Development and Evaluation of Patient Navigation Training for Rural and Appalachian Populations

Mark Dignan, Sharon Dwyer, Mark Cromo, Margaret Geertz, Roshmita Bardhan, Eric Stockton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Appalachian region of the USA includes 423 counties in 13 states positioned along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains stretching from New York to Mississippi. Approximately 42% of Appalachia is rural, and while the economy of Appalachia has diversified over the past two decades from reliance on agriculture and coal mining, 176 (41.6%) of the 423 counties are classified as economically distressed or at-risk. Patient navigation (PN) has been shown to be effective as an approach to address multiple barriers and enhance access to healthcare services, and yet there are no known PN programs focusing on the Appalachian population. This project was designed to develop, implement, and evaluate a curriculum and training program for PN for cancer prevention and control in Appalachia. The training program was developed through formative evaluation and offered daylong workshops that provided instruction in 60–90-min modules. Workshop topics included an introduction to PN, Appalachian culture, community needs assessment, communication, financial navigation, and navigation for screening and diagnostic follow-up for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers. A total of 20 workshops were conducted with 334 attendees. The workshops were evaluated using a mixed-method approach using pre- and posttests and participant evaluations. The overall mean posttest scores increased by 4% from pretest (p < 0.05). Evaluation also showed that attendees valued the focus on Appalachian culture and judged the content relevant and useful. Attendees also expressed interest in additional opportunities for similar workshops that expanded upon current topics and allowed for exploration of Appalachian health-related issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1077-1083
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cancer Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s) under exclusive licence to American Association for Cancer Education.


  • Appalachia
  • Evaluation
  • Patient navigation
  • Training program

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Development and Evaluation of Patient Navigation Training for Rural and Appalachian Populations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this