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GW Cancer Institute Develops First Free, Online, Comprehensive Training for Patient Navigators

WASHINGTON (May 7, 2015) — The George Washington University (GW) Cancer Institute has developed the first free, online, comprehensive training that covers the fundamentals of oncology patient navigation in the U.S. The training, funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is evidence-based and supported by the GW Cancer Institute’s groundbreaking research in this emerging field.

“Patient navigation addresses barriers to care, ultimately improving health outcomes,” said Mandi Pratt-Chapman, director of the GW Cancer Institute, housed within the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “Training for patient navigation is usually in-person, expensive, and not necessarily evidence-based. Our training is accessible to anyone who is or wants to be a patient navigator and goes a long way in establishing standards of practice for the field.”

Commission on Cancer (CoC) accredited cancer centers across the U.S. have been asked to meet the American College of Surgeons’ CoC Patient Navigation standard. This new standard is now required for accredited programs. This will have a major impact on the way cancer care is delivered in the U.S.

“This training will allow cancer centers and their institutions to keep pace with new patient navigation standards, raise the caliber of their patient navigation program, and protect themselves from potential legal liability,” said Pratt-Chapman. “This training ensures that non-clinically licensed oncology patient navigators have a solid foundation.”

The GW Cancer Institute patient navigation training covers topics such as:

  • Medical terminology and cancer basics,
  • health care payment financing,
  • the role of the patient navigator in the collaborative health care team,
  • communicating in a culturally sensitive way with diverse patients,
  • patient advocacy,
  • and ethics and patient rights.

The GW Cancer Institute has recently published the first national core competencies developed for oncology patient navigators. Ongoing research on the value of patient navigation in cancer care is underway. Pratt-Chapman is leading a task force through the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN+) to develop a national certification process for patient navigators to be administered in 2016. AONN+ is the largest professional member organization for patient navigators in the U.S.

The GW Cancer Institute is grateful to the many organizations and individuals who contributed to the training. This work was supported by Cooperative Agreement #1U38DP004972-02 from the CDC. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the CDC.

For more information or to interview Ms. Pratt-Chapman, please contact Lisa Anderson at or 202-994-3121.


About the GW Cancer Institute
The GW Cancer Institute (GWCI), housed within the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, takes a comprehensive approach to a complex disease. The mission of the GW Cancer Institute is to foster healthy communities, prepared patients, responsive health care professionals and supportive health care systems through applied cancer research, education, advocacy and translation of evidence to

About the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Founded in 1824, the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) was the first medical school in the nation’s capital and is the 11th oldest in the country. Working together in our nation’s capital, with integrity and resolve, the GW SMHS is committed to improving the health and well-being of our local, national and global communities.