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From left: UNC Lineberger’s Yara Abdou, MD; Dominique Higgins, MD, PhD; and Joannie Ivory, MD.

Yara Abdou, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Division of Oncology, Dominique Higgins, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurosurgery, and Joannie Ivory, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Division of Oncology, recently received career development awards from the Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials Program.

The award provides $120,000 annually for two years to advance the training of early-stage investigator physicians from diverse backgrounds and physicians who have a demonstrated commitment to increasing diversity in clinical research, enabling them to become independent clinical trial investigators who are engaged in advancing health equity through their research and mentoring. The program is supported by the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation, American Association for Cancer Research, Gilead Sciences, Inc., and Amgen, and is named in honor of Robert A. Winn, MD, director of the VCU Massey Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“Many of our most impactful medical advances are predicated on clinical trials,” said Winn, who is chair of the Winn Award Program National Advisory Committee. “It is our duty as physicians to treat clinical trials as the critical tool they are, and ensure they represent the diverse communities and backgrounds of our patients. Without that representation at the forefront, we are failing the very people we are seeking to serve. By training the next generation of clinical trialists with these commitments, we are moving one step closer to making sure all people can benefit from medical innovation.”