Skip to main content
Headshot of Jen Jen Yeh
UNC Lineberger’s Jen Jen Yeh, MD

UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center is pleased to announce that the Lustgarten Foundation has awarded its inaugural Lustgarten Equity, Accessibility, and Diversity (LEAD) Project grant to Jen Jen Yeh, MD, in support of her PROmoting CLinicAl TrIal EngageMent for Pancreatic Cancer App Study (PROCLAIM Study).

The PROCLAIM Study, to be conducted in partnership with Ugwuji Maduekwe, MD, MMSc, MPH, Associate Professor at Medical College of Wisconsin, will focus on breaking down the barriers to diverse clinical trial population recruitment, which commonly include racial bias, distrust, poor communication, and culturally discordant clinical trial materials.

Yeh and Maduekwe, based on work by Marjory Charlot, MD, MPH, MMSc, will employ a mobile health technology initiative as an educational and communication tool to foster open discussion between Black patients with pancreatic cancer and their care teams with the aim of increasing clinical trial participation and improving outcomes of an historically underserved patient population. Charlot’s recent ACCURE trial and subsequent research into the disparities in treatment between white and Black patients with cancer shed light on the barriers to timely treatment faced by historically marginalized patients and identified crucial interventions to eliminate such inequities.

Headshot of Ugwuji Maduekwe
Ugwuji Maduekwe MD, MMSc, MPH

“We will be collaborating with key Black community stakeholders to view community- and culturally-specific barriers through their lenses and learn how to address these barriers with effective interventions. Dr. Charlot’s studies and their significant findings inspired our project. Thanks to Lustgarten’s generous support, we hope to contribute to Dr. Charlot’s progress and help ensure that historically marginalized groups are fairly represented in pancreatic cancer clinical trials, better informed about care options, and more effectively served by their providers,” said Yeh, professor of surgery and pharmacology at the UNC School of Medicine and director of the UNC Lineberger Pancreatic Cancer Center of Excellence.

The LEAD Project grant will provide $150,000 per year for three consecutive years. Asked about the vision for the LEAD Project, Lustgarten Foundation CEO Linda Tantawi said, “We believe community is power, and research is fundamental to transforming pancreatic cancer into a curable disease. Jen Jen and Ugwuji’s PROCLAIM study embodies the LEAD Project’s mission to bridge the gap to equitable pancreatic cancer healthcare for all.”

About the Lustgarten Foundation
The Lustgarten Foundation is the largest private funder of pancreatic cancer research in the world. Based in Woodbury, N.Y., the Foundation’s mission is to cure pancreatic cancer by funding scientific and clinical research related to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of pancreatic cancer; providing research information and clinical support services to patients, caregivers, and individuals at high risk; and increasing public awareness and hope for those dealing with this disease. Since its inception, the Lustgarten Foundation has directed nearly $225 million to research and has assembled the best scientific minds with the hope that one day, a cure can be found. Thanks to separate funding to support administrative expenses, 100% of your donation goes directly to pancreatic cancer research. For more information, visit

—Tyler Rice, UNC Lineberger Pancreatic Cancer Center of Excellence