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Baton Rouge, New Orleans Business Briefs for Aug. 15, 2021 – The Advocate

Project targets cancer clinical trial diversity

Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center in Baton Rouge has been selected to participate in a pilot project focused on increasing racial and ethnic diversity among patients enrolling in clinical trials.

The initiative by the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Association of Community Cancer Centers is designed to establish evidence-based strategies to help ensure every patient with cancer has the opportunity to participate in research, focusing initially on patients who are Black and/or Hispanic/Latino.

“This is especially important for patients from racial and ethnic groups historically underrepresented in clinical trials, but it is also key for the entire cancer research community,” said Cyndi Knox, director of clinical research at Mary Bird Perkins. “We have a long history of outreach to diverse communities and we are looking forward to being part of a project that will quickly impact cancer patients.”

Sites selected will conduct an internal assessment of policies, procedures and programs that may impact which patients are screened for and offered a clinical trial, as well as factors impacting subsequent enrollment and retention. Once participating sites enter responses, the organizations will receive recommendations for specific strategies to enhance their performance.

The project also is designed to mitigate bias across research and care teams related to which patients are offered clinical trials and how it correlates to those who decide to enroll.

If the tool and training prove useful across a variety of research sites, the organizations plan to explore and expand the research.

Society for Quality schedules virtual meeting

The American Society for Quality will hold a virtual monthly Zoom meeting from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 19.

Grace Duffy, an ASQ fellow and distinguished service medalist, will demonstrate the full cycle of strategic plan to implementation, assessment, gap analysis and action planning for alignment of organizational goals to front line results. She will show how this cycle is sustainable for the Orange County (Orlando), Florida, public health department. Duffy has authored numerous books and has over 45 years’ experience in business and process management in corporate, government, education and health care.

Email [email protected] for meeting connection information by Aug. 18.

Capital region health award applicants sought

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber is accepting applications through Aug. 24 for its 2021 Capital Region Employee Health Innovation Award.

An honoree will be selected in both a small and large business category and applicants do not have to be a member of BRAC.

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Applicants must have employment presence within the nine-parish Capital Region; be able to demonstrate internal innovations and/or programs created in response to the pandemic that were implemented by the company or its employees that had a positive impact on the medical or behavioral health of employees, and will be continued; provide documentation related to innovations and/or programs.

Awards will be presented Sept. 21 at BRAC’s monthly lunch event at the East Baton Rouge Parish Main Library on Goodwood. Information and applications are at

Health system targets specialty pharmacy services

Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System has partnered with Shields Health Solutions in an effort to enhance specialty pharmacy services by lowering costs, expanding treatment options and refining medication management.

The health system will have a patient liaison, who will work on-site in physician clinics and the system’s RxOne retail pharmacies to assist patients with limited distribution drugs and health insurance payors.

The partnership in its Baton Rouge region begins with seven of the Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group clinics. Initial focused efforts will include rheumatology, gastrointestinal and infectious diseases. Medical conditions in these specialties often have some of the highest cost and difficult-to-access prescriptions.

St. Tammany Corp. enhances research effort

St. Tammany Corp. has created a Research Fellowship Program as an initiative of THRIVE2023, its five-year economic development strategic plan.

Catherine Walker has joined the organization as research fellow under a 300-hour fellowship. She is working with Elizabeth Leeunder, the organization’s research and policy analyst and project associate for strategic initiatives, collecting, organizing, tracking, interpreting and reporting on selected economic indicators for the purposes of marketing, educating and promoting the community. Walker also will provide staff support for economic development activities using various tools and information sources.

Florida firm joins Hub International

Global insurance brokerage and financial services firm Hub International Ltd. has acquired Hiles-McLeod Insurance Inc. in Pensacola, Florida, with its executives and staff joining Hub Gulf South, based in New Orleans.

Hiles-McLeod is an independent insurance agency providing commercial and personal insurance, specializing in business and homeowners coverage. The price was not disclosed.

Shaun Norris, president of Hub Gulf South, said the addition of Hiles-McLeod establishes Hub’s presence in the Florida Panhandle.