Examining ACCURE's Nurse Navigation Through an Antiracist Lens: Transparency and Accountability in Cancer Care

Health Promot Pract. 2023 May;24(3):415-425. doi: 10.1177/15248399221136534. Epub 2022 Dec 29.


There are persistent disparities in the delivery of cancer treatment, with Black patients receiving fewer of the recommended cancer treatment cycles than their White counterparts on average. To enhance racial equity in cancer care, innovative methods that apply antiracist principles to health promotion interventions are needed. The parent study for the current analysis, the Accountability for Cancer Care through Undoing Racism and Equity (ACCURE) intervention, was a system-change intervention that successfully eliminated the Black-White disparity in cancer treatment completion among patients with early-stage breast and lung cancer. The intervention included specially trained nurse navigators who leveraged real-time data to follow-up with patients during their treatment journeys. Community and academic research partners conducted thematic analysis on all clinical notes (n = 3,251) written by ACCURE navigators after each contact with patients in the specialized navigation arm (n = 162). Analysis was informed by transparency and accountability, principles adapted from the antiracist resource Undoing Racism and determined as barriers to treatment completion through prior research that informed ACCURE. We identified six themes in the navigator notes that demonstrated enhanced accountability of the care system to patient needs. Underlying these themes was a process of enhanced data transparency that allowed navigators to provide tailored patient support. Themes include (1) patient-centered advocacy, (2) addressing system barriers to care, (3) connection to resources, (4) re-engaging patients after lapsed treatment, (5) addressing symptoms and side effects, and (6) emotional support. Future interventions should incorporate transparency and accountability mechanisms and examine the impact on racial equity in cancer care.

Keywords: antiracism; cancer care; intervention; patient navigation; qualitative; social support.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Patient Navigation* / methods