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Midwest Cancer Alliance Clinical Trials Network launches program

June 12, 2009

Cancer patients and their families have a new advocate to help them navigate the heath care system.

Through the Midwest Cancer Alliance Clinical Trials Network’s new Patient Navigator program, Carol Bush, BS, RN, will serve patients in central Kansas to help them learn what services are available to them. Her office will be based at the University of Kansas School of Medicine’s Wichita campus.

This new position represents a two-year pilot program funded by a gift of $180,000 from the Kansas Masonic Foundation.

Patient navigators are health care professionals whose primary focus is to assist patients, caregivers and families in the health care system by decreasing barriers to quality care. Services provided by a patient navigator may include arranging various forms of financial support, scheduling transportation to appointments, and helping people learn where to go for assistance with other logistical or psycho-social concerns.

“Patient navigation is an important part of the continuum of care, as it helps ensure patients navigate the often complicated health care system,” said Gary Doolittle, MD, medical director of the Midwest Cancer Alliance Clinical Trials Network. “This pilot program complements our mission to ensure patients have access to the most cutting-edge clinical trials close to home by addressing the unmet needs that often come with a cancer diagnosis.”

Through the generosity of Kansas Masons, the Kansas Masonic Foundation has provided more than $20 million in support of The University of Kansas Cancer Center’s quest to achieve National Cancer Institute designation.

“Our mission as Masons is ‘service to all mankind,’ and the Midwest Cancer Alliance is an excellent example of how the expertise of cancer physicians and researchers at KU benefits the entire state,” said Jeff Sowder, president of the Kansas Masonic Foundation Board of Directors.

“The navigator program will help cancer patients and their families, and we are pleased to be a part of building this program.”

The gift is managed by KU Endowment, KU’s official fundraising organization. Founded in 1891, KU Endowment is the first foundation of its kind at a U.S. public university.

The MCA Clinical Trials Network provides a link from The University of Kansas Cancer Center’s research laboratories to community-based oncologists across the region by pushing new discoveries out to partner sites through clinical trials. For more information about the MCA and the Patient Navigation Pilot Program, visit

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June 12, 2009
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