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ACCC Honors ChristianaCare Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute’s Onsite Primary Care Practice with 2022 Innovator Award

Updated October 25, 2022
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ChristianaCare’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute is the recipient of The Association of Community Cancer Center’s (ACCC) 2022 Innovator Award. 

The Graham Center is one of the first in the nation to offer primary care providers in the cancer center for patients who do not have a primary care provider.

Nicholas J. Petrelli, M.D. medical director of the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute, comments “Earning the prestigious ACCC Innovator Award for our primary care practice is an accomplishment that belongs to our entire cancer care team, which has worked long and hard to develop this unique program designed to improve our patients’ long-term health.”

Cancer patients frequently have one or more concurrent chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Cancer treatment can worsen these chronic medical problems, so it is critical for patients to see a primary care provider during treatment.

Cancer Program Clinical Director Cindy Waddington, MSN, RN, AOCN, offers insight: “We conducted an informal survey that found as many as 15 percent of our patients did not have their own primary care provider… Having a primary care provider onsite working closely with the entire cancer care team helps ensure that essential patient care beyond cancer treatment is not delayed,”

Since opening in January 2021, the program has received referrals to care for 234 patients by their oncologists for any non-cancer health concerns. “Primary care in oncology has been a long-standing challenge for cancer patients and cancer programs,” said Family Nurse Practitioner Debra Delaney, RN, MSN, ACNS-BC, FNP-BC, who provides primary care services at the Graham Cancer Center.

The ACCC explains that Innovator Award winners demonstrate the advancement of the goals of improving access, quality, and value in cancer care delivery while providing replicable solutions for other cancer programs and practices.

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