For over 26 years, Cancer Research for the Ozarks (CRO) has provided access to NCI-approved clinical trials to the rural communities of southwestern Missouri and surrounding areas through the Community Clinical Program. CRO is eager to transition to an NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP) Community Site and expand access throughout south, central, and eastern Missouri as well as southern Illinois. During the past five years, CRO has added five components expanding to a population that spans central and eastern Missouri, and southern Illinois. Through the visionary leadership of its outstanding Principal Investigators including current Principal Investigator, Jay Carlson, DO, this largely rural population to NCI (NCORP). From its inception, CRO has had the support of the two nationally recognized health care systems, CoxHealth and Mercy Hospital Springfield in Springfield, Missouri providing a unique opportunity to change a wide community of practice. CRO has available access to an extensive network of non-oncology physicians and other medical professionals including geneticists as well as a broad network of community service providers. Based on its experience and expansion, CRO is confident it can secure over 200 accruals and credits per year in cancer treatment, prevention, and control. CRO is enthusiastic about the realignment of scope in research trials including expanded plans for cancer prevention and control. CRO fully supports new NCORP priorities to address cancer care delivery and disparities are consistent with ongoing efforts to improve access, service delivery, and outcomes at all CRO components.
CRO provides the sole access to NCI-sponsored cancer clinical trials for a large number of individuals living in southern Missouri and surrounding area. Although relatively homogeneous, the population has a disproportionate share of families in poverty and a population at higher risk for poor health outcomes. The CRO NCORP Community Site will use an extensive community network to increase access and ultimately, improve practice and outcomes.