Guest blogger, Linda Fleisher, PhD, MPH
In less than a month, we will be meeting in State College for our Inaugural PA Navigator Network Symposium. Over the past few years, we have come together through emails, listservs and webinars, and now have the opportunity to meet face to face through the generous funding from Pfizer and the support of the PA Navigator Network Steering Committee. I want to thank our team for bringing us together at this truly exciting time, and a special thank you to Rachel Slamon, Communications Coordinator in our Office of Health Communications and Health Disparities.
Over the past month, I have had the opportunity to attend two national conferences that highlight the emerging field of patient navigation. The first was the Second Annual Navigation and Survivorship national meeting of the Academy of Oncology Nurse Navigators (AONN) in San Antonio, Texas. Over 300 navigators (both clinical and non-clinical) and administrators attended this two day meeting! The conference included workshops for new navigator programs and a number of plenary sessions focused on survivorship, collaborative navigation models, site specific navigation, assessments and advocacy. I was honored to present, with my colleague Bonnie Miller, RN, BSN, OCN, FAAMA, Administrative Director of Fox Chase’s Women’s Cancer Center, on Fox Chase’s integrative model. We discussed our approach of integrating community navigators with our service line nurse navigators. We also learned so much from others throughout the country. For example, the Billings Clinic Cancer Center’s navigators are working with patients who must travel hundreds of miles for care. They are working to reach out to Native American populations in their area. It was truly exciting to meet patient navigators from all over the country, each dealing with different challenges and populations, but all working hard to lessen the burden of cancer patients. We are delighted that Sean T. Walsh, Executive Director of AONN will be joining us at our meeting on November 4th at State College.
I was also able to attend the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR)’s Health Disparities Conference in Washington, DC. The last session of the meeting was a panel discussion from a number of the lead investigators from the NCI’s Patient Navigation Research Program. This session focused on some of the preliminary findings from the NCI-funded randomized trials. These preliminary results highlighted the impact of navigation on improving follow-up to abnormal screening. Further analyses will be conducted examining the impact of navigation on time to treatment and treatment compliance, as well as cost effectiveness of patient navigation. We will certainly let you know as these study findings are published.
It is an exciting time as more evidence becomes available that highlights the impact of patient navigation as this emerging field takes hold. And, you are part of this critical approach to patient-centered care. We hope to see you at the upcoming PA Navigator Network Symposium to learn more about how to improve your services from our expert speakers, brainstorm ideas and learn from each other, and expand your network of colleagues in Pennsylvania.
Hope to see you in State College! And don’t forget to take home some of that Creamery ice cream!!!!!