Merck Foundation launches $20 million initiative to advance equity in cancer care in the United States


National effort builds on Foundation’s long-standing commitment to helping patients in underserved communities receive equitable, high-quality care

Merck Foundation (the Foundation) today announced the launch of the Alliance for Equity in Cancer Care (the Alliance), a five-year, $20 million initiative designed to make cancer care fairer cancer treatment in the United States by helping patients living in underserved areas. communities receive timely access to high-quality, culturally appropriate care.

“The gravity of the need for action to advance equity in cancer care cannot be overstated and will not be overlooked,” said Carmen Villar, CEO of Merck Foundation. “We must act urgently and work together to provide all people with cancer with access to high quality care and treatment. The creation of the Alliance is an important step in ensuring that the social determinants of health no longer influence an individual’s ability to receive lifesaving health care.

Through this initiative, the Foundation provides grants to select nonprofit health care organizations to help develop and implement innovative, evidence-based programs that advance equity in cancer care. the cancer. Grantees will work collectively to improve the coordination of patient care, from diagnosis to survivorship; strengthen patient engagement in treatment decisions and overall patient-provider communication; build community partnerships that address barriers to care related to the social determinants of health; and provide essential psychosocial support services.

Beneficiaries of the Alliance program include:

Nearly 40% of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Members of racial and ethnic minorities, those living in rural areas, low-income people and the uninsured are disproportionately affected by cancer, but often have limited access to cancer screening, care and treatment. cancer. As a result, they may experience late-stage diagnoses, treatment delays, and decreased adherence to cancer treatments – with serious negative consequences for their health.

The Foundation also supports a national program office in Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Massey Cancer Centerin partnership with the VCU Center on Health Disparities, which will help Alliance Program grantees build partnerships with community-based organizations and provide technical assistance to support their programs. In addition, the national program office will evaluate the effectiveness of Alliance programs and identify and promote best practices to improve the delivery of cancer care in the United States.

“There is no one-size-fits-all approach to ensuring cancer care is equitable,” says Robert Winn, MD, director of the VCU Massey Cancer Center and director of the Alliance’s National Program Office. “We support diverse approaches – driven by the needs of local communities – to reduce unacceptable disparities in cancer care. We hope to improve the lives of people with cancer and help transform the way healthcare systems deliver care so that they meet the medical and social needs of patients.

The Alliance builds on the Foundation’s legacy of investing in community-driven programs that advance health equity while tracking other multi-year national program investments to reduce health disparities. and improve access to high-quality care, such as Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care, Closing the Gap in Diabetes Care and HIV care connection.

About Merck Foundation

Merck Foundation is a private charitable foundation based in the United States. Established in 1957 by Merck, a leading global biopharmaceutical company, the Foundation is fully funded by the company and is Merck’s primary source of funding for qualified nonprofit charities. Since its inception, the Foundation has donated nearly $1 billion to support important initiatives that address critical global health and societal needs that are aligned with Merck’s purpose: to save and improve lives around the world. . For more information, visit


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