ACCESS Initiative Strives to End Access and Outcome Disparities Across The Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Ecosystem 

 // News

February 13  

Jeffery J. Auletta, MD, will Co-Chair the ASTCT Working Group with Stella M. Davies, MBBS, PhD, MRCP, Immediate Past President, ASTCT, Director, Division of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Immune Deficiency, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN., February 13, 2023 – The National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP)/Be The Match® in partnership with the American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy™ (ASTCT) announced that Jeffery J. Auletta, MD, Senior Vice President, Patient Outcomes and Experience; Chief Scientific Officer, NMDP/Be The Match and CIMBTR® (Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research®); and Scientific Director, CIBMTR CRO Services, is co-chairing the Working Group for the ACCESS Initiative, a collaborative effort with ASTCT involving transplant centers as well as representatives from the private payer and federal agency sectors who have direct experience with hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) and cellular therapy (CT). The ASTCT-NMDP ACCESS Initiative addresses the recurring barriers to HCT/CT that impact patient outcomes and strives to drive change in practice and policy throughout the industry ecosystem. Dr. Auletta is the Co-Chair of the ASTCT-NMDP Initiative along with Stella M. Davies, MBBS, PhD, MRCP, Immediate Past President, ASTCT and Director, Division of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Immune Deficiency, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

“As industry leaders, it’s our responsibility to affect change to provide life-saving therapies to all eligible patients in need,” said Dr. Auletta. “Research shows that a patient’s race and socioeconomic status impact their access to HCT/CT and similarly, their outcomes after receiving HCT/CT. We recognize that these problems are chronic reflections of our healthcare system, which needs redirection and repair. The ACCESS Initiative aims to address these barriers and be a voice of change for more patients.”

The ASTCT-NMDP ACCESS Initiative Working Group will be hosting a workshop on Saturday, February 18 at the Tandem Meetings, the combined annual meeting of the ASTCT and the CIBMTR. The group will address HCT disparities, provide an overview of the ACCESS committee’s goals for the initiative and invite participation across the HCT/CT ecosystem.

“Dr. Auletta has been a key driver of this initiative from day one,” said Davies. “It is only fitting that he continue his work as co-chair of the ACCESS Initiative Working Group and help lead the charge in implementing the findings from our inaugural workshop to address these systemic challenges in the healthcare industry.”

The initiative will focus initially on three priority areas: awareness, poverty, and racial and ethnic inequity. The goals include:

  • Increasing awareness among community physicians of disease indications for HCT/CT and providing education for patients and caregivers on HCT/HCT availability, clinical trials, and support services available for them.  
  • Identifying HCT/CT recipients at high risk of adverse outcomes due to socioeconomic adversity and developing patient-, center-, and policy-related initiatives to improve these patients’ access and survival.
  • Improving equity in access and outcomes for all HCT/CT recipients, regardless of race or ethnicity, by working with HCT/CT centers to address the gap in knowledge of these patient populations and provide accurate data on the sociodemographic characteristics of patients in their regions.

The hope is to attract universal engagement in the ACCESS Initiative by physicians; partners in government, payer, and industry; academic institutions within the HCT/CT ecosystem; and patients, with participation from administrators, health policy and health equity experts, health service researchers, participants from commercial payer organizations, and federal stakeholders throughout the industry. The challenges to access and outcome disparities being addressed by the ACCESS Initiative are entrenched in the healthcare ecosystem. These partnering organizations believe that continuous collaborative efforts throughout the HCT/CT ecosystem are required to reduce HCT/CT-related access barriers and resultant inferior outcomes.

About the National marrow Donor Program® (NMDP)/Be The Match® The National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP)/Be The Match® is the leading global partner working to save lives through cellular therapy. With 35 years of experience managing the most diverse registry of potential unrelated blood stem cell donors and cord blood units in the world, NMDP/Be The Match is a proven partner in providing cures to patients with life-threatening blood and marrow cancers and diseases. Through their global network, they connect centers and patients to their best cell therapy option—from blood stem cell transplant to a next-generation therapy—and collaborate with cell and gene therapy companies to support therapy development and delivery through Be The Match BioTherapies®. NMDP/Be The Match is a tireless advocate for the cell therapy community, working with hematologists/oncologists to remove barriers to consultation and treatment, and supporting patients through no-cost programs to eliminate non-medical obstacles to cell therapy. In addition, they are a global leader in research through the CIBMTR® (Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research®)—a collaboration with Medical College of Wisconsin, investing in and managing research studies that improve patient outcomes and advance the future of care.

About the American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy™ (ASTCT)

ASTCT is an international professional membership association of more than 3,700 physicians, investigators, and other health care professionals from more than 45 countries. Our mission is dedicated to improving the application and success of blood and marrow transplantation and related cellular therapies. We strive to be the leading organization promoting research, education, and clinical practice in the field. For more information, visit

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