Mary Bird Perkins Kicks Off $2 Million North Baton Rouge Grant with New Hire

Nicole Honoré to serve as director for Alliance for Equity in Cancer Care Project

BATON ROUGE, La. – Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center has announced Nicole Honoré as director of the organization’s Alliance for Cancer Care Equity (the Alliance) project. Honoré will manage the day-to-day implementation of Mary Bird Perkins’ $2 million project funded by the Merck Foundation designed to provide evidence-informed, multi-level interventions to improve patient-centered care for communities in North Baton Rouge.

Nicole Honoré With over 25 years in education, grant management and community development experience, Honoré’s career has been defined by her extensive work in expanding opportunities for underserved and vulnerable communities. She most recently served as director of programs for 100 Black Men of Metropolitan Baton Rouge and regional director for Greater Education Opportunities Foundation (GEO). Before that, Honoré served in variety of leadership positions within the Louisiana Department of Education and as a mathematics teacher with the East Baton Rouge Parish School System. Honoré earned her BS in mathematics from Southern University and her M.Ed. in secondary mathematics from Louisiana State University.

“With her wealth of knowledge and experience, Nicole is the perfect person to lead our health equity work in North Baton Rouge,” said Angela Hammett, MSN, director of patient navigation and support services, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. “Over the course of her career, Nicole has demonstrated her unbridled passion for improving the education, health and well-being of residents in North Baton Rouge and beyond. As director of our Alliance project, Nicole will ensure that Mary Bird Perkins is effectively directing its resources to helping the community overcome barriers to cancer care and expanding access to services and treatment. She will leverage input and on-the-ground feedback from the community so that our organization remains tuned into the nuanced challenges and social drivers of health impacting residents in North Baton Rouge.”

Mary Bird Perkins was one of only a handful of cancer care organizations from around the country awarded with a Merck Foundation Alliance grant in 2022. With this funding, Mary Bird Perkins will work to improve the coordination of patient care from diagnosis through survivorship; strengthen patient engagement in treatment decisions and overall patient-provider communication; build community partnerships that address barriers to care related to social determinants of health; and provide essential psychosocial support services for residents in North Baton Rouge.

In North Baton Rouge, the incidence of cancer is higher than in any other area in Louisiana. This fact is attributed to the area’s high poverty rate. Those living in poverty have higher cancer incidence rates, poorer five-year survival rates, higher mortality rates, and are more likely to be diagnosed with a later staged disease.

Under Honoré’s leadership, the Alliance’s planning work has already begun. Mary Bird Perkins is hosting eight community listening sessions so that residents of North Baton Rouge can share their feedback on barriers to cancer care, healthcare experiences and support services needed in the community.

“I am so proud to lead this life-saving project on behalf of Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center,” said Honoré. “For too long, communities across North Baton Rouge have suffered from a variety of health inequities, including poor access to cancer care services and treatment. Whether it’s finding access to reliable transportation, securing health insurance coverage or simply finding a healthcare provider close to home, for generations, this community has worked to overcome barriers to healthcare. As I’ve done my entire career, I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work in the community.”

The Alliance project is only the latest effort by Mary Bird Perkins to advance health equity across the region. In addition to this grant, the Cancer Center is involved in four other health equity-related projects across the region. All of these projects involve targeted outreach and strategic efforts at expanding access to care for historically vulnerable communities, including African-American women, the LGBTQ+ community and others.

“At Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, we believe every community deserves access to high-quality, affordable and convenient cancer care services, resources and support,” said Hammett. “Through our innovative Prevention on the Go program, we have had the opportunity to expand access to preventive screenings across this community and beyond. Now, with the Alliance and our other grant projects in the works, we can build on this foundation and amplify our impact. We know that if we’re going to accomplish our mission to improve survivorship and lessen the burden of cancer, it’s important that every member of our community is involved.”

To learn more about the ACCE project and Mary Bird Perkins’ efforts at strengthening health equity across the region, visit


About Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center
Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is a regional cancer care organization that has been fighting cancer for more than 50 years. The cancer care organization provides care at 10 centers in Baton Rouge, Covington, Gonzales, Hammond, Houma, Opelousas, Slidell, and Natchez, Mississippi, and its service area encompasses southeast Louisiana and southwest Mississippi regions. Mary Bird Perkins has a strategic affiliation with OneOncology and the largest radiation and medical oncology groups from across the area including exclusive partnerships with Southeastern Louisiana Radiation Oncology Group, which provides radiation therapy throughout Mary Bird Perkins’ service areas, Northshore Oncology Associates, serving St. Tammany and Washington Parishes, specifically the communities of Covington and Slidell and Louisiana Hematology Oncology Associates, which services the Greater Baton Rouge area. For more information, please visit