Only other Michigan hospital selected for the program – Saint Mary Mercy Grand Rapids – also a member of Trinity Health’s Mercy Cancer Network
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor – a member of Saint Joseph Mercy Health System and Trinity Health – is among only two new sites in Michigan and 14 sites nationally selected by the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, to join a national network of community cancer centers offering expanded research opportunities and state-of-the-art cancer care. The only other hospital in Michigan earning a spot on this prestigious list is Saint Mary’s Health Care in Grand Rapids – a fellow Trinity Health hospital.
Both St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and Saint Mary’s Health Care are members of Trinity Health’s Mercy Cancer Network, which delivers the latest in cancer diagnostics, clinical research trials and therapeutic technology to communities throughout Michigan through its 17 hospitals and cancer center locations. The Mercy Cancer Network is a member of Novi-based Trinity Health, the only national health system based in Michigan.
The NCI Community Cancer Centers Program (NCCCP) is using $40 million in funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expand its number of community hospital-based sites from 16 to 30.
St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor was awarded approximately $2.5 million that will be used over four years. The funds will create positions for 11 cancer specialists who will help in the advancement of cancer care at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor. The positions will include: genetics coordinator; continuum of care coordinator; additional nurse navigators; minority clinical research recruiter; health disparities community liaison; biospecimen specialist, oncology health disparities specialist; patient financial counselor; quality specialist; and cancer IT specialist. All of these positions will work as a team to improve cancer outcomes for patients.
“We are honored to be selected for this project in association with the National Cancer Institute,” explains Dr. Philip Stella, medical director for oncology at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor and a steering committee member of the Mercy Cancer Network. “St. Joe’s is already recognized for our cancer research; this contract allows us to take our program to the next level and expand other areas of research and care. It underscores our dedication to providing our patients with the latest and most state-of-the-art care.”
NCCCP is designed to create new research opportunities across the cancer continuum from screening and treatment to follow-up care, with an emphasis on minority and underserved populations. Expanding the NCCCP network will provide access to more patients in community cancer centers to support these research efforts.
In addition, the program is studying ways for patients to have access to the latest, evidence-based care close to where they live. For a variety of reasons, many cancer patients cannot commute to major academic medical centers for treatment. In fact, 85 percent of patients are diagnosed, and receive at least their first course of treatment, at a community hospital.
“This program allows St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor to accelerate the tempo of scientific research and advancement of cancer care,” continues Stella. “These are initiatives that we have had in our plans, but this contract allows us to implement them sooner. Over many years, we have built an excellent program with a solid infrastructure, and this contract allows us to build upon our already sturdy base.”
NCCCP centers are addressing ways to reduce healthcare disparities, improve access to clinical trials, improve overall quality of care, promote an infrastructure to collect high-quality biospecimens such as blood and tissue samples for research, and link with national computer networks that support research. The centers also work to improve survivorship, palliative care services, and patient advocacy.
The complete list of new sites:
Leaders from St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, Saint Mary’s Health Care and other NCCCP designated sites will travel to Washington, D.C. in June to meet with NCI and NCCCP leaders.
For a list of all sites in the network, visit ncccp.cancer.gov.