Articles & Updates

Patient navigation has evolved tremendously in the past few decades. Take a look at some of the courses of events that have helped shaped the industry today.

1971 – Cancer Act Signed

Around this time, the second leading cause of death among Americans was cancer, which prompted President Richard Nixon’s “war on cancer” and resulted in legislation dedicating $1.6 billion of federal funds to help eradicate the disease.

1989 – Report to the Nation on Cancer and Feedback

After a series of conversations and hearings with low-income cancer patients, the American Cancer Society released a report finding many additional challenges contributing to the disparity among cancer survival rates.

1990 – First Patient Navigation Program launched by Dr. Harold Freeman

As a result of these findings and after receiving support from the American Cancer Society, Harold P. Freeman started the first patient navigation program at the Harlem Hospital Center.

1994 – Native American Cancer Research Corp (NACR) Native Sisters Program and Training launched

NACR has been conducting community-based participatory research, cancer screening and early detection for nearly 30 years. In the early 90s, they expanded to support patients across the cancer continuum through their Native Sisters Program and Training.

2005 – American Cancer Society Launches First Patient Navigator Program

The American Cancer Society launched their first Patient Navigator Program in 2005 to support cancer patients and their families through their diagnosis and treatment.  From 2005-2020, the program assisted over 700,000 patients.

2007 – NCI Community Cancer Centers Program Established

What started off as a pilot program in 2007 serving minority populations with research, patient navigation and quality care has now grown to over 21 sites providing patient navigation across the country.

2007 – Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute launches

After pioneering the concept of patient navigation in the early 90s, Harold P. Freeman later went on to launch the Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute for the effective training of patient navigators.

2009 – Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators (AONN) formed

Ten years ago, professionals across the cancer continuum came together to establish what has now become the largest national organization outlining, promoting and improving the roles of oncology nurses and patient navigators.

2010 – The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), the Association of Oncology Social Work (AOSW), and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Release a Joint Position

Setting up the foundation for a more collaborated effort in cancer care, the ONS, AOSW and NASW worked together to release a joint position statement on the role of oncology, nursing and oncology social work in patient navigation.

2012 – Commission on Cancer releases Patient Navigation Process Accreditation Standard 3.1

The Patient Navigation Process Accreditation Standard served as an important first step in providing comprehensive cancer control professionals and cancer program administrators the right tools to close the health gap among cancer patients. This roadmap served as a guide to establish an effective patient navigation process.

2013 – ONS releases Oncology Nurse Navigator Core Competencies

After observing that oncology nurses also served as navigators working with other healthcare staff, the ONS released the Oncology Nurse Navigator Core Competencies to better define their roles and skills.

2015 – George Washington Cancer Institute Publishes Core Competencies for Oncology Patient Navigators

Featuring interactive web-based presentations and discussions, the George Washington Cancer Institute created the first consensus-based competencies for Oncology Patient Navigators.This training was supplemented by their Guide for Patient Navigators.

2016 – AONN launches Oncology Nurse Navigator and Oncology Patient Navigator Certification Exams

To ensure a standard of practice and care, the AONN established certification that created a baseline of knowledge, best practices and expertise for oncology nurse and patient navigators.

2017 – Launch of the National Navigation Roundtable (NNRT)

NNRT, a national coalition of over 50-member organizations and invited individuals, launched in 2017 with the goal of achieving health equity and improving access to quality care across the cancer continuum through effective patient navigation.

We recently celebrated our first-year accomplishments at our 2018 NNRT Annual Meeting. Watch and read the recap of the event here.

The NLCRT consists of member organizations and invited experts who reflect a broad involvement in increasing lung cancer screening, promoting tobacco treatment, and optimizing treatment for lung cancer patients. Applications for membership will be reviewed by the NLCRT Membership Committee and submitted to the NLCRT Steering Committee for approval.

General Criteria for Membership

Organizations or individuals must meet one or more of the criteria listed below to be considered for membership:

  • Have a strong interest in reducing lung cancer morbidity and mortality
  • Have outstanding expertise and reputation in lung cancer information and research
  • Have special expertise in lung cancer prevention, early detection, and treatment
  • Can deliver lung cancer education to patients and/or providers
  • Can deliver lung cancer screening services
  • Can deliver tobacco treatment services

Categories of Membership

Members of the NLCRT are grouped into three categories:

  • organizational/institutional
  • Invited individuals
  • corporate associates

Organizational/Institutional Membership

  • professional societies
  • advocacy organizations
  • federal agencies
  • cancer centers

Member organizations shall designate a representative member and an alternate member. Each member organization shall have full membership rights including the right to attend NLCRT meetings, to participate in discussion, to vote, to be a candidate for elective office, and to accept appointment to committees and task groups. Members with governmental affiliation (designated as non-advocacy members) will abstain from voting on policy issues.

