Mentor/Fellow Article

Bridging the Healthcare Divide With Patient Navigation: Development of a Research Program to Address Disparities

Karen A. Schwaderer

Joanne Itano

patient navigation, health disparities
CJON 2007, 11(5), 633-639. DOI: 10.1188/07.CJON.633-639

Americans who live in poverty as well as certain ethnic and racial groups have higher cancer death rates than other populations. Patient navigators have been identified as an important weapon against these disparities. Navigators can address insurance, financial, and logistical issues (e.g., transportation, appointment scheduling, child or elder care). They can provide understandable health education that may lessen fears of cancer diagnosis and treatment. This article describes the development and implementation of a multisite patient navigator program involving five cancer institutions in Western Pennsylvania. Navigator programs have great potential to enhance cancer care by reaching underserved populations and opening the door for future research.

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