Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care Webinar

A Report from the National Navigation Roundtable: The State of Patient Navigation Today

According to the American Medical Association, a patient navigator is someone who provides personal guidance to patients as they move through the health care system. Patient navigators may have professional medical, legal, financial, or administrative experience, or they may have personally faced health care-related challenges and want to help others who find themselves in similar situations1.

Patient navigators work with patients and families to help with many different needs associated with the health care system. This may include helping with insurance problems, finding doctors, explaining treatment and care options, going with patients to visits, communicating with their health care team, assisting caregivers, and managing medical paperwork1.

In 2017, the American Cancer Society (ACS) launched the National Navigation Roundtable, a collaboration of organizations dedicated to achieving health equity and access to quality care across the cancer continuum through effective patient navigation. The Alliance to Advance Patient Centered Cancer Care is proud to host Monica Dean, director of the National Navigation Roundtable at the American Cancer Society, who will be presenting a webinar titled “A Report from the National Navigation Roundtable: The State of Patient Navigation Today”. The event will feature a panel discussion with Dr. Sanja Percac-Lima of the Massachusetts General Hospital and Dr. Elizabeth Calhoun of the University of Arizona. Attendees will be able to present their own questions and interact with the hosts and other event participants. The live meeting is open to all professionals eager to learn more about the National Navigation Roundtable and patient navigation.

What: Alliance to Advance Patient Centered Cancer Care Webinar – A Report from the National Navigation Roundtable: The State of Patient Navigation Today                             When: Friday, December 14th 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST
Cost: The webinar is free for all attendees

Monica Dean, Director, National Navigation Roundtable

Monica Dean is the director of the National Navigation Roundtable (NNRT) at the American Cancer Society Global Headquarters. She is responsible for supporting, planning and implementing initiatives of the NNRT, overseeing long-term activities, implementation of strategic plans and task group action plans, while creating and maintaining collaborative partnerships with external partners and roundtable member organizations.

Monica began her career with the Society in 2001 with the South Atlantic Division, serving in mission delivery and cancer control positions, before moving into a national patient navigation position at the Society’s Global Headquarters in 2012. During her 16-year career with the American Cancer Society, Monica has contributed to a variety of initiatives at the state, regional and national levels. She currently serves on the Biden Cancer Initiative Patient Navigation Working Group and is an active member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Navigators.

She received her bachelor’s degree in Health Science with a minor in nutrition from Georgia Southern University. Monica lives in Dunwoody, Georgia with her husband and two energetic boys. Her personal interests including volunteering at her sons’ school, traveling and burning off steam at her local CrossFit gym.

Elizabeth A Calhoun, PhD, MEd

Dr. Calhoun is the Executive Director of the Center of Population Science and Discovery and a Professor in the Department of Community, Environment and Policy at the University of Arizona. In addition, Dr. Calhoun serves as the Scientific Director of Population Sciences for the Cancer Center.  She was previously the Director of the Center of Excellence in Eliminating Disparities (CEED) funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD).  In addition, she was also the Co-Director for the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Center for Population Health and Health Disparities funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the PI of an NCI-funded study to test the efficacy of a patient navigation program on improving compliance with cancer care in the largest network of federally qualified health centers in the country. She was also a member of the Commission on Cancer standards committee that requires community assessment and patient navigation services for accreditation. The Merck foundation is supporting efforts to enhance patient navigation through the cancer journey into survivorship through their Alliance to Advance Patient Centered Cancer Care, of which Dr. Calhoun is also a part of.  Finally, she serves as the co-led for the evidence-based task force for the ACS Navigation Roundtable.

Dr. Calhoun received her MEd from the University of Pittsburgh in Rehabilitation Counseling and her PhD from the University of South Carolina in Health Administration.

Sanja Percac-Lima, MD, PhD

Dr. Percac-Lima is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a primary care physician at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Chelsea Community Health Center. As Physician Leader for Cancer Outreach Programs at MGH Cancer Center, her primary goal is to improve equity in cancer care. As PI or co-investigator on foundations and government-funded grants, she develops and evaluates programs to improve cancer care in underserved populations. In 2007, she developed and evaluated a randomized controlled trial of a patient navigation (PN) program for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening for vulnerable patients seen in a community health center. The National Cancer Institute selected this program as one of only eleven evidence-based programs to improve CRC screening in the United States. This led to the implementation of the program as part of routine care with long-term follow-up, demonstrating a significant decrease in disparities in CRC screening. Her work culminated in a randomized controlled trial showing that PN for vulnerable patients using population-based health IT can improve comprehensive screening for breast, cervical and CRC within a large primary care network. In 2016 she implemented a PN program for lung cancer screening for high-risk smokers at five MGH community health centers that nearly tripled lung screening rates in this vulnerable population. Most recently, with support from Merck foundation, she has implemented a PN program to ensure that underserved patients in northeastern Massachusetts newly diagnosed with cancer receive the best possible patient-centered cancer treatment.

Dr. Percac-Lima received her MD and PhD from the University of Zagreb School of Medicine in Croatia and MPH at Harvard School of Public Health. Her education also includes residency in internal medicine at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Newton MA and fellowships in medical education at Harvard Medical School and in geriatric medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.


  1. Simon. (2017). Patient Navigators Help Cancer Patients Manage Care. American Cancer Society. Retrieved from:

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