Welcome to the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence (OCE) Project Community webpage! Our focus is to empower patients living with cancer, survivors, advocates, and consumers. This page features news and information about OCE’s Project Community and related external outreach updates.
What is Project Community?
Project Community is a national public health initiative established by the FDA Oncology Center of Excellence to introduce the work of FDA oncologists (cancer doctors) and hematologists (blood disease specialists) to people living in communities across the nation and “beyond the beltway”.
Our primary audience includes patients living with cancer, survivors, advocates and families, especially people living in underserved or under-represented urban and rural communities who are at greater cancer risk.
Project Community’s main objectives:
- Increasing minority participation in clinical trials
- Increasing knowledge and minority participation in genetic databases
To encourage healthy people and patients seeking an opportunity to help advance cancer research, Project Community produced a 3-minute video.
What is Precision Medicine?
Project Community Chicago, IL
More than 100 Chicago-area residents attended the Project Community meeting during Black History Month organized in conjunction with PeerPlus Education and Training Associates and the University of Illinois Patient Brigade. “Community Engagement with the Community in Mind: A Conversation about the Facts, Figures, and Diversity in Oncology” was well-attended. The meeting was designed as an opportunity to educate underserved and under-represented community members about the need to increase cancer clinical trial enrollment and oncology precision medicine genomic database contributions by minority ethnic groups.
Project Community audiences will be asked to provide input to better shape OCE’s patient engagement efforts and build a more patient-centered vision for the future. Examples of Project Community’s 2019 bi-coastal external outreach include:
Project Community Oakland, CA
Leading a community-based town hall conversation entitled “The Benefits of Genetic Research” where community members were intent on capturing the information OCE oncologists/hematologists discussed. The meeting took place at the Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland, CA.
Project Community Orangeburg, SC
Participating in a community meeting collaboration with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) during a “MOVENUP Train the Trainer” cancer education session at the Williams Chapel AME Church in Orangeburg, SC.
Meet the Team
Associate Director for External Outreach and Engagement,
Oncology Center of Excellence,
US Food and Drug Administration
Rea Blakey serves as a liaison leader for patients, advocacy groups, cancer community organizations and others interested in influencing oncology-related medical product regulatory decision-making. Rea leads OCE’s Project Community external outreach and engagement initiative which encompasses all interested cancer community stakeholders as well as focusing on increasing minority and under-represented population awareness and participation in cancer clinical trials.
In conjunction with her role as AD of External Outreach and Engagement at OCE, Ms. Blakey is honored to be included as an author on “Disparities in Cancer Prevention in the COVID-19 Era” published in the American Association for Cancer Research journal Cancer Research Prevention. Since she joined the Immediate Office of the FDA OCE in July 2018, Rea’s been responsible for managing unique, far-reaching, and sometimes previously unresolved issues relating to outreach and engagement by granting stakeholders a myriad of opportunities to provide input to OCE. Ms. Blakey held a similar role as Engagement Team Lead under the FDA Center Director’s Office for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER).
Before coming to FDA, Rea’s career centered on TV dissemination of public health information. She reported on air as a CNN Medical Correspondent, hosted medical programs at Discovery Channel, and worked 13+ years as a News Anchor and Health Reporter at Washington, DC’s WJLA-TV winning two Emmy Awards. Ms. Blakey was also once the Director of Communication at GW Medical Faculty Associates in Washington, DC.
Ginneh Stowe is a Senior Regulatory Project Manager on the Oncology Program Management Team in the Oncology Center of Excellence (OCE). She works in collaboration with OCE leadership to provide essential information related to regulatory issues and medical products to external stakeholders in the oncology community. She earned her undergraduate degree from Hampton University and a Master of Science degree from Georgetown University. She is also alumni of a W.K. Kellogg Fellowship at the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School, earned a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from The George Washington University, and is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt. She has a proven record in health communication, public health, and healthcare policy and management.
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Download & Print Project Community “Cancer Q & A” Brochures:
Multiple Myeloma two-pager (349KB PDF)
Multiple Myeloma trifold brochure (3.21MB PDF)
What is Precision Oncology? (2.6MB PDF)
FDA Resources for Patients Living with Cancer and Advocates
FDA offers many online resources for patients and consumers interested in learning more about cancer clinical trials. Several informative pages are also available through the FDA Office of Minority Health and Health Equity links under Cancer.
