Brittany Miller, PhD, organized and moderated the event. Dr. Miller, MECC’s Project Director, Bronx Oncology Living Daily (BOLD) Cancer Health Equity Initiatives, worked with the MECC’s Community Advisory Board (CAB) and BOLD Program staff to make it happen.
“BOLD outreach focuses on bringing cancer education into the community as well as sharing our services for cancer support and screening navigation,” Miller said. “We do a lot to help folks navigate common barriers. We’re here to bridge those gaps and make the process easier for them. All of our efforts take a community-based approach to reducing the cancer burden and cancer disparities in the Bronx.”
Topics of discussion included environmental cancer risk factors, accessing the MECC Survivorship Program and extending time with doctors during evaluations. Participants learned about the benefits of participating in clinical trials and the measures put in place to ensure participant safety. They also heard how clinical trials can give patients a more active role in their healthcare, while also enabling them to access leading-edge treatments before they become widely available.
The Community Conversations project was launched to meet a need identified by the MECC CAB and BOLD Buddy peer navigators, a group of volunteer cancer survivors who partner with patients and offer encouragement and help in navigating the system. Charles Henry, a cancer survivor and Montefiore Einstein patient, CAB member and a BOLD Buddy peer navigator, initiated the idea.
“Charles is very passionate about getting cancer information out into the community and suggested a town hall,” Miller said. “So we built on that idea to develop Community Conversations.”
“These forums are about meeting people where they are,” said Miller. They give us the opportunity to hear from the community and use that as guidance in all our efforts as a cancer center going forward. Our aim is to have these conversations on a quarterly basis.”
The CAB includes researchers, clinicians, MECC staff, peer navigators and community members. They have an interest in cancer health equity in the Bronx and in going out into the community to raise awareness of cancer prevention and care.
The panel included the following members:
Balazs Halmos, MD, MS, Director, Clinical Trials, Associate Director, Clinical Science, Montefiore Einstein Cancer Center, and Director, Thoracic Oncology and Clinical Cancer Genomics, Montefiore Einstein
Leslie Harrison-Neal, Founder and President of Community Bridges to Success Inc.
Hilda A. Haynes-Lewis, PhD, ANP-BC, AOCNP, Assistant Professor, Radiation Oncology and Survivorship Program Committee Member, Montefiore Einstein
Charles Henry, BOLD Buddy Peer Navigator
H. Dean Hosgood, PhD, Associate Professor, Epidemiology & Population Health; Atran Foundation Chair in Epidemiology & Population Health; Director, Global Environmental Health Global Health Center; Associate Director, Population and Clinical Sciences Clinical Research Training Program; Research Director, Medical Student Global Health Program; Co-Director, PhD Concentration in Clinical Investigation; Co-Leader, Cancer Epidemiology Prevention & Control, Montefiore Einstein Cancer Center.
Shirley Johnson, BOLD Buddy Peer Navigator
Ilora Rafique, MD, MPH, of Nirvana Integrative Medicine
Elizabeth Serrano, BOLD Buddy Peer Navigator
For further questions about cancer prevention and care, along with updates on future Community Conversations meetings, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 718-430-2380.