Nancy Pena ONP-CG, CMI, BS

Director/Founder, Navegación de Pacientes Internacional, Inc./Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Through her love of patient empowerment and education, Nancy has experienced how the role of a patient navigator has the potential to inspire change. Since starting with the Pap Smear Evaluation Center at Brigham & Women’s/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in 2005, she has worked to help some of the most high-risk patient populations. This includes patients with abnormal findings, those with a high risk of cervical cancer and other gynecological related cancers. As part of her navigation role,

Nancy has helped patients access the right care and provides them with concrete resources such as education sessions and materials related to their treatments.

One major area Nancy has helped introduce change is by reducing the number of canceled or missed appointments by patients. By implementing new protocols, she has been able to determine the “reasons” why this issue occurs and has established process on how to follow through. As part of this process, she now calls patients six days prior to their appointments to help reduce any potential barriers that may prevent the patient from coming to the appointment. This includes offering transportation, resources, and, rescheduling option if needed. This has help reduce missed appointments from 49% to 29%.

Most recently, Nancy has started enrolling patient in the Patient Gateway Portal. She uses this tool to empower patients to take control of their care. This allow the patient’s access to their appointments, test results, and direct communication with their providers. Nancy is also developing the first patient navigator program in her native home of Guatemala. Since 2016, she has trained volunteer navigators that support low-income women and help them get access to health care. In addition, Nancy produces a local television show for the last six years. She uses this media platform to educate Hispanic communities about the importance of healthcare prevention/screening and offers discusses available resources.