Patient Navigation

Our Patient Navigation Workgroup has designed interventions to reduce illness and death from cancer for women living east of the Anacostia River.

Black Women Thriving East of the River will strengthen existing patient navigation systems to ease the burden of a woman’s cancer journey by addressing the barriers that prevent patients from prioritizing cancer screenings, prevention, treatment, and survivorship care.

Calling All Who Support Cancer Patients!

The Cancer Patient Support and Navigation Survey will help us understand what services and supports are currently provided, at various institutions across DC, to help people with abnormal cancer screenings or diagnosed with cancer manage and navigate treatment and care resources. In this survey we refer to this as “navigation services.” People providing navigation services may have different titles including but not limited to nurse navigators, patient navigators, care coordinators, referral coordinators, community health workers, social workers, and patient or medical advocates.

If you are a person who helps guide patients through the healthcare system, including helping patients make various appointments; communicate with their providers, insurance companies, employers, or lawyers; or helping them with finding financial, legal, or social support 

Please click the button below to complete the survey

Roadmap to Change

Strengthen and expand the patient navigation infrastructure

Address misogynoir in healthcare

Increase education and awareness of the role of patient navigation in care

Patient Navigation

Our Interventions Include:

Cancer navigation training. A curriculum will inform patients, practitioners, and care providers about the importance and benefits of patient navigation across the cancer care continuum. We will support women on their cancer journey by building a database of caregivers and providers.

Cancer clinical trials training. Despite clinical trials being an essential way to access innovative cancer care, less than a quarter of Black people nationwide report being informed of clinical trial options by healthcare providers. Our intervention will provide researchers and providers with concrete strategies to ensure regular inclusion of Black patients in clinical trials, while tracking referrals and enrollment of Black women.

Thought leader forum with integrative wellness champions. Integrative wellness is an evidence-based strategy to advance cancer care. Convening champions of the model will define integrative wellness in the District and advance availability for Black women in Wards 7 & 8, improving women’s experience and health outcomes. 

Cancer Data Infrastructure Task Force. This intervention will establish an entity to convene key stakeholders across the District that collect cancer data relevant to District residents. Convening regularly, the task force will perform a landscape analysis of cancer data that identifies cancer data inequities, with special attention paid to Wards 7 & 8. 

Increase to the number of Black women practitioners. Black women East of the River tell us they strongly prefer healthcare providers that look like them but only about 5% of medical doctors are Black. To increase this number, we will support a sustainable pipeline for Black healthcare providers and advance Black women entering the health field. 

Anti-misogynoir training. Misogynoir is the intersection of anti-Black racism and misogyny resulting in the gaslighting of Black women. We will establish anti-misogynoir training for health practitioners so they can gain an understanding of the ways in which implicit and explicit levels of racism and misogynoir manifest in healthcare delivery. 

Cancer Patient Bill of Rights for Black women East of the River and annual assessment. The Bill of Rights will include measures for accountability, including regular assessments of cancer clinics, primary care centers, and hospitals that serve Black women in Wards 7 & 8 to ensure that healthcare settings and/or systems are honoring Black women East of the River.

“Best practices” position statement on dismantling misogynoir. A position statement will center the humanization of Black women while advocating for increases in Black healthcare providers and training to eliminate anti-Black racism across the healthcare system.

Cancer navigation landscape analysis. We will map the current cancer navigation continuum; outline various roles and settings in which navigation takes place; understand what types of navigation services are being provided; and where and when they are provided with the goal of improving their quality and efficiency.

Augment cancer patient navigation system. We seek to increase the number of patient navigators available to Black women in Wards 7 & 8, as well as augment the breadth and depth of services by creating a patient navigation coordinating body. The patient navigator network will provide an infrastructure to better facilitate the transfer of patients between primary care and specialty care, ongoing training and information sharing for patient navigators, and better access to patient navigation resources.

Tiered approach to cancer patient navigation. We will develop guidelines for patient care that are tiered to meet the needs of Black women in Wards 7 & 8. A standardized assessment tool will be developed based on existing research and validated for Black women East of the River.

Sustainable funding and reimbursement for cancer patient navigation. We want to create and test a methodology that could establish sustainable funding for cancer patient navigation. This could be based on the Collaborative Approach to Public Good Investments model that utilizes funding from multiple sources.


Black residents experience cancer at a 54% higher rate than White residents


Cancer mortality rates for Black people are 90% higher than Whites

2023 Path to Quality Jobs & Health Equity Report