Journal of Cancer Education

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 173–179 | Cite as

Una Mano Amiga: Pilot Test of a Patient Navigator Program for Southwest New Mexico

  • Hugo Vilchis
  • Lynn E. Onstad
  • Rachel Benavidez
  • Rebecca Castillo
  • Nigel Bush
  • Janet Sanchez
  • Mary O’Connell
  • Beti Thompson
  • Carol M. MoinpourEmail author


We conducted a pilot test of a patient navigation intervention (Una Mano Amiga) to address cancer health disparities in three rural counties in southwest New Mexico. We trained two bilingual lay health workers (promotoras) as patient navigators (PNs) to help adult cancer patients and their participating families in Grant, Luna, and Hidalgo counties “navigate” the health care system, including appropriate access to social and financial services. Our hypothesized outcome was a reduction in time from diagnosis to treatment initiation compared to the average time without PNs in each of the three counties (2000–2009). We enrolled 85 eligible patients and 43 eligible family members who had completed psychosocial and demographic forms in this PN intervention. Mean time from cancer diagnosis to treatment initiation among 41 study patients was 59.6 days across the three counties. Mean time from non-intervention comparison data was 47.1 days. In the intervention group, on a 0–10 satisfaction scale (higher = more), patient mean scores for three items ranged from 9.3 to 9.6, family members, 8.9–9.3. Caregiver stress as measured by a Caregiver Self-Assessment score ≥ 10 (highest stress = 16) decreased from 23.8% of caregivers at study entry to 14.3% at follow-up (not statistically significantly different). Although the PN intervention did not decrease time from diagnosis to treatment initiation compared to three comparison counties, positive reactions of patients and family members support further research with larger samples.


Patient navigator Cancer Rural health Health disparities 



The authors thank the patients and families who participated in this study and contributed data. Their effort made the study possible. We are also appreciative of the assistance from Marilyn Drennan in the preparation of this manuscript.


This project was supported by National Cancer Institute (NCI) [grant number U54 CA132383 and U54 CA 132381].

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© American Association for Cancer Education 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hugo Vilchis
    • 1
  • Lynn E. Onstad
    • 2
  • Rachel Benavidez
    • 3
  • Rebecca Castillo
    • 3
  • Nigel Bush
    • 4
  • Janet Sanchez
    • 5
  • Mary O’Connell
    • 6
  • Beti Thompson
    • 2
  • Carol M. Moinpour
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Burrell Institute of Health Policy Research, Burrell College of Osteopathic MedicineNew Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA
  2. 2.Public Health Sciences DivisionFred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Gila Regional Medical Center and Cancer CenterSilver CityUSA
  4. 4.National Center for Telehealth and Technology |T2|Joint Base Lewis-McChordLewis-McChordUSA
  5. 5.School of Public HealthUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  6. 6.Plant & Environmental SciencesNew Mexico State UniversityLas CrucesUSA
  7. 7.Cancer Prevention Program, Public Health Sciences Division (Emerita)Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research CenterSeattleUSA

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