Roswell Park’s researcher joins national COVID-19 Native Expert Panel

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Rodney Haring, Ph.D., director of the Center for Indigenous Cancer Research, has been named to the COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN) Native Expert Panel, formed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID).

In July the NIAID, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), established the CoVPN — a unified new clinical trials network aimed at recruiting volunteers to sign up for large-scale Phase 3 trials of COVID-19 investigational vaccines and monoclonal antibodies. The CoVPN is a unit of Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initiative to deliver 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by January 2021.

Haring, an enrolled member of the Seneca Nation of Indians, Beaver Clan, is one of a dozen individuals from indigenous nations across the United States to sit on the new panel, which is led by Dave Wilson, a scientist from the Dine’ Nation who serves in the NIH’s Tribal Health Research Office. The Native Expert Panel aims to ensure that diversity and education are included in the review of clinical trials, examine how clinical trials are conducted from nation to nation and delve into research and ethics that surround pharmaceutical collaborations and tribal governments and provide guidance on what materials are best suited to accomplish meaningful partnerships.

“Through our work at Roswell Park and the Center for Indigenous Cancer Research, we look at the way science is conducted in indigenous communities and nations,” said Haring, who is also a faculty member in Roswell Park’s office of community outreach and engagement. “I hope this panel will view the COVID-19 trials through a similar lens. All too often, indigenous populations are left out of trials, so inclusion is of utmost importance. We need to learn whether the science will work in diversified communities.”

The CoVPN Native Expert Panel is hosted by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington.