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 Center, the only outpatient facility of its kind in Harlem, is an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Specialists at the Center make treatment possible for a wide range of cancers, and all patients have access to pain management and palliative care services, as well as treatment of rare cancers through referrals to inpatient services at Memorial Sloan-Kettering and other hospitals. The Center provides prevention education and health information to the Harlem community and beyond, and conducts research to help advance the understanding of the multiple factors that influence cancer care and health outcomes in medically underserved populations similar to those the Center serves.
One of the cornerstones of the Ralph Lauren Center is its Patient Navigation Program pioneered by Dr. Harold Freeman, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the Ralph Lauren Center. As part of this innovative program, each patient is assigned a navigator as his or her personal advocate and problem solver, who provides guidance through the complexities of the health care system.
The 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 eradicating the devastating disease. In 1990, he helped establish a center for breast cancer research at Georgetown University Medical Center in Nina’s name; and in 1994 led the fashion industry in its support of breast cancer research with the CFDA initiative Fashion Targets Breast Cancer.