Ten years ago, the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention was established in partnership with the nation’s leading cancer center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. As of today, the Ralph Lauren Center has cared for approximately 100,000 patients and 13,000 uninsured individuals from all five New York City boroughs.
The Ralph Lauren Center, the only outpatient facility of its kind in Harlem, is an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Its mission is to provide the highest quality cancer care and prevention to NYC’s underserved populations in a culturally competent and patient-centered manner, with the goal of eliminating barriers to care and reducing disparities.
Specialists at the Ralph Lauren Center make treatment possible for a wide range of cancers, and all patients have access to psychotherapy and pain management services, as well as treatment of rare cancers through referrals to inpatient services at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and other hospitals. The Ralph Lauren Center provides prevention education and health information to the Harlem community and beyond, and works diligently to effect reform in national healthcare policy, focusing especially on changes in reimbursement for those that provide care to underserved populations.
One of the cornerstones of the Ralph Lauren Center is the Patient Navigation Program pioneered by Dr. Harold Freeman, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Ralph Lauren Center. Under the current CEO, Dr. Gina Villani, the Ralph Lauren Center has expanded its navigation efforts to include clinical nurse navigators, who assist patients diagnosed with cancer from the time of diagnosis to survivorship. Nurse navigators provide much needed education, referrals and support with the goal of reducing hospitalizations, increasing treatment compliance and completion and enhancing quality of life and survivorship, ultimately reducing disparities in care and improving the outcome for New York City’s underserved.
The Ralph Lauren Center is an extension of Ralph Lauren’s ongoing commitment to cancer research and care. More than 20 years ago, after his close friend and Washington Post fashion editor, Nina Hyde, was diagnosed with breast cancer, Ralph Lauren made a commitment to focus his philanthropic efforts on improving care for this devastating disease. In 1990, he co-founded the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research at Georgetown University Medical Center and in 1994, he led the fashion industry in its support of breast cancer research by working with the Council of Fashion Designers of America to launch Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, a charitable initiative that focuses on raising public awareness and funds for the breast cancer cause.