HealthTree Foundation for Multiple Myeloma (formerly known as Myeloma Crowd) was announced as the winner of GSK's first Target the Future Think Tank Challenge. The approximate $100,000 award will help address the specific needs of African American and Spanish speaking myeloma patients.
The “HealthTree Equity and Diversity for Multiple Myeloma Program,” will improve access, education and support for underserved communities and minority patients through two specific programs.
- “Black Myeloma Health”: The new BlackMyelomaHealth.org website will spotlight Black patients with multiple myeloma and their experiences through video journaling and distribution of new educational brochures with information about relevant treatments and resources. It will also create distinct communities online for Black patients and caregivers to come together and support each other.
- “HealthTree for Mieloma Multiple”: The organization’s efforts to support multiple myeloma patients will increase through deployment of Spanish-speaking patient navigators who will help people get answers along their treatment journey in their native language. It will also create referral forms in Spanish at clinics and translate existing HealthTree Foundation materials so more patients can access and understand information relevant to their care.
HealthTree Founder Jenny Ahlstrom said:
"We are delighted to receive this award from GSK which will help support myeloma patients. While we have always provided resources to all patients over the last 10 years, we realized that many of the services we offered were not being utilized by patient communities who needed it the most. New approaches were needed to reach African American patients who were 2-3 times more likely to develop myeloma. Likewise, Spanish speakers needed myeloma information in their native language. Myeloma terminology is difficult enough to manage without a language barrier."
Tania Small, Vice President, Global Head of Oncology Medical Affairs and Head of R&D Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at GSK, said:
“The response to this challenge showcased an abundance of innovation, creativity and ingenuity, which we need to address patients’ unmet needs. We see great potential in the HealthTree Foundation’s proposal, which goes beyond the science to improve access, equitable care and quality of life for the multiple myeloma community.”
GSK’s grant will help support the HealthTree Foundation as it develops digital delivery tools to distribute information on treatments and trials, facilitate digital communities and expand outreach efforts to support, educate and provide more equitable care to multiple myeloma patients.
About the Target the Future Think Tank Challenge
Target the Future is an international, multi-year initiative dedicated to advancing innovation and addressing key needs in the multiple myeloma community. The Think Tank Challenge issued a clarion call for innovative ideas to support patients. GSK assembled a multidisciplinary advisory group of people personally and professionally connected to the multiple myeloma community and evaluated the top 20 submissions from around the world.
Entries came in from patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals, developers, researchers, advocates and non-profits. Following finalist presentations, the panel evaluated ideas on novelty, feasibility to execute and ability to address unmet needs. The panel unanimously voted in favour of the inaugural winner. GSK will share detailed updates as the HealthTree Foundation’s idea comes to life and report on results of this effort within the community.
The Think Tank Challenge will issue the next call for submissions in the second half of 2022. To learn more about GSK’s Target the Future programme and ways GSK is collaborating with the community to get ahead of this disease together, please visit https://targetthefuturemm.com.
about the author
Myeloma survivor, patient advocate, wife, mom of 6. Believer that patients can help accelerate a cure by weighing in and participating in clinical research. Founder of HealthTree Foundation (formerly Myeloma Crowd).