COVID-19 Listening Sessions
The Oncology Center of Excellence recognized the opportunity to conduct unique external outreach engagements originating soon after the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. OCE reached out to oncology stakeholders with COVID-19 Guidance Listening Sessions to better understand COVID-related experiences and the pandemic’s impact on cancer patients, advocacy groups and oncology product development. The goal was two-fold: listen directly to cancer patient communities during difficult times and better inform OCE’s mission of achieving patient-centered regulatory decision-making through innovation and collaboration. OCE COVID-19 Guidance Listening Sessions occurred with 11 patient, advocacy, and community groups:
LUNGevity: April 17, 2020
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network: April 20, 2020
Fight Colorectal Cancer: April 21, 2020
Project Community Stakeholders: April 24, 2020
National Brain Tumor Society: May 1, 2020
Cancer and Aging Research Group: May 5, 2020
AACR Scientist Survivor Program: May 27, 2020
Melanoma Research Alliance: June 4, 2020
National Organization of Rare Diseases: June 6, 2020
National Breast Cancer Coalition: June 9, 2020
Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance: September 14, 2020
COVID-19 and Cancer, Health Disparities Forum
OCE’s Project Community readily participated in the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) COVID-19 and Cancer, Health Disparities Forum on July 22, 2020. The virtual panel discussion resulted in the AACR Cancer Prevention Research manuscript, “Disparities in Cancer Prevention in the COVID-19 Era”.
Link to article: Disparities in Cancer Prevention in the COVID-19 Era
Excerpt from article:
"While there is evidence for a rebound from the pandemic- driven reduction in cancer screening nationally, the return may not be even across all populations, with minority population screening that was already behind becoming further behind as a result of the community ravages from COVID-19.”
- John M. Carethers, Lead Author
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
CONVERSATIONS ON CANCER
Conversations on Cancer is a trailblazing and dynamic OCE educational panel discussion series. Riveting cancer-related social issues in the series are inclusive and diverse. 2020 brought exponential growth for OCE’s Conversations on Cancer panel discussion series. Groundbreaking at FDA, Conversations on Cancer panel discussions included first of their type program topics focused on Native American, LGBTQ+, Latinx and African American communities and cancer clinical trials in 2020. After successfully building internal audience participant numbers, Conversations on Cancer broadened its reach and is making the robust and engaging discussions open to the public through a free registration process. Informal in tone, the Conversations on Cancer discussion series was originally created by OCE Director Richard Pazdur, MD, as an opportunity for internal FDA staff and invited guests to hear from external guests. The tagline “Making Cancer Personal” still holds true and OCE is grateful to all the speaker panelists and audience members for sharing their perspectives and experiences on a wide variety of topics related to cancer.
Panel Discussion Titles And Dates:
A Dialogue with the HIV and Oncology Communities
January 7, 2020
OCE Black History Month: All Power to the Patient, Achieving Cancer Health Equity
Watch Our Black History Month video, “All Power to the Patient, Achieving Cancer Health Equity,” recorded Feb 6, 2020, at FDA’s White Oak campus.
Hats Off to Nurses
LGBTQ + OCE = A Voice in Clinical Trials and Cancer Drug Development
Living with Cancer While Black, Clinical Trial Barriers
Latino Community: Achieving Equity in Cancer Clinical Trials
Building Connections Toward Native American Clinical Trial Participation
Lung Cancer: It Can Happen to Anyone
Does Your Community Organization Work with Cancer Researchers?
Certain groups working in cancer health equity and special populations are encouraged to explore OCE Scientific Interest Areas in the FDA Broad Agency Announcement . They include, but aren’t limited to:
- Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU),
- Minority Institutions (MI),
- Small Business concerns,
- Small Disadvantaged Business concerns,
- Women-Owned Small Business concerns,
- Veteran-Owned Small Business concerns,
- Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business concerns,
- and HUB Zone Small Business concerns
If your cancer research organization is interested, see OCE’s Scientific Collaborative opportunities.
- FDA Oncology Center of Excellence
- FDA Resources for Patients With Cancer
- About FDA Patient Engagement
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