Further Conversations for Native Cancer Patient Navigators in Indian Country: Conversations of Native Navigators and Western Medicine: New Findings Presented in Relation to Using a Hybrid of Traditional Native Medicine and Western Medicine in Addressing Cancer Care

Graduate #89
Discipline: Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
Subcategory: Education

Cornelia Santos - University of Colorado Denver


American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) face poor survival rates due to medical illness that are contrary to the progress and improvements typical of modern medicine. (Pfefferbaum, Pfefferbaum, Rhoades, & Strickland, 1997). Patient navigation addresses barriers/cancer disparities in under-served populations (Freeman & Chu, 2005; Freeman, 2004). Methods and Controls: Lived experiences of 26 Native American Cancer Patient Navigators (Native Navigators) with cancer screening and cancer health were emphasized. Native Navigator was used to describe a Native American who helps an individual in a Native American community in navigating the complex system of healthcare along the cancer continuum (Eschiti, Burhansstipanov and Watanabe-Galloway, 2012). The research design for this study was developed using qualitative methods with a phenomenological approach. For data analysis: a phenomenology framework and snowball recruitment approach were utilized. Native Navigators were included from distant states as Florida and Alaska and both urban and rural settings. Collected data consisted of field notes, supporting documents and in-depth ethnographic interviews. Results: Resulting themes of Spirituality, Kinship, Native Ways of Helping and Being the Bridges between Native Traditional Medicine and Western Medicine. Conclusion and Future Research: In spite of the remarkable progress in recent years in Western Medicine, with respect to the health status of AI/AN, in virtually all health measures, the status of Indian health remains below that of other US Citizens (Pfefferbaum, R.L., Pfefferbaum, B., Rhoades, E.R., & Strickland, R.J. ,1997). New follow-up study findings with Native Navigators explore an effective solution to the current cancer disparities crises in AI/AN and may hold the keys to addressing cancer disparities in rural and other ethnic/racial populations.

References: Eschiti, V., Burhansstipanov,L.,Watanabe-Galloway, S. (2012). Native cancer navigation: The state of the science. Clin J Oncol Nurs. Feb,16(1),73-89.doi:10.1188/12.CJON.73-82.Freeman, H.P. (2004). A model patient navigation program. Oncology Issues,19,44-46.Freeman, H.P. & Chu, K.C. (2005). Determinants of cancer disparities: Barriers to cancer Screening, diagnosis, and treatment. Surgical Oncology Clinics of North America.14,655- 669. American Indians/Alaskan Natives Data and Statistics. Indian Health Service.Pfefferbaum, R.L., Pfefferbaum, B., Rhoades, E.R., & Strickland, R.J. (1997).

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Funder Acknowledgement(s): I would like to thank the SAPAI program under AGEP and the University of Colorado Denver

Faculty Advisor: Alan Davis, Alan.Davis@ucdenver.edu