CEO Roundtable on Cancer Launches “Going for Gold” Initiative to Advance Equitable Cancer Care

Collaboration with HBCUs, HSIs, Merck, Amgen & SAS Elevates Cancer Prevention, Diagnosis, Quality Treatment Addressing Disparities in Health

Today, the non-profit CEO Roundtable on Cancer launched a multi-year initiative – Going for Gold – in partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), global health care companies Amgen and Merck (known as MSD outside the United States and Canada), along with analytics leader SAS.

With a focus on improving health equity, education, navigation, and access, the program has the capacity to impact more than 20 million lives within 7-10 years, especially among communities disproportionately affected by cancer.

Going for Gold extends the CEO Cancer Gold Standard™ employer accreditation to recognize universities that champion health and well-being by advancing prevention, diagnosis, and quality treatment for cancer for their students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and communities. The initiative also enables universities to contribute to research efforts through CEO Roundtable’s Project Data Sphere®, which helps expand access to clinical trial research and offers an open-access digital platform for aggregating and analyzing data to advance health equity efforts.

“History is being made through this collaboration with the HBCU community,” said Robert J. Brown, ambassador for the initiative and CEO of B&C International, a CEO Roundtable on Cancer partner. “Health safety and health education are top priorities in our nation and will continue to be a driving force as we strive to reach our Going for Gold standard. If we believe we can do it, we will achieve it. Let’s stand up and work together until future generations can expect to live cancer free lives.”

“While much progress has been made against cancer over the years, that progress has not been shared equally,” said Robert A. Bradway, CEO of Amgen, which makes medicines that treat one out of every five cancer patients in the U.S. “I’m confident that this initiative will lead to expanded participation in cancer clinical trials, more equitable access to new treatments, and improved health outcomes for patients.”

“We know that cancer diagnoses in African American and Hispanic/Latino populations are often made too late. The reasons for this are complex, ranging from the social determinants of health, through lack of access – and in some cases, lack of knowledge and best-in-class tools,” said Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, Chief Patient Officer and Executive Vice President, Population Health and Sustainability at Merck. “The Going for Gold initiative is a wonderful way to build exemplars that begin the process of addressing these health disparities in Centers of Excellence that are academically positioned, but also positioned in communities that have the most to benefit from their success.”

As one of the first Cancer Gold Standard accredited companies, SAS has supported the CEO Roundtable on Cancer with analytics and expertise for years. SAS also provides free software and training to HBCUs and HSIs to foster data skills and create a more diverse analytics workforce.

“Through the Going for Gold initiative and access to clinical trial data and powerful analytics, HBCUs and HSIs can lead a generation of research into cancer’s disparate effects on communities of color,” said SAS CEO Jim Goodnight. “I encourage other companies to join us in supporting community and education efforts that lead to more equitable health care.”

The initial group of university partners involved in the Going for Gold initiative include:

Dr. Paulette Dillard, President of Shaw University, said: "The collaborative work between our two organizations can serve as a model to build a national framework that educates minority communities in particular about cancer prevention, early detection, and increasing access to clinical trials and treatment facilities. Shaw University is proud to partner with the CEO Roundtable on Cancer and help spearhead a national movement to improve positive health outcomes in our communities." 

“Livingstone College believes in educating the whole person, mind body and spirit, which is why we operate under a holistic college model. Joining in this initiative supports the health and wellness modality of our holistic program,” said Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins, Sr., president of Livingstone College. “Knowledge is power and the more we educate students, particularly on combatting health disparities with a prevention focus, the more we elevate the consciousness of their entire families and therefore, the Black community as a whole.”

There is a high degree of overlap between location of the HBCUs and HSIs and areas of highest incidence of cancer in non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic/Latino populations.

Dillard University, for example, has a Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center with the mission of improving the overall quality of health for racial and ethnic minorities, which will lead the initiative at that university.

“New Orleans and southeast Louisiana have some of the highest cancer rates in the country, so we look forward to our role as a community of health host to provide education and programming related to this health concern,” said Dr. Yolanda Page, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Dillard.

The initiative is focused on the 27 four-year HSIs with at least 60% Hispanic enrollment and seeks to include all 101 HBCUs in the U.S. Of those HBCUs, 50 institutions have health-affiliated programs such as medical schools, nursing, pre-med, health information, and health communication, which provide opportunities for further engagement by partnering on clinical trials, developing health materials, and shaping community outreach.

Recruiting for additional corporate and university partners is ongoing.

About the CEO Roundtable on Cancer

The CEO Roundtable on Cancer was founded in 2001, when former President George H.W. Bush challenged a group of executives to "do something bold and venturesome about cancer within your own corporate families." The CEOs responded by creating and encouraging the widespread adoption of the CEO Cancer Gold Standard™ which calls for organizations to evaluate their health benefits and workplace culture and take extensive, concrete actions in five key areas of health and wellness to address cancer in the workplace. For more information on the CEO Cancer Gold Standard and the no-cost, web-based accreditation process, please visit





About SAS

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Through the Going for Gold initiative and access to clinical trial data and powerful analytics, HBCUs and HSIs can lead a generation of research into cancer’s disparate effects on communities of color.