March 20, 2024

ARPA-H appoints Pisano to lead "Advancing Clinical Trials Readiness" Initiative

The Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H) has appointed American College of Radiology® (ACR®) Chief Research Officer (CRO) Etta D. Pisano, MD, FACR, senior portfolio lead, to build the agency’s clinical trial portfolio and lead the ARPA-H Advancing Clinical Trials Readiness Initiative under ARPA-H Resilient Systems Mission Office Director Jennifer Roberts.

The first radiologist to be appointed to such a role, Pisano is an internationally recognized expert in women’s health, breast cancer research and artificial intelligence in medical imaging applications.

"I am honored to be working for ARPA-H to identify and promote research that can improve healthcare quality, efficacy and delivery, and to improve patient care and access to clinical trials for all Americans, including women, rural residents and the underserved,” said Pisano.

Pisano will continue to serve as ACR CRO and as study chair of the large-scale Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial (TMIST). She also remains an adjunct professor of radiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. Pisano previously served as principal investigator of the landmark Digital Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial (DMIST).

TMIST is among the fastest growing National Cancer Institute (NCI) trials of the COVID-19 era. Under study chair Pisano, TMIST is assembling one of the most diverse cancer screening trial populations ever. Approximately 21% of TMIST U.S. participants are Black — more than double the average rate for Black participation in NCI-funded clinical trials (9%). TMIST is led by the ECOG-ACRIN Cancer Research Group (ECOG-ACRIN) with funding from the NCI, part of the National Institutes of Health.

With ARPA-H, Pisano will work to build underserved and minority participation in clinical trials — including identifying and onboarding rural facilities and those outside of large academic medical centers — such as emerging retail healthcare sites.

These duties are also very compatible with the missions of the ACR, the ACR Center for Research and Innovation and the ACR Data Science Institute®, which include promoting exploration and identification of next-generation technologies that can benefit patients and providers.

To speak with a spokesperson, contact the ACR Public Affairs team at