RWJF Center for Health Policy at UNM

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Elba L. Saavedra

Biography 

For the past 12 years, Dr. Saavedra’s academic training, behavioral research initiatives, and community-based experience have been focused on elucidating the significant impact that healthcare system and other social determinants of health have on the delivery of optimal care in breast cancer care among medically underserved and underinsured women in New Mexico. In 2003, Dr. Saavedra and local community breast cancer survivors co-created the Comadre a Comadre Program, a community-based peer patient navigation and support intervention to improve the breast cancer outcomes for Hispanic/Latina women and their loved ones. The Comadre a Comadre Program’s peer patient navigation component is a community-based adaptation of Dr. Harold Freeman’s nationally renowned Patient Navigation Model in cancer care. Dr. Saavedra is recognized both nationally and regionally for her expertise in breast cancer disparities and her research on the breast cancer experiences among Hispanic/Latina women in New Mexico. Dr. Saavedra has received numerous awards in acknowledgement of her numerous community engagement efforts and most especially for her work with the community of Hispanic/Latina breast cancer survivors and their loved ones. Dr. Saavedra’s research interests include patient centeredness in cancer care, patient navigation and healthcare systems change. Dr. Saavedra is a Research Faculty in the Health Education Program in the Department of Health, Exercise, Sports Science, at the College of Education where she teaches Healthcare System and Patient Advocacy in the Spring semesters. Dr. Saavedra has been a Senior Fellow at the RWJF Center for Health Policy at UNM since 2010.

Research Interests 

For the past 12 years, Dr. Saavedra’s academic training, behavioral research initiatives, and community-based experience have been focused on elucidating the significant impact that healthcare system and other social determinants of health have on the delivery of optimal care in breast cancer care among medically underserved and underinsured women in New Mexico. In 2003, Dr. Saavedra and local community breast cancer survivors co-created the Comadre a Comadre Program, a community-based peer patient navigation and support intervention to improve the breast cancer outcomes for Hispanic/Latina women and their loved ones. The Comadre a Comadre Program’s peer patient navigation component is a community-based adaptation of Dr. Harold Freeman’s nationally renowned Patient Navigation Model in cancer care. Dr. Saavedra is recognized both nationally and regionally for her expertise in breast cancer disparities and her research on the breast cancer experiences among Hispanic/Latina women in New Mexico. Dr. Saavedra has received numerous awards in acknowledgement of her numerous community engagement efforts and most especially for her work with the community of Hispanic/Latina breast cancer survivors and their loved ones. Dr. Saavedra’s research interests include patient centeredness in cancer care, patient navigation and healthcare systems change. Dr. Saavedra is a Research Faculty in the Health Education Program in the Department of Health, Exercise, Sports Science, at the College of Education where she teaches Healthcare System and Patient Advocacy in the Spring semesters. Dr. Saavedra has been a Senior Fellow at the RWJF Center for Health Policy since 2010.