Clinicians, hospitals, and health systems are searching for new ways to improve the oncology patient experience and promote health equity. The ongoing pandemic has complicated this push for improvement, as providers and health systems have had to change care delivery practices dramatically to protect patients from COVID-19. Furthermore, health equity has received significant attention over the past 18 months and has spotlighted the desperate need for improved equity in all facets of health care, including the ways we interact with, include, and treat patients with cancer.

This 3-hour summit convened and informed health policy and oncology research communities about these critical issues and offer lessons, strategies, and policy approaches for the short and long term. Sessions explored best practices to improve patient-centered cancer care, the relationship between patient-centered practices and health equity, as well as policy implications and levers. Panelists included providers, researchers, policy experts, and cancer storytellers and survivors who each offered their unique perspectives throughout the summit.


12:00 – 1:15 p.m. ET | Innovating to Improve Patient-Centeredness
In this roundtable discussion, experts discussed key lessons learned from ongoing health services intervention projects to improve patient-centeredness in cancer care. Panelists focused their remarks answering the query “How do we meet patients where they are to deliver effective care?” Other discussion topics included strategies to connect with patients and their caregivers, provider training and care delivery innovations, as well as tools and practices to support patients and their caregivers.

  • Eliav Barr, M.D., Senior Vice President and Head of Global Medical and Scientific Affairs at Merck Research Laboratories (opening remarks)
  • Heidi A. Hamann, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona; Member, Cancer Prevention and Control Program, University of Arizona Cancer Center
  • Michael Holtz, Nine-Year Cancer Survivor, Patient Advocate
  • Roland Matthews, M.D., Professor and Chairman, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Morehouse School of Medicine; Medical Director, Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence at Grady
  • Reginald Tucker-Seeley, ScM, ScD, Vice President, Health Equity ZERO-The End of Prostate Cancer (moderator)

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1:20 – 1:40 p.m. ET | Fireside Chat with Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick
In this fireside chat, Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, President of Howard University, leveraged his expertise as a surgical oncologist to offer thoughts on the importance of equity in cancer care, including the role of patient-centeredness, and how disparities impact the lives of cancer patients and their families.

  • Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA, President, Howard University
  • Sarah J. Dash, MPH, President and CEO, Alliance for Health Policy (moderator)

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1:45 – 3:00 p.m. ET | Translating Lessons and Successes to Policy and Practice
Policymakers and cancer care experts came together for this conversation on how best to translate small program lessons and strategies into policy and widescale practice. Panelists discussed both policy and operational approaches to providing more equitable, patient-centered cancer care, including how best to deliver care to patients and how to train our cancer care workforce effectively.

  • Candace Henley, Chief Surviving Officer, The Blue Hat Foundation
  • Beverly Moy, M.D., MPH, Clinical Director of the Breast Oncology Program, Director of Cancer Equity, and Medical Oncologist, Massachusetts General Hospital; Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
  • Jose G. Trevino M.D., FACS, Walter E. Lawrence Jr. Distinguished Professor of Surgical Oncology; Chair, Division of Surgical Oncology; Associate Professor of Surgery; Surgeon-in-Chief, Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Jodi-Ann Burey, MPH, Creator and Host, Black Cancer Podcast (moderator)
  • Christopher Friese, Ph.D., RN, AOCN®, FAAN, Elizabeth Tone Hosmer Professor of Nursing Professor, School of Nursing, University of Michigan; Co-Director, Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care National Program Office (closing remarks)

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This program was organized by the Alliance for Health Policy, in partnership with the national program office of the Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care, and with generous support from the Merck Foundation.