ASSETS Series South Cook County

Building Trustworthiness in Clinical Research

This FREE interactive event focuses on building trustworthiness in clinical research. We will focus on successful examples of powerful structural solutions to diverse clinical trials, including decentralization of trials across networks and trial implementation in Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), safety-net facilities and community hospitals. Our conversation will include diverse perspectives from patients, community partners, academic leaders and sponsors.

This is the fifth in a series of five panel discussions in our Structural Solutions for Diverse Cancer Trials (ASSETS) series.

Register Here

If you are unable to attend this event, please check our website for future ASSETS events in the coming months.



photo of Yamile Molina

Yamile Molina, MS, MPH, PhD, is Associate Director for Community Outreach and Engagement at the University of Illinois Cancer Center, Associate Director for Community Engaged Research at UI Health Mile Square Health Center, and an Associate Professor in the Division of Community Health Sciences at the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health.

Logo of the University of Illinois Cancer Center

8 – 8:05 a.m.

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Photo of Michelle Blakely

Michelle Blakely, PhD, FACHE, is the President of Advocate South Suburban and Advocate Trinity Hospitals.

8:05 – 8:10 a.m.

Introduction and Logistics


8:10 – 8:40 a.m.

“The Infrastructure of Clinical Trials in Safety Net and FQHC Systems”

This panel will be comprised of healthcare leaders and industry partners who are invested in building capacity for clinical research in safety-net settings. They will share with us best practices, strategies, and emerging partnerships to ensure clinical trials are accessible, as an option for care, to the most underserved communities.

Photo of VK Gadi

VK Gadi, MD, PhD, is the University of Illinois Cancer Center Deputy Director and a UI Health Medical Oncologist. As an academic investigator, he develops and conducts clinical trials of new medicines, diagnostic tools, and supportive care to improve outcomes for patients with breast and other types of cancers. His laboratory has made critical discoveries in cancer biology, immunology and diagnostics.

Logo of the University of Illinois Cancer Center

Karen Cheek Headshot

Karen Cheek, RN, BS, CCRP, is the Manager of Oncology Clinical Research across Advocate Aurora Health Midwest. She has 37 years’ experience in oncology research.

Reddy Photo

Priyanka Reddy, MD, PhD, is a Medical Oncologist at both Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn and Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest.

Ruma Bhagat MD, MPH, is the Principal Portfolio Leader for Health Equity & Population Science, Product Development at Genentech, Inc. (A Member of the Roche Group).

8:40 – 9:10 a.m.

“The Value of Clinical Trials in Safety Net and FQHC Systems”

This panel will be comprised of cancer patients and survivors who have been involved in the development of clinical trials and who have participated in clinical trials. The focus is to highlight the importance of access and leveraging trustworthy systems that are committed to the most vulnerable and resilient communities in Cook County.

Paris Thomas, PhD, is the Executive Director of Equal Hope, a nonprofit whose mission is to save lives by eliminating health inequities through research, quality assessment and improvements, advocacy, education, and patient navigation. She is a health and racial equity leader and researcher whose work focuses on promoting health through intersectionality to eliminate disparities for historically marginalized communities through culturally competent interventions.

Equal hope encourages HPV vaccinations and cervical cancer screening, which can prevent Cervical Cancer.

Tatisa Joiner

Tatisa Joiner is a 21-year breast cancer survivor, community leader and activist. She is also the founder of the Tatisa C. Joiner Foundation whose mission is to empower, inspire and encourage you to celebrate your life.

Photo of Jeannette Carter

Jeannette Carter is a two-time breast cancer survivor, a motivational speaker whose goal is to decrease stigma around cancer in communities of color, and a University of Illinois Cancer Center patient partner who served on the Caner Center’s Protocol Review Committee member.

Carol Gyimatey

Carol Gyimatey is a two-time triple-negative breast cancer survivor and University of Illinois Cancer Center clinical trial participant. She is a strong advocate for self-awareness of knowing your body. “When you feel something wrong, check it out. You are your own first defense against this disease,” she says.

9:10 – 9:15 a.m.


9:15 – 9:45 a.m.

“The Feasibility and Availability of Trials in Safety Net and FQHC Systems”

We will have breakout groups, focused on specific cancer sites, led by clinical research coordinators and providers who are implementing trials to largely uninsured and underinsured patients with cancer in FQHC and safety-net settings.

9:45 – 10 a.m.

Closing and Evaluation


Feb 26 2024


8:00 am - 10:00 am


Advocate South Suburban Hospital
17800 Kedzie Ave, Auditorium, Hazel Crest, IL 60429


Tasha Carlisle, Research Specialist
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