Center of Excellence
Patient Navigation Research Program
The Patient Navigation in the Safety Net: CONNECTeDD at the Boston Medical Center is an intensive patient navigator intervention with six community health centers to meet the health and welfare needs of women in Boston's socially and economically challenged urban neighborhoods. Each community health center employs either a breast or cervical cancer patient navigator. This project is funded through the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as part of a collaborative research program operating at nine sites throughout the United States to develop and test interventions to reduce time to delivery of quality, standard cancer care (non-cancer resolution or cancer diagnosis and treatment) after an abnormal cancer screening test result.
The project's goal is to significantly improve access to and increase cancer screening, early-stage detection, diagnosis, and treatment by creating an intervention that: (1) reduces time to diagnosis or for resolution of an abnormality after an abnormal mammogram or Pap smear; (2) reduces time to complete treatment and provides higher quality treatment after a cancer diagnosis; (3) improves patient satisfaction with health care services; (4) comprises critical components (i.e., time with patient vs. time coordinating care) which drive its success; and (5) results in more cost-effective care.
A cancer patient from an underserved population is likely to face a variety of barriers to quality care and treatment. For example, there are financial challenges (especially for the uninsured and underinsured); communication and information problems including language barriers; problems with an inferior healthcare system within their communities; travel and distance challenges that can lead to missed appointments; and emotional barriers in which irrational fears lead to cancellation or delay of medical services.
Patient navigators provide patients with someone whom they can feel comfortable, someone who has the knowledge base and confidence the patient might not possess.
Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health (BIRCWH)
The long-term goals of the BIRCWH Program are to mentor an identified cadre of outstanding scholars and to provide them with the support and training needed for them to develop independent research careers in women's health. Learn more about BIRCWH.
The Avon Foundation Breast Health Initiative
Our breast health program has been enhanced by a $3.4 million grant from the Avon Foundation Breast Health Initiative. The grant enabled us to establish a comprehensive breast cancer screening and diagnostic program for women challenged by language, cultural and economic barriers by providing complete consultation and diagnostic services in one visit for any woman presenting or referred for breast complaints. The grant supports the assignment of a case coordinator for each qualifying patient. The case coordinator guides the patient through each step in their medical care from ensuring all proper screening is completed to making sure follow-up appointments are made and ensuring those appointments are kept by providing assistance with transportation, childcare, interpreter services and communication with the patient’s employer where necessary. This case coordinator helps reduce waiting room time and supports the patient’s medical team by organizing all the tests, procedures and consultations, optimally in a single day.
The Avon Foundation Breast Health Initiative is part of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, founded in 1993 by Avon Products Inc. The Avon Crusade mission is to fund medical research into the possible prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of breast cancer, and to provide women, particularly those who are medically underserved, with access to breast cancer education, early detection screening services, clinical care, financial assistance and support services.