Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

BMJ Open





DOI of Original Publication



Originally published at

Funded in part by the VCU Libraries Open Access Publishing Fund.

Date of Submission

February 2017


Introduction Low rates of accrual of African-American (AA) patients with cancer to therapeutic clinical trials (CTs) represent a serious and modifiable racial disparity in healthcare that impedes the development of promising cancer therapies. Suboptimal physician–patient consultation communication is a barrier to the accrual of patients with cancer of any race, but communication difficulties are compounded with AA patients. Providing tailored health messages (THM) to AA patients and their physician about CTs has the potential to improve communication, lower barriers to accrual and ameliorate health disparities.

Objective (1) Demonstrate the efficacy of THM to increase patient activation as measured by direct observation. (2) Demonstrate the efficacy of THM to improve patient outcomes associated with barriers to AA participation. (3) Explore associations among preconsultation levels of: (A) trust in medical researchers, (B) knowledge and attitudes towards CTs, (C) patient-family member congruence in decision-making, and (D) involvement/information preferences, and group assignment.

Methods and analysis First, using established methods, we will develop THM materials. Second, the efficacy of the intervention is determined in a 2 by 2 factorial randomised controlled trial to test the effectiveness of (1) providing 357 AA patients with cancer with THM with 2 different ‘depths’ of tailoring and (2) either providing feedback to oncologists about the patients' trial THM or not. The primary analysis compares patient engaged communication in 4 groups preconsultation and postconsultation.

Ethics and dissemination This study was approved by the Virginia Commonwealth University Institutional Review Board. To facilitate use of the THM intervention in diverse settings, we will convene ‘user groups’ at 3 major US cancer centres. To facilitate dissemination, we will post all materials and the implementation guide in publicly available locations.


Copyright information: Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

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VCU Healthcare Policy and Research Publications