The department is making deliberate efforts to ensure that the strong diversity of its patient population is represented in its clinical trials — a necessity for ensuring that medical research benefits everyone. Leading in this area is breast surgeon and cancer researcher Rebecca Aft, MD, PhD, who enrolls many of her patients in clinical trials. Overall, about 16 percent of Siteman Cancer Center patients are underrepresented minorities, and this group makes up 12 percent of therapeutic trial enrollment. In some of Aft’s trials — many focusing on targeted therapy for early-stage breast cancer — minority participation is as high as 25 percent. She and Siteman colleagues work hard to address the complex barriers to minority trial participation. Issues include lack of trust and practical issues such as lack of transportation. “We educate patients and work with all the resources we have to ensure that participating in trials is not a burden for them,” says Aft.