June 20, 2008
Three giants support a worthy cause

MGH Cancer Center friends and supporters convened under the Bulfinch Tent May 29 for a luncheon celebrating the establishment of a new position created to add greater support for cancer patients at the MGH — the American Cancer Society (ACS) patient navigator for the Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center. In collaboration with the MGH Cancer Center, this position — currently held by Abby Losordo, formerly of MGH Social Services — was made possible by a generous gift from AstraZeneca (AZ) and reflects the commitment of all three organizations to helping cancer patients and their families gain access to vital cancer resources and support. In addition to informing patients about ACS resources, the navigator orients patients and families to the network of MGH services — such as MGH Social Services, the HOPES Program and the Cancer Resource Room. The navigator also serves as their point of contact for various outside resources — including lodging, transportation and childcare — that help make their time in cancer treatment easier.

patient navigator groupNAVIGATING CANCER RESOURCES: From left, Nancy Kane, MS, RN, AOCN, vice chair of the ACS New England Division Board of Directors; Thomas F. Delaney, MD, clinical director of the Francis H. Burr Proton Therapy Center; Slavin; Losordo; Donald J. Gudaitis, chief executive officer of the ACS New England Division; and Lisa Schoenberg, vice president of Specialty Care for AZ

Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president, remarked, "Simply put, patient outcomes improve with navigators. With Abby's help, patients' needs for information, day-to-day help and emotional support will be effectively anticipated and met."

Leaders from AZ and the ACS then spoke, thanking the MGH Cancer Center for the dedication and support that led to the creation of the new position. Losordo, who has served as navigator for the past three months, has already received 110 patient referrals. In her remarks, she described an orthodox Jewish patient who had come from abroad to be treated at the MGH. Because he was unfamiliar with his new surroundings, she put him in touch with an orthodox Jewish community in the area and helped him locate kosher restaurants and foods nearby.

"Patients are just so happy to have a face to put with a name," said Losordo. "I'm happy to be their 'go-to' person around the Proton Center, and it's wonderful to know that patients feel comforted by my presence."

For more information about the Cancer Center, access http://www.massgeneral.org/cancer/.

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