Checking in today from New York City ….
I spent much of the day today with a hero, Dr. Harold P. Freeman. Dr. Freeman is my friend, a member of the LAF board of directors and the medical director of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention in Harlem.
But more than all that, Dr. Freeman is a hero. He is the pioneer of the concept known as Patient Navigation and our county’s leading authority on race and cancer.
Doug and Andy and I had lunch with Dr. Freeman at Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem on Lenox Avenue and the parade of his neighbors and friends who stopped by the table to say hello made it clear that he is beloved. Dr. Freeman believes that cancer screening and treatment should be available to everyone. The Ralph Lauren Center helps him deliver on that promise. The members of this community are his patients.
After an incredible lunch of fried chicken, cornbread and macaroni and cheese, we took pictures with the famous Sylvia and her daughter.
Then we headed to the Ralph Lauren Center, which is a community-based center for prevention, diagnosis and treatment. We visited with a few patients in the infusion rooms and toured new area for colonoscopy and also saw what will become a Patient Navigator training institute.
A Patient Navigator helps a person understand and access what they need from the medical system, which you all know can be complicated and intimidating. Dr. Freeman says there are many barriers to good care, like financial, communication and information challenges. The Patient Navigator knows the system and knows how to help the patient through it. Patient Navigators make sure people get treated.
The Ralph Lauren Center is doing amazing things.
And so next we visited the guy who funded it, Ralph Lauren. We had a great visit with him and we were sure to thank him for this unique contribution to the fight against cancer.
More to report tomorrow …