Dana-Farber is committed to ensuring all patients and their families have equal access to treatment options and services.
We are also active in many screening and education programs in the Boston area, including The Dana Farber/Partners Breast and Cervical Screening Collaborative, Boston Mayor's Task Force to Eliminate Health Disparities, and numerous community education and health fairs.
As part of a strategic initiative to reduce health care disparities among diverse populations, the Patient Navigator Program facilitates access to the health care system for men and women with diverse backgrounds, low socio-economic status, limited English proficiency, disability status, or payment status (uninsured/underinsured) that may serve as a barrier to screening or follow-up care.
The Patient Navigator Program addresses the needs of people at risk for, or diagnosed with, breast, cervical or colon cancer, who enter the care system through either Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, or through two Brigham-affiliated centers: the Brookside Community Health Center and the Southern Jamaica Plain Community Health Center. These health centers are entry points for the colorectal cancer patient navigator program.
The program, which began in May 2005, offers three Patient Navigators, bilingual in Spanish, who provide culturally competent educational information, support, and assistance with identifying resources that help the patient enter and remain within the system.
The Patient Navigator Program served 553 new patients in fiscal year 2011.
The colorectal cancer program, which started in 2009, has demonstrated a reduction in the no-show rate of patients in the program from 80 percent in 2008 to 16 percent, as observed among patients from Brookside and Southern Jamaica Plain. The program also increased the number of patients in the program who scheduled appointments from 57 percent before participation in the patient navigator program to 69 percent.
Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center also maintains its support group for Latinas with cancer, Círculo de Vida; increased utilization of its collection of Spanish-language patient education materials available in its resource center; and provided educational programs to raise community awareness of colon cancer screening.
The Department of Interpreter Services is staffed by permanent and per-diem interpreters, who work with two local agencies to provide interpretation in languages that are not in the per-diem pool, and to supplement staff interpreters, including in sign language.
In FY11, Interpreter Services responded to more than 17,500 requests, in person and by telephone. The most requested languages were Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic, Haitian Creole and Mandarin.
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