peer support services report more positive relationships with their providers, feel a sense of hope about their health situation, and report overall increases in their quality of life.

Peer support programs come from a place of equality, empathy, and non-judgment.  They seek to empower patients to become active participants in their healthcare journey.


What is a Peer Specialist?

A Peer Specialist is someone who uses their unique lived experience to provide support focused on education, encouragement, and self-empowerment to others. In the Peer Clinical Trials Support Program, Peer Specialists use their own experience as a Black or African American cancer patient or survivor and cancer clinical trial participant to support others. Peer Specialists offer confidential emotional, practical, and informational support to program participants.

Become a Peer Specialist

Peer Specialists are an essential part of this program. They play an important role in supporting members of their community by sharing their experience and ensuring participants have the knowledge and skills to make informed decisions about their care.

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Peer Specialists are professionally trained to support participants by: 

  • Sharing their personal experience of cancer and cancer clinical trials.
  • Providing education and resources on cancer clinical trials.
  • Empowering participants to have a voice and make informed, educated decisions about their treatment.
  • Encouraging patients to explore options instead of telling them what to do.

To become a Peer Specialist, you must:

  • Identify as Black or African American
  • Be a cancer patient or cancer survivor 
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have experience participating in a cancer clinical trial (past or present)

Qualifications for this role include good listening and communication skills and the ability to share your personal experience. Peer Specialists must be legally authorized to work in the United States and have access to a reliable computer and internet connection. Peer Specialists will be offered compensation for their time.

The Peer Clinical Trials Support Program is not currently hiring for this position; however, we are happy to keep your application on file for future consideration. If you are interested in becoming a Peer Specialist, please be sure to review the information about the role to see if you would be a good fit. Then use the link below to submit your application.

Apply to become a Peer Specialist


Contact Kara Downey, CSC’s Director of Clinical Services, to learn more about our Peer Clinical Trials Support Program.

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