Cancer Program

Annual Survivorship Conference

Our annual survivorship conference brings together patients, families, caregivers, and providers to share and learn about the cancer outcomes and to explore how to better serve patients on the Navajo Nation. The conference is co-hosted with the Navajo Nation Department of Health, and is attended by community members, policymakers, and representatives from hospitals and health systems.

Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC)

Created in advance of our first survivorship conference in 2015, this council consists of cancer survivors and caregivers. PFAC members guide all of COPE's cancer programming including research by providing feedback on project activities, supporting the development of outreach and education materials, and ensuring that the lived experience of survivors and family members is the focus of our work.

The PFAC seeks to improve cancer outcomes among the Diné through meaningful community engagement by gathering and understanding the experiences from cancer survivors to develop a system for support, advocacy, and empowerment. The PFAC is motivated to be a voice for the Diné, listen well and provide empowering education, stories, and resources. Ultimately, the PFAC hopes to identify strengths in the community and use them as tools for developing solutions and improving cancer care.

COPE Cancer Coalition (CCC)

Established in 2012, the COPE Cancer Coalition is a partnership working to improve cancer outcomes on Navajo Nation by leveraging shared resources and supporting the community's existing strengths to respond to the need for better programs, services, and research as identified by the community. The coalition is focused on ensuring that care be patient-centered and involves materials developed by the community to ensure cultural relevance. Members include:

Circle of Life (COL)

The Circle of Life curriculum is a health education program that was developed by the American Cancer Society for American Indian / Alaska Native communities. To ensure that the program is specific and respectful to Navajo culture, COPE has worked with the Patient Family Advisory Committee and COPE Cancer Coalition to adapt the language, counseling strategies, images, and data in the curriculum, and has created trainings on the program for Community Health Representatives. COPE is also evaluating the impact of technology-based training and dissemination strategies on raising cancer awareness in tribal communities.

Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Engagement Contract

  • Mission: Inform and help Navajo communities about health care decisions; improve healthcare delivery

  • Produce and promote high integrity, evidence-based information through research by guiding patients, caregivers, and overall health care. Also, providing a Navajo Nation Cancer Survivorship Conference for patients and the public to have information they need to make decisions about their health outcomes.

  • Objectives: Establish a Patient & Family Advisory Committee (PFAC) to provide and develop workshops and training materials. Formalize and expand the COPE Cancer Coalition and develop a Navajo Cancer Care Roadmap.

  • Outcomes: Navajo Cancer survivors who are empowered to lead patient-centered outcomes research. Developed an effective Patient-Centered Cancer Engagement Curriculum and a Navajo Cancer Care Roadmap.


The efforts described on this page are supported by grants to COPE 501(c)3 and grants to our partner organizations, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Partners in Health.