Linda Fleisher, PhD, MPH
Linda Fleisher, PhD, MPH, Associate Research Professor in the Cancer Prevention and Control research program at Fox Chase Cancer Center, was recently appointed Co-Chair of the American Cancer Society’s National Navigation Roundtable.
Patient navigators act as intermediaries between patients and their clinical care team across the cancer continuum, from access to screening to survivorship. They assist patients through the treatment process by connecting them to resources and providing information that allows them to make informed decisions. The goal of patient navigation is to eliminate barriers to access for health services.
“The idea of the roundtable is to bring various stakeholders together to have a big tent for patient navigation, where we can strategize about the kinds of policies, and potentially legislation, that need to be put in place. It’s really to connect these various organizations in the field of navigation to create long-term sustainability of this profession,” Dr. Fleisher said.
The roundtable, which was started in 2017, consists of more than 50 members who, through patient navigation, work toward achieving health equity and access to quality care. Members of this national coalition include organizations and invited individuals from areas such as academia, public health, advocacy, and survivor groups.
Dr. Fleisher has served on the steering committee for the roundtable for the past 5 years. In that role, she has been responsible for leading much of the communication efforts for it.
She said much of her work in the new position will focus on activities surrounding sustainability of patient navigation. This work will include efforts to create a designation for navigation as a profession and, ultimately, reimbursement for those individuals in the field.
“Navigators are part of the clinical team in the sense that they’re supporting patients, but they’re not providing direct clinical care. Therefore, it’s not currently reimbursable,” said Dr. Fleisher. “It’s a major issue in the field because basically where organizations have navigators, the organization has seen the value and supports those positions, but it is challenging for long-term sustainability.”