CarolinaEast Medical Center hosts Southeast Clinical Oncology Research Consortium

Karen Winkfield, MD, Ph.D., Executive Director, Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, and Dr. Seth Miller, Radiation Oncologist, Director of Clinical Research, and Chief of Staff at CarolinaEast Medical Center attend the annual 2023 SCOR Conference hosted by CarolinaEast.

CarolinaEast Medical Center recently hosted the annual conference for the Southeast Clinical Oncology Research Consortium. SCOR is a group of community physicians composed of Medical Oncologists, Surgeons and Radiation Oncologists located in the southeastern United States. For their first in-person conference since COVID-19 shutdown gatherings in 2020, many members of the consortium were enthusiastic to meet in the CarolinaEast Medical Center Auditorium on March 9th and 10th

Although cancer clinical trials are traditionally conducted at larger academic medical centers, most people receive cancer-related care in community settings. For many cancer patients, getting to those centers can be a challenge because they are facing transportation, childcare, work, or financial barriers that limit time and travel. To eliminate these barriers and provide fair, local access to clinical trials, local Medical and Radiation Oncologists at the SECU Comprehensive Cancer Center at CarolinaEast Medical Center became members of the Southeast Clinical Oncology Research Consortium in 2017.

“To say that rural communities and rural healthcare facilities have very limited resources is an understatement. CarolinaEast has a unique opportunity to be a part of SCOR, which provides our patients with National Cancer Institute clinical research trials,” said Shannon Enderle, MBA, Director, Cancer Center. “This year CarolinaEast was excited to host the 2023 SCOR Annual Conference. It brought clinical research investigators and research staff from six states in the southeast to New Bern. The amount of talent that spoke was unparalleled and reinforces to our community that CarolinaEast is committed to bringing and sustaining the best healthcare.” 

This year’s annual conference welcomed NCORP Director, Dr. Worta McCaskill-Stevens, M.D., M.S., a medical oncologist and Chief of the Community Oncology and Prevention Trials Research Group, which houses the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP). Other speakers included leading NCI researchers focusing on important topics like Equitable Access to Clinical Trials, Success in Reaching Minorities for Clinical Trial Participation, Surgical Involvement in Clinical Trials, and Small Cell Lung Cancer Treatment Strategies. 

Being a member of SCOR makes the SECU Comprehensive Cancer Center at CarolinaEast Medical Center a part of a national network that brings cancer clinical trials and cancer care delivery studies to people in their communities. SCOR helps facilitate the connection between community oncology physicians and surgeons, patients, and the clinical trials patients seek, thereby allowing SCOR members to provide state-of-the-art and innovative cancer treatment to patients in need.

 “Clinical research advances our knowledge in an ongoing and continuous way while affording patients additional close-to-home treatment options. Each of our physicians have committed to this as a really important part of how we take care of cancer patients in New Bern and the surrounding community,” said Dr. Seth Miller, Radiation Oncologist, Director of Clinical Research, and Chief of Staff at CarolinaEast Medical Center. “Our incredible research staff and the support of our health system is crucial to our ability to offer clinical trials at CarolinaEast, as well as the opportunity to host this SCOR conference that I hope inspired others as it did me.” 

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By Brandy Popp