Cancer Care Alliance: Improving Cancer Care Processes in Community Health Centers


AllianceChicago is working with Dr. Melissa Simon at Northwestern University on a quality improvement project to improve processes around cancer care in the primary care setting. Primary care in CHCs is crucial for population healthcare delivery.  However, patients facing a cancer diagnosis must seek care outside of this more familiar setting.

Over 70% of cancer patients’ care is initiated by primary care, but PCPs generally refer new cancer patients to oncology providers who are often offsite and institutionally-disconnected from the primary care medical home or community practice care site (CPC).  Once cancer is diagnosed, care at the CPC is markedly disrupted or even discontinued. This leaves a large gap in integrated primary care services for these patients, particularly those dealing with comorbid conditions such as diabetes and depression.

The overall goal of this project is to address these care gaps. Specifically, 1) to create models and approaches that bolster more connected integration between primary care and cancer care, 2) work towards building capacity, protocols & knowledge of guidelines necessary to deliver the required spectrum of care, and 3) work towards optimizing the coordination of primary care and cancer care providers across the cancer care spectrum through cancer care plans that truly bridge the CPC with the specialty oncology team from the time of diagnosis going forward.

If your health center is interested in learning more and/or participating in the project, please email us at