Sanja Percac-Lima, M.D.

Physician Investigator (Cl)
Mass General Research Institute
anatomy; colposcopy; communication barriers; community health centers; early detection of cancer; emigrants and immigrants; healthcare disparities; mammography; patient education as topic; refugees; vaginal smears; vertebral artery; vulnerable populations

Sanja Percac-Lima, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor in medicine at Harvard Medical School and a primary care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital's Chelsea Community HealthCare Center, serving predominantly low income, Latino and immigrant population. The primary focus of her research and clinical innovations is cancer prevention in ethnic and racial minorities.

In 2006 she received the Mass General Clinical Innovation Award to design patient navigation program for colorectal cancer (CRC) screening at MGH Chelsea. The program eliminated disparities in CRC screening at the health center and the National Cancer Institute selected it as one of only ten evidence based program to improve CRC screening in United States. For this program in 2011, Dr. Percac-Lima received the Prevent Cancer Prevention Foundation Laurel for Innovative Programs.

In her role as the physician leader for Cancer Outreach Programs at the Mass General Center for Community Health Improvement, she is actively involved in efforts to expand navigator programs across cancer centers affiliated with Harvard Medical School and the Partners Healthcare System. In 2009, with support from Susan G. Komen MA Affiliate, she designed a breast cancer screening patient navigation program for female refugees from Somalia, the Middle East and Bosnia. In 2012, she developed the TopCare patient navigator program as a part of population management system for comprehensive preventive cancer screening for all underserved patients within the Mass General primary care network.

In collaboration with the Mass General Cancer Center, in 2014 she received a grant from Lazarex Cancer Foundation to expand patient navigation and further improve equity in cancer care. Most recently, she also received the Cancer Control Career Development Award for Primary Care Physicians from American Cancer Society to develop patient navigation to improve prevention and early detection of lung cancer.

As a Harvard Medical School Center for Primary Care fellow Dr. Percac-Lima is involved in practice innovations and mentors students and residents. She teaches and has served as a preceptor for internal medicine residents since 2003. 

Dr. Percac-Lima received her MD and PhD from University of Zagreb School of Medicine in Croatia. Her education in United States includes a fellowship in medical education at Harvard Medical School, residency in internal medicine at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Newton, MA, and fellowship in geriatric medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.