Dorothy Austin, a nurse navigator in the University of Kansas Cancer Center’s Department of Otolaryngology, was recognized on October 7, 2018, by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) and the Kansas City Chiefs for her service to head and neck surgery patients. Austin served as the Blue KC Chiefs Kingdom Champion for the Chiefs home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and conducted the ceremonial first pass prior to the 12:00 p.m. kickoff.
“I feel so honored to be chosen,” said Austin, who has served in her current role for more than a decade. “I have lived in the KC area for most of my life and take pride in my community and doing what I can to make it better.”
As part of the Blue KC Chiefs Kingdom Champion program, Blue KC and the Chiefs recognize local citizens who make Kansas City a better place “to live, work and play” by giving them a chance to conduct the ceremonial first pass to a former Chiefs player or celebrity. Following the pre-game activities, honorees are given a tour of the Chiefs Radio Network broadcast booth and taken to a suite to watch the game.
In honor of the NFL’s Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer program, Blue KC and the Chiefs elected to honor Austin for her dedicated efforts as a nurse navigator and her commitment to improving the care received by the patients. While working in radiation oncology, Austin observed a need for navigation/care coordination for the head and neck surgery patient population and stepped in to address barriers to care for these patients. The model of navigation Austin established was then what KUCC used to develop its entire navigation program.