Individual membership includes invited individuals with outstanding expertise in reducing lung cancer morbidity and mortality, promoting tobacco treatment, and a commitment to quality of life for lung cancer patients and survivors. Individual members shall have all of the participatory benefits of organizational/institutional members. Individuals must be invited to apply.

Corporate Membership

Companies and organizations that demonstrate a commitment to:

  • Making products that aid in lung cancer screening, prevention, and treatment. The efficacy of these products must be supported by scientific research.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to patient and provider lung cancer education and high quality screening.

Corporate associates shall have all of the participatory rights of organizational or institutional members with the exception of voting rights and/or the right to serve as an elected officer of the NLCRT. Corporate members are, however, encouraged to seek and accept appointment to task groups, for which they do not have a financial interest. An industry representative may be a member of an unrelated task group and/or subgroup, but not one in which there is the appearance of a conflict of interest. Industry representatives may participate in subgroup meetings, but they cannot be members.

The National Lung Cancer Roundtable (NLCRT) is a trusted coalition of public, private, and voluntary organizations and invited experts, dedicated to reducing the incidence of and mortality from lung cancer in the United States through:

  • coordinated leadership
  • strategic planning
  • advocacy

The NLCRT’s ongoing mission is to create lung cancer survivors. Our vision is to lower the impact of lung cancer through prevention, early detection, and optimal therapy. The NLCRT is patient-centered, evidence-based, inclusive, diverse, proactive, and visionary.

It takes many voices to create an effective coalition that is committed to raising awareness about the prevention and early detection of lung cancer. The NLCRT comprises over 80 member organizations with expertise in the areas of:

  • lung cancer prevention through tobacco treatment
  • lung cancer screening program implementation
  • shared decision-making
  • diagnosis
  • treatment
  • patient support
  • provider education

How the NLCRT Functions

The NLCRT serves as a catalyst to stimulate greater levels of collaborative engagement among member organizations’ work on key lung cancer issues. The work of the NLCRT is guided by its strategic plan with direction and input from its Steering Committee. Through the efforts of its Task Groups, the NLCRT advances initiatives that focus on primary care, tobacco treatment, shared decision-making, implementation of screening programs, access to high quality screening, triage for appropriate diagnostic evaluation and therapy, and an end to the stigma and nihilism associated with a diagnosis of lung cancer.

A fundamental premise of the NLCRT is that collective action among the member organizations will be more successful in reducing the burden of disease, and reducing that burden faster. A core principle of the NLCRT is that it will not duplicate or take on roles of member organizations; rather, the Roundtable seeks to enhance organization’s contributions to lung cancer control through greater engagement with other key organizations, as well as to take on initiatives that all organizations would judge to be worthy, but would be unlikely to initiate on their own.

Members work diligently to share information, identify needs and opportunities, and address gaps in research, programs, activities, and services relating to lung cancer. The strength of such a partnership, united in mission, enhances the work of each member and furthers the cause of lung cancer prevention, early detection, and appropriate treatment.

National Lung Cancer Roundtable (NLCRT) members are expected to attend at least one meeting per year in order to maintain membership. There are no dues or fees. Members are encouraged to actively participate on one of our many committees or task groups:


  • Bylaws Committee
  • Membership Committee
  • Nominating Committee
  • Steering Committee

Task Groups:

  • Advanced Imaging
  • Lung Cancer in Women
  • Lung Cancer Screening Implementation Strategies
  • Policy Action
  • Provider Engagement and Outreach
  • Shared Decision-Making
  • State-Based Initiatives
  • Survivorship, Stigma, and Nihilism
  • Tobacco Treatment
  • Triage for Appropriate Treatment

The committees focus on maintaining the structure and function of the NLCRT and task groups focus on producing materials, products, or studies, or convening workshops to advance issues or areas of interest and impact. The work is most often conducted by conference calls or email exchange with an occasional in-person meeting.

Generally, NLCRT members find that the more they are engaged with the NLCRT, the more they get out of it.