May 23, 2023
A ribbon-cutting ceremony on May 19 marked the completion of a mural at Guadalupe Centers Middle School in Kansas City, Missouri. About 75 people were in attendance, including members of the local Hispanic community.
The mural was commissioned by The University of Kansas Cancer Center and painted by local artist Vania Soto. The mural is a portrait of four cancer survivors and co-survivors, all persons from underserved populations, beneath which are painted the words “Clinical Research Needs Representation.”
“All of my murals are community murals, regardless of the subject matter, but especially this one. I got to paint the portraits of the people who are the survivors. In my book, they’re the heroes of the story,” Soto remarked at the ceremony.
The artwork is part of the cancer center’s broader effort to educate and increase awareness about the importance of participating in clinical trials, particularly amongst minority communities. More diversity in clinical trials helps ensure that new cancer treatments are effective for all people.
“Everyone should benefit from the latest in cancer treatment and prevention. For that to happen, we must make sure people from diverse backgrounds are a part of clinical research,” said Roy Jensen, MD, director and vice chancellor of the cancer center. “As the only cancer center in the region designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute, it is our responsibility to partner with our communities to address these disparities.”