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The one hundred honoree: Sanja Percac-Lima, MD, PhD

Innovation Story

The one hundred honoree: Sanja Percac-Lima, MD, PhD

Mass General Giving

Sanja Percac-Lima, MD, PhD, is recognized for her efforts to ensure that underserved populations receive the best possible cancer screening and treatment.

Dr. Percac-Lima is an assistant professor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and a primary care physician at the Mass General Chelsea Community HealthCare Center, serving predominantly low income, Latino and immigrant populations. She designed a patient navigation program for colorectal cancer screening that eliminated disparities in testing. The National Cancer Institute selected it as one of only ten evidence-based programs to improve colorectal cancer screening in the United States, and it received the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Laurel for Innovative Programs.

In her role as the physician leader for Cancer Outreach Programs at the Mass General Cancer Center and Center for Community Health Improvement, she is expanding navigator programs across cancer centers affiliated with Harvard Medical School and the Partners HealthCare System. With support from Susan G. Komen, she designed a breast cancer screening patient navigation program for women refugees. To reach out to all underserved patients within Mass General’s primary care network, she embedded patient navigation into the Partners population management system for comprehensive cancer screening.

Dr. Percac-Lima received a grant from the Lazarex Cancer Foundation in 2014 to expand patient navigation and further improve equity in cancer care, and the Cancer Control Career Development Award for Primary Care Physicians from the American Cancer Society to implement lung cancer screening patient navigation. Most recently, with support from the Merck Foundation, she is developing a patient navigation program to ensure that underserved patients newly diagnosed with cancer receive timely patient-centered care.