Category: 2023, Current Use Report

Title:New cancer prevention center tackles health disparities in DC

opening of the cancer prevention center
Ribbon cutting for the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Prevention at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center

Earlier this year, the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Prevention at Georgetown University’s Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center opened its doors at 1010 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC, building on a longstanding partnership between Georgetown and Ralph Lauren on cancer research and care.

The facility, located in Ward 8, focuses on reducing disparities in health care affecting the city’s underserved communities through patient navigation—or individualized health care guides—community educators and more. Made possible by a grant from The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation, the center is aimed at helping residents get the cancer care they need by bringing comprehensive cancer resources to underserved communities in southeast Washington (Wards 6, 7, and 8), where they have been historically lacking.

“I don’t know what would’ve happened to me if this [center] didn’t exist. I don’t speak English and Nathaly, my patient navigator, has been so helpful this past year. After my husband passed away, I had a tough time trusting the hospital and my doctors again. Nathaly’s support helped me overcome this fear and get to my mammogram this year.”

—DC-area resident

Services at the newly remodeled facility build upon the programming and impact of the Capital Breast Care Center (CBCC) to expand beyond the breast cancer-focused services offered by the CBCC, which has been a fixture in the community for 15 years. The new center offers comprehensive cancer resources to the diverse populations disproportionately impacted by lung, colorectal, prostate, and other cancers—from screening to treatment, when necessary. The center also includes a wider array of cancer-focused services, targeted outreach, and education in collaboration with MedStar Health, Georgetown’s academic health system partner.

“We’ve been working at this location and in this community with breast cancer patients for 15 years, and what we know from that work and those relationships—along with research—is that addressing cancer disparities in communities and meeting people where they are makes a real difference,” explains Lucile Adams-Campbell, PhD, founding director of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Prevention and associate director for minority health and health disparities research at Georgetown Lombardi. “We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to now expand our focus on breast cancer to address colorectal, lung, and prostate cancers, because when we work directly with and in communities most impacted, we see dramatic improvements in early detection, diagnostic, treatment, and preventive measures.”

“Tyra, my patient navigator, goes above and beyond in making it convenient for me to make my appointments. To make sure I am following my screening guidelines, she calls every 6 months to schedule my mammography appointments. I really appreciate her time and service; she has eased my fears and made me feel like I had genuine support. She didn’t make me feel like a customer, but rather a person, and I love that.”

—DC-area resident

Addressing disparities through patient navigation

Patient navigators play an important role in educating communities about cancer and helping patients overcome barriers to care and access. Research shows that patient navigators help reduce cancer disparities by guiding patients through the complex and vast health care system. Patient navigators and other community-focused educators have been proven to help eliminate cancer disparities from diagnosis through treatment by assisting patients with:

  • Lack of transportation, child care or elder care
  • Language barriers
  • Medical mistrust
  • Fear of what a screening, test or diagnosis will mean

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