For nearly 30 years, ACS has viewed patient navigation as a critical strategy in reducing health disparities across the cancer continuum, with demonstrated effectiveness at removing barriers and increasing access to care through the provision of coordinated, patient-centered support.
With over 1.9M people diagnosed with cancer annually, the goal of the American Cancer Society Navigation Support Program is to provide people with cancer and caregivers direct, individualized, in-person non-clinical navigation assistance that delivers timely information to reduce distress, resources to mitigate barriers to care, and emotional support to improve the cancer experience.
ACS is looking to recruit college/graduate students to become ACS CARES: Clinic Volunteers at nearby participating health systems to provide people with cancer and caregivers non-clinical navigation support throughout the cancer journey. ACS will provide the Clinic Volunteers with support (including continuing education and technical assistance), and data collection tools to maximize project outcomes.
ACS CARES: Clinic Volunteer Role
ACS CARES: Clinic Volunteers are college/graduate students who are ACS-trained to provide people with cancer and caregivers direct, individualized, non-clinical navigation assistance throughout the cancer journey. These volunteers will be placed at health systems and will:
- Meet with patients and/or caregivers while they are waiting for their appointment or during chemotherapy infusions Utilize the validated NCCN-based ACS social determinants of health needs assessment and distress screening tool to identify and document concerns and barriers to care in a secure platform (NurseNav)
- Assist patients and/or caregivers draft questions to discuss with their provider Take notes for patients during clinic appointments
- Conduct follow-up calls to assist patients and/or caregivers in accessing ACS and health care system information and resources
- Does NOT include accessing or documenting in the health care system EMR
- Time spent will count towards clinical hours
- Course credit may be available (to be determined on a case-by-case basis)
- Receive specialized navigation support training, including patient privacy, how to function in the health care setting, and coordinating with professional navigators
- Have dedicated ACS staff members to field questions and provide support
- One year commitment is required (academic school year) Must be available for one 4-hour shift per week
- Additional time commitment should be allotted for volunteer meetings and continued training/education Ages 18 and up
- Actively enrolled as a student at the partnering college/university Comfortable using technology
- Access to a computer with reliable internet access Pass background check
- Complete application, interview, and required ACS training plus fulfill continued learning requirements throughout volunteer term
- Must comply with hospital-based training and health requirements (i.e., on-site training, vaccination requirements, etc.)
ACS CARES Clinic Volunteers will work directly with patients, caregivers, and providers, and thus are in close contact with patient health information. Extensive training will be provided to ensure you feel comfortable and prepared to perform this role. The self-paced training curriculum is to be completed virtually over the summer prior to beginning in the clinic. There will also be one full day of in-person training which will likely occur during syllabus week. Continuing education will be provided during division meetings throughout the semester.
How to Apply
- Visit the ACS Volunteer Community page and select the pilot site you are interested in applying
- You will be prompted to complete a Volunteer Community
- After creating your profile, you will be able to access the
- Submit your application as soon as
- Qualified applicants will be invited to participate in virtual interviews
Please note: The application evaluation and interview process is on a rolling timeline.
Leadership opportunities will be available for experienced volunteers after the 2023-24 pilot year of the ACS CARES program concludes. These positions will work closely with ACS CARES staff to recruit, select, and manage new clinic volunteers, and facilitate communication with health care providers to expand the ACS CARES program to new clinic locations. Applications for these leadership positions will open in the spring of 2024.
Questions? Email ACSCARES@cancer.org.