CARY, N.C. (Jan. 13, 2022) – 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 Merck

For over 130 years, Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives. We demonstrate our commitment to patients and population health by increasing access to health care through far-reaching policies, programs and partnerships. Today, Merck continues to be at the forefront of research to prevent and treat diseases that threaten people and animals – including cancer, infectious diseases such as HIV and Ebola, and emerging animal diseases – as we aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world. For more information, visit and connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

About Amgen

Amgen is committed to unlocking the potential of biology for patients suffering from serious illnesses by discovering, developing, manufacturing, and delivering innovative human therapeutics. This approach begins by using tools like advanced human genetics to unravel the complexities of disease and understand the fundamentals of human biology. 

Amgen focuses on areas of high unmet medical need and leverages its expertise to strive for solutions that improve health outcomes and dramatically improve people’s lives. A biotechnology pioneer since 1980, Amgen has grown to be one of the world’s leading independent biotechnology companies, has reached millions of patients around the world and is developing a pipeline of medicines with breakaway potential. For more information visit

About SAS

SAS is the leader in analytics. Through innovative software and services, SAS empowers and inspires customers around the world to transform data into intelligence. SAS gives you THE POWER TO KNOW®. For more information, visit

Dillard University

Dillard University is a historically Black institution that cultivates leaders who live ethically, think and communicate precisely, and act courageously to make the world a better place. Located in New Orleans, Dillard is a private faith-based liberal arts university that offers 22 majors and two certificate programs. Founded in 1869, Dillard is Louisiana’s oldest HBCU born from the union of Straight College and New Orleans University. Find out more by visiting

Livingstone College

Livingstone College is a private historically Black college, founded in 1879, that is secured by a strong commitment to quality instruction, academic excellence, and student success. Through a Christian-based environment suitable for holistic learning, Livingstone provides excellent business, liberal arts, STEAM, teacher education, and workforce development programs for students from all ethnic backgrounds designed to promote lifelong learning, and to develop student potential for leadership and service to a global community. To learn more about Livingstone, visit

Norfolk State University

Norfolk State is the largest HBCU in the Commonwealth of Virginia and a thought leader positioned to continue educating the current and future workforce for generations to come. The University is home to one of the highest rated “Clean Room” research facilities on the eastern seaboard and is strengthening its presence in the research and technological sectors as a place to go for 21st Century initiatives. The institution is highlighted by several superior academic colleges and schools including the College of Science, Engineering and Technology; the College of Liberal Arts; the School of Business; the School of Education; the Ethelyn R. Strong School of Social Work; the School of Graduate Studies and Research; and the Robert C. Nusbaum Honors College.  Learn more at

NC A&T State University

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is a leading doctoral research university, the largest historically Black university in America and the nation’s no. 1 producer of degrees awarded to African Americans in Engineering and Agriculture. Nationally recognized for excellence in science, technology, mathematics, and engineering (STEM) education, A&T is home to an extensive scientific enterprise, one of the state’s three most productive among its public universities. Find out more by visiting

Shaw University

Founded in 1865, Shaw University is the oldest historically Black university in the Southern United States and the first historically Black College in the nation to open its doors to women. A private liberal arts institution affiliated with the Baptist church, it is home to the oldest historically black theological institution in America. With a rich history steeped in tradition, activism, and service, Shaw fulfills its mission to transform its diverse community of learners into global leaders. Learn more at

Southern University Law Center

Established in 1947, the Southern University Law Center is a progressive, innovative institution that provides access and opportunity to a diverse group of students from underrepresented racial, ethnic, and socio-economic groups to obtain a high-quality legal education with training in both civil and common law. Located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Law Center is one of five institutions comprising the Southern University System – the only HBCU system in the nation. The institution is nationally recognized for its diversity, racial justice initiatives, and community outreach efforts.

“Cancer is a plaguing disease that has claimed the lives of too many within our community,” said John Pierre, chancellor of the Southern University Law Center. “By partnering with the CEO Roundtable on Cancer on their initiative, Going for Gold, it will allow the Southern University Law Center to elevate education programming and community outreach within Louisiana that can save lives and families.”

More information is available at

Stillman College

Stillman College is a liberal arts institution with a historical and formal affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It is committed to fostering academic excellence, to providing opportunities for diverse populations, and to maintaining a strong tradition of preparing students for leadership and service by fostering experiential learning and community engagement designed to equip and empower Stillman’s students and its constituents. Stillman College, authorized by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States in 1875, held its first classes in 1876 and was chartered as a legal corporation by the State of Alabama in 1895. Learn more at

Winston-Salem State University

Winston-Salem State University fosters the creative thinking, analytical problem-solving, and depth of character needed to transform the world. Rooted in liberal education, WSSU’s curriculum prepares students to be thought leaders who have the skills and knowledge needed to develop innovative solutions to complex problems. Founded in 1892, WSSU is a historically Black constituent institution of the University of North Carolina with a rich tradition of contributing to the social, cultural, intellectual, and economic growth of North Carolina, the region and beyond. Guided by the motto, “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve,” WSSU develops leaders who advance social justice by serving the world with compassion and commitment. More information is available at


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