Fox Chase Cancer Center Researcher Receives Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials Career Development Award

Dr. Shulman
Rebecca Shulman, MD, was recently recognized with the Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials Career Development Award.

PHILADELPHIA (October 20, 2023) — Rebecca Shulman, MD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center, was recently recognized with the Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials Career Development Award.

The award was created to increase the diversity of patients enrolled in clinical trials, as well as contribute to the development of new treatments. The two-year $240,000 grant is given to support promising investigators and help them initiate and conduct clinical trials that support the recruitment of underrepresented patients.

“This award provides the kind of affirmation that is essential when you’re beginning to do your own research,” said Shulman, who began her tenure at Fox Chase in August. “It’s very encouraging to me that the work I’ve been doing on diversity issues since medical school is supported by distinguished figures in oncology.”

To be selected for this award, applicants must be a young clinical researcher whose previous work demonstrates that they share the social and educational goals of the Winn program. Applicants must provide a fully developed research proposal and a detailed mentorship plan in partnership with a senior investigator from their institution.

With this award, Shulman will be focusing on clinical trials and improving recruitment and retention to the De-Escalation of Breast Radiation (DEBRA) trial, a multicenter phase 3 clinical trial that seeks to determine if low-risk, early stage breast cancer can be treated without radiation. Shulman will serve as the principal investigator for the arm of the study taking place at Fox Chase.

Additionally, with the mentorship of Martin Edelman, MD, Deputy Cancer Center Director for Clinical Research, and Linda Fleisher, PhD, MPH, FSBM, Research Professor for Health Communications and Disparities at Fox Chase, Shulman will partner with the Accelerating and Diversifying Access to Clinical Trials (ADACT) program.

ADACT was developed by Edelman and Fleisher with a $550,000 grant from Stand Up To Cancer and matching funds from Temple Health. Its multidisciplinary teams work to remove barriers to phase 1 and phase 2 cancer clinical trial participation, specifically for those in underserved populations.

“I also expect to supplement my duties as the principal investigator of DEBRA with my simultaneous role assisting in the cultural adaptation of educational tools and other study related materials for Spanish-speaking patients,” said Shulman.

Her research at Fox Chase focuses on improving approaches to breast cancer therapy and has included studies of the effect of BRCA1 mutations on tumor radiosensitivity and the use of novel combinations of immunotherapy and radiotherapy in animal models.

“Being honored with the Robert Winn Award is especially welcome as I take on the responsibilities of a new role and work out my future path in a challenging discipline that I love,” said Shulman.

Fox Chase Cancer Center (Fox Chase), which includes the Institute for Cancer Research and the American Oncologic Hospital and is a part of Temple Health, is one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase is also one of just 10 members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence six consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.

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