Matthew Schabath, PhD, on COLORS Training for Oncologists Treating LGBTQ+ Individuals


At 2022 ASCO, Matthew Schabath, PhD, discussed the COLORS training designed to improve cultural sensitivity amongst oncologists treating patients within the LGBTQ+ community.

Matthew Schabath, PhD, associate member in the Departments of Cancer Epidemiology and Thoracic Oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, spoke with CancerNetwork® at the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting about COLORS training, which was developed to bring awareness to the importance of an inclusive treatment environment for patients who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and others (LGBTQ+). COLORS, which stands of Curriculum for Oncologists on LGBTQ+ Population to Optimize Relevance and Skills, was designed for oncologists to participate in real-life scenarios, or vignettes. Four 30-minute modules are used as part of the training and were created by LGBTQ+ community partners, oncologists, and scientific experts to ensure relevancy and authenticity. The training allows participants to choose optional paths and allow scenarios to play out. This approach gives trainees the opportunity to determine how to best optimize each interaction.


The COLORS training is oncology specific. It covers important areas regarding cultural humility and cultural sensitivity training for the care of LGBTQ patients. We get into what I call LGBT 101, about understanding the definitions, the nomenclature, and the disparities that face this population. We get into what their clinic looks like. Is it a warm and inclusive environment? It gets into issues regarding care and survivorship. What’s important about this is that the stakeholders that were involved in the development of this training included members from the LGBTQ+ community, advocacy groups, cancer survivors, LGBTQ+ patients, and oncologists; it was a very iterative process. Through this open process, we developed this training to make sure that it covered the correct content, but did it in a way that wasn’t simply a generic reading of PowerPoint slides or information. It’s interactive. We have this real life, “choose your own adventures” [scenario detailing] an interaction between an LGBTQ+ patient with cancer and an oncologist. These choose your own adventures allow you to go through this pathway of discussions and interactions with a patient. What’s important is that you can go back and choose the other pathway. No pathway is completely right. No pathway is completely wrong. It just shows you the different directions that you can take for having these conversations or discussions about care with an LGBTQ+ patient with cancer.


Scabath MB, Perez-Morales J, Hernandez JP, et al. Development and assessment of the effectiveness of an LGBT cultural sensitivity training for oncologists: The COLORS training. J Clin Oncol. 2022;40(suppl 16):11000. doi:10.1200/JCO.2022.40.16_suppl.11000

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