Local Health Organizations Receive Funds to Address Barriers to Care for Cancer Patients
September 19, 2016

The Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center and Healthy Acadia were recently awarded a 3-year grant from the Maine Cancer Foundation’s Challenge Cancer: 20/20 Initiative to support efforts to reduce barriers to care for cancer patients. The two organizations will work together to implement a robust, patient-centered cancer patient navigation system in Washington County that serves community members across the continuum of care, in collaboration with other partners in the region.

The Downeast Cancer Patient Navigation System will align with the Challenge Cancer 2020 initiative to cut cancer rates in Maine 20% by the year 2020. The multi-year project will include coordination of cancer prevention efforts, early detection, and treatment. The project will serve Washington County, as a region of highest need, and it will work to reduce cancer incidence and mortality rates in Maine as well as reduce barriers to care.

According to a recently conducted community needs assessment through the Washington County Health and Wellness Network, cancer is one of the two top health issues affecting residents. Top concerns related to cancer were the high rates of cancer, the difficulties in navigating the system, lack of people who can advocate for and support patients, limited communication about available services, transportation challenges, limited early detection, and limited education. Additionally, in a 2013 needs assessment funded by Maine Cancer Foundation, Washington County cancer patients identified critical needs as “assistance with navigation, information and referral, one-to-one peer support, and advocacy.”

The grant award will support a full-time Cancer Patient Navigator position in Washington County for the first year of the project, with a requirement that matching funds be raised for years two and three. The Navigator will provide one-on-one assistance to cancer patients per year across a continuum of care to ensure best quality care, address barriers, and empower patients to be in control of their healthcare.
The incumbent will be based in Healthy Acadia’s Washington County office located at 121 Court Street, Suite A in Machias. For a full position description, visit www.healthyacadia.org. Application deadline is October 18, 2016 or when a suitable applicant is found.