Advancing patient-centered cancer care

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 1.9 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2023.1

Despite advances in cancer diagnosis and management, access to high-quality cancer care can often be challenging in the U.S., especially for people from underserved communities. The delivery of cancer care is often fragmented and poorly coordinated; as a result, many patients face challenges to receiving timely and patient-centered care.

Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care

In response to these challenges, the Merck Foundation established the Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care (“the Alliance”) with a commitment of $15 million from 2017 to 2021. The Alliance and its programs helped increase timely access to patient-centered care and reduce disparities in cancer care for underserved populations in the U.S.


The Alliance programs sought to strengthen patient-centered care by: 

  • Improving care coordination and helping integrate cancer care with primary care and other specialty services
  • Enhancing communications between patients and healthcare providers as well as engaging patients in their care and treatment decisions
  • Providing comprehensive psychosocial services and other supportive care for patients and their families

Program sites

Through grants to six organizations across the U.S., the Foundation supported evidence-based, multidisciplinary programs to enhance the delivery of cancer care.

Alliance program sites deployed intentional strategies to support underserved populations, tailoring interventions to meet local needs and effectively address barriers to quality cancer care in their communities.

The University of Michigan’s School of Nursing served as the National Program Office for the Alliance, providing technical assistance to grantees, fostering collaboration among grantees and community partners, and leading efforts to disseminate program information to policymakers and other key stakeholders.

Learn more about the results of the Alliance and its programs

1 American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2023. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2023