Indian Health Service Online Submission, Consultation, and Reporting (OSCAR) System for Evidence Based and Promising Practices, Local Efforts, Policies and Resources. (logo: A Circle of Healthy Initiatives for American Indians and Alaska Natives)

Preliminary Lessons Learned from “Native Navigators and the Cancer Continuum [NNACC]

Program Type: Promising Practice -Programs not formally evaluated (or formal evaluation is not yet complete) but identified by experts as programs with results suggesting efficacy and worthy of further study in broader pilot implementation efforts.

The Native American Cancer Research Corporation [NACR] implemented community-based participatory research [CBPR] in 1988, and they began to employ community-based patient navigators in 1994. The navigators’ original focus was on early detection and screening, but later expanded to include support services after patients were diagnosed with cancer. As the American Indian population has become increasingly mobile in recent years—periodically moving from reservation to urban area and back again, some American Indian cancer patients have become disconnected from these programs, or they never were aware of American Indian cancer navigators. In response, NACR developed a new initiative to increase the visibility of local “Native Navigators” and to improve prevention and early detection services to American Indian community members in these more fluid settings. Each participating American Indian community organized twelve 2-hour training sessions during the year that were presented by the Native Navigator for that community. Four main cancer topics were presented: prevention, early detection, quality of life/survivorship, and palliation. Training session slides are available for review at Each community also had the opportunity to modify some of the workshops to meet their specific local needs. An audience response system [ARS] was used to anonymously collect basic information and responses to questions from the participants. This and other information was collected for later evaluation of the program’s success in the various tribal settings. Family fun events such as health fairs, bingo games, and outdoor picnics served as the introduction to the year-long series of training sessions, and a wrap-up family fun event was held three months after the last training event. These wrap-up events provided an opportunity for the Native Navigators to present the results of the training and to collect additional information about the participants. The results of these workshops over a three-year period were a greater than 25 percent increase in cancer knowledge among participants, increased requests for help in scheduling and completing cancer screening or diagnostic appointments among workshop participants, and an overall increase in the visibility of the Native Navigators in the communities they serve. “This resulted in patients with cancer receiving improvements in timeliness and quality of care.”

Age Group(s):

Site Type(s):

Health Indicator(s):
Health Education

Service Area:

Cancer screening


Name: NACR
Site or Location Name: Native American Cancer Research Corporation [NACR]
3022 South Nova Road
Pine, CO 80470
Phone: [303] 838-9359