Office of Health Disparities Research

Addressing Health Disparities is Our Priority.

October 19, 2018

Mayo Clinic, Arizona Celebrating a Valued Collaboration

By Sumedha G. Penheiter

Mayo Clinic, Arizona Campus is proud to share a milestone 10-year anniversary with its valued partner, Phoenix Indian Medical Center (PIMC). The collaboration, initiated in 2006 by Dr. Tom Fitch during his tenure as chair of the division of Hematology and Medical Oncology, now involves a team of five Mayo oncologists (Donald Northfelt, Harshita Paripati, Mahesh Seetharam, Parminder Singh, Daniel Ahn). The recently renewed contract with the Indian Health Service provides a Mayo hematologist/oncologist on-site at PIMC every Wednesday throughout the year, serving as staff physician in the "Oncology Center of Excellence" at PIMC and seeing 100— 200 tribal members annually with new diagnoses of cancer or blood disorders.

The collaboration demonstrates that high-quality cancer care can be provided to underserved populations via unique collaborations between academic oncology programs (Mayo) and UMP (Under-represented Minority Patient)-focused care providers (PIMC). UMP are underrepresented in cancer clinical trials, thus limiting the generalizability of the research. As a National Cancer Institute-Comprehensive Cancer Center, Mayo Clinic embraces the responsibility to ensure that its cancer care reaches a diverse patient population, and its relationship with PIMC is a key component of that commitment.

Importantly, this is the only known program of its kind in the country. By embedding the cancer provider in the community, Mayo Clinic physicians are able to build trust with the underserved community and create a direct pathway to quality care and clinical research. In just ten years (2008—2017), 356 breast cancer patients and 259 colorectal cancer patients were seen by Mayo Clinic oncologists and the PIMC nurse practitioner, with a subset of those patients referred from PIMC to Mayo Clinic cancer clinical trials. Prior to the established partnership, no Native American patients were referred to Mayo clinical trials from PIMC. Particularly in the past two years, since becoming OHDR Site Director in Arizona, Donald Northfelt, MD, has concentrated on streamlining the process of Oncology care for Native Americans through PIMC, especially their participation in cancer clinical trials, and has worked with the OHDR Arizona staff and others to improve access for Native Americans via Indian Health insurance coverage. OHDR congratulates all the Phoenix Indian Medical Center and Mayo Clinic personnel who have made—and continue to make—this important collaboration a thriving example of a community-engaged approach to eliminating health disparities.

This video highlights Mayo Clinic’s partnership with the Phoenix Indian Medical Center (PIMC), and how the collaboration helps provide PIMC patients with access to Mayo cancer clinical trials. (~ 4 minutes).

Tags: Arizona news, Mayo Clinic, News, news

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