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Champlain Region to Appoint Patient Navigator and Regional Cancer Lead to Improve Aboriginal Care

December 5, 2012 – The Champlain Region is pleased to announce it will get two new resources – an Aboriginal Patient Navigator and a Regional Aboriginal Cancer Lead – to help improve cancer care among its First Nation, Inuit and Métis (FNIM) communities.

A joint initiative of Champlain Region and Cancer Care Ontario (CCO), the Navigator and Lead roles will be filled by dedicated health-care workers who will offer individualized assistance to help residents overcome health-care system barriers and facilitate timely access to care for FNIM patients and families.

“Aboriginal Patient Navigators and Regional Aboriginal Cancer Leads were identified in CCO’s three-year Aboriginal Cancer Strategy II as vital components in delivering on our priorities of helping FNIM people to access and make their way through the cancer system and to enhance their knowledge, awareness, and experience  throughout their cancer journey. We will work closely with our community partners to recruit for these roles,” said Paula Doering, Regional Vice-President, Cancer Services, Champlain Regional Cancer Program, Cancer Care Ontario.

The appointments are part of a focused effort to help FNIM overcome their higher cancer incidence and mortality rates and better navigate the complexities of the cancer system by building more cultural competency into the system and bridging the divide between health-care professionals and their Aboriginal patients.

“The health outcomes of Aboriginal people are disproportionately lower than those of non-Aboriginal Ontarians,” said Alethea Kewayosh, Director, Aboriginal Cancer Control Unit, Cancer Care Ontario. “The Aboriginal Patient Navigator and Regional Aboriginal Cancer Lead will help FNIM peoples better understand cancer and the need to adhere to their treatment plans, provide improved support to help them more effectively cope emotionally, psychologically and physically with their cancer and potentially improve treatment results.”

Both the Aboriginal Patient Navigator and the Regional Aboriginal Cancer Lead will work through the Regional Cancer Centre and the Champlain Aboriginal Cancer Care network to engage their FNIM patients and actively implement the Aboriginal Cancer Strategy II.

The Aboriginal Patient Navigator will facilitate and coordinate access to cancer services, ensuring care is culturally appropriate; work to address the cultural and spiritual needs of patients and their families; and network with FNIM and non-Aboriginal partners.

The Regional Aboriginal Cancer Lead will focus on successful engagement and collaboration across varying primary care settings and advocate for and address the primary care needs of FNIM people in their regions.

“The addition of two new positions dedicated to serving the First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities at The Ottawa Hospital will improve cancer care in our region,” said MPP Yasir Naqvi, Ottawa Centre.  “These professionals will allow us to better respond to the needs of Aboriginal patients, and ensure better coordination amongst health-care professionals in our community.”

The second Aboriginal Cancer Strategy is a renewal of CCO’s commitment to prevent cancer by promoting healthy living, to catch it early through screening and detection services and to make sure those who do get cancer live longer and healthier lives, receiving better care every step of the way.

Media contact:

Hazel Harding
Communications Advisor
The Ottawa Hospital
E: hharding@toh.on.ca
T: 613-737-8460

The Champlain Regional Cancer Program oversees the delivery and quality of cancer services for residents of Ottawa, Renfrew, Lanark, Prescott and Russell, Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry.

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