A lay patient navigation training curriculum targeting disparities in cancer clinical trials

Debbie Chatman Bryant, Deborah Williamson, Kathleen Cartmell, Melanie Jefferson
Journal of National Black Nurses' Association: JNBNA 2011, 22 (2): 68-75
African-Americans experience a disproportionate share of thoracic cancer burden compared to Whites. Low socioeconomic status (SES) and race are factors in low clinical trial enrollment, accounting for the disparities between African-Americans and Whites. Less than 3% of newly diagnosed cancer patients enroll in clinical trials, and of that number, only 10% represent ethnic minorities. The value of clinical trials research is not generalizable without sufficient representation by ethnic minorities. Patient navigation, an intervention designed to ensure timely and efficient access to healthcare, may improve clinical trial enrollment among African-Americans in lung and esophageal trials by influencing a patient's perception of clinical trials. The lack of navigation programs and training may negatively influence standardization of navigation techniques. The purpose of this project was to deliver and evaluate an evidence-based navigation-training curriculum for "lay" navigators. The primary outcomes measured were confidence in the role as navigator, understanding a navigator's role, and knowledge and perception of clinical trials. The results revealed overall confidence in the role as lay navigators increased from pre-to-post test. Lessons learned included the need for preparatory classes to build the navigator's confidence, and additional training components in death and dying. A larger study is warranted to confirm the findings.

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