Cancer Community Outreach

Mount Sinai and The Tisch Cancer Institute provide ongoing cancer educational and preventative programs to our surrounding communities, including East and Central Harlem and other locations throughout New York City.   Our programs focus on prevention, early intervention, follow-up care, and access to clinical trials.

2014 Community Outreach Overview

2014 Highlights

  • Highlights of the 2014 Community Outreach program include the following accomplishments:
    A Genetic Counseling tabling event took place in October and offered information on genetic counseling services and referrals.
  • The Tisch Advocates Group, a gathering of community leaders and passionate community members from East and Central Harlem, has been established to meet with and advise the leadership of The Tisch Cancer Institute, collaborate and deliver ideas on how to increase the reach and impact of TCI in our local communities.
  • Tisch community events for the last quarter were listed in the Community newsletter distributed to educate members of the community on services that are available to them.  

Educational Programs

Educational programs hold an integral part of the Tisch Cancer Centers outreach program. The following educational opportunities were offered in 2014:

  • An educational program facilitated the development of a lung cancer CT screening outreach program to address high rates of lung cancer within East and Central Harlem populations.
  • Education is continually provided to promote and develop Colorectal Center (CRC) programs and outreach -in the community.
  • Education was provided to expand genetic counseling programs to meet the growing demand for preventative interventions.
  • A quarterly community newsletter was published to educate the community on the resources available.

Breast and Cervical Cancer Programs

Breast and cervical cancer programs offered throughout the community include:

Witness Project of Harlem that offers breast and cervical community-based education and referrals for African Americans to enhance screening and improve access to treatment.

  • Total number of programs since January 2014: 27
  • Total number of participants since January 2014: 319

The Division of Cancer Prevention and Control has 4 more programs scheduled in 2014.  

Esperanza Y Vida provides culturally sensitive breast and cervical cancer education and referrals to the Latina population primarily in Spanish.

  • Total number of programs since January 2014: 51
  • Total number of participants since January 2014: 848

The Division of Cancer Prevention and Control plans to deliver 5 more programs by December 31, 2014.

Gynecologic Cancers Program

Gynecological programs are offered as part of collaboration between the division of gynecology and Social Work and include:

Woman to Woman (W2W) is a program that offers emotional and financial support to women. W2W program helps overcome barriers to care. The 16 survivor volunteers meet patients both in the inpatient and outpatient settings.  W2W sponsors biannual education conferences. The most recent conference included speakers from NYLAG on legal issues.

  • Total number of patient encounters since January 2014: 350
  • Total recipients of financial assistance: 21

Prostate Cancer Program

Prostate health was promoted through education and community events that include the following:

The Dean Prostate Health & Research Center provided free educational material and information at Citi Field, AIG provided a seminar and webinar and onsite in August, June and November respectively. Due to the controversy over PSA results, no screenings took place this year.

  • Total attendance at Citi Field health fair estimated at 41,000
  • Total attendance at AIG event estimated at 300

Screening Programs

Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer Screening Seminars were provided onsite, in collaboration with the Lung Cancer Alliance, and offered CT Lung Screening scans, smoking cessation intervention enrollment, and participation in secondhand smoke exposure study.

The Great American Smoke Out program event conducted in collaboration with the American Cancer Society educated the community about screening and health risks, while   challenging people to stop smoking.

  • Total seminar attendees: 154
  • Registered for CT scans: 12
  • This represents a 26% increase in total participation in CRC programming from 2013

Breast Cancer

The Breast Health Resource Center offers free clinical breast cancer screenings and education, onsite and in the surrounding community.  

  • Outreach services were established at 31 community sites this year, generating 38 Mount Sinai referrals, 8 to the breast clinic.
  • Total number of participants since January 2014: 1143
  • 693 individuals participated in educational programs
  • 405 individuals received clinical breast exams (clinical breast exams performed, referred for mammograms, referred for sonograms, referred to Mount Sinai Breast Clinic, referred to outside clinics, social programs)

Colorectal Cancer

The Colorectal Cancer Screening Program of the Division of Gastroenterology and the Department of Oncological Sciences provides free colonoscopies for low-income insured New Yorkers. Funding is provided by the New York City Council and is administered by the American Cancer Society. Mount Sinai has an open-access service to screening colonoscopies and assists patients with their appointments, procedure preparation, and transportation.  

  • Total number of free screenings (DOH Program):  12
  • Total number of CRC educational programs since January 2014: 7
  • Total number reached at CRC educational programs: 169
  • Total number of CRC Tabling In-House since January 2014: 4
  • Total number reached at CRC Tabling In-House: 133

Witness CARES is a community awareness program that facilitates outreach and delivers empowerment for screening. In order to better understand factors influencing decisions of African Americans’ on engagement in colorectal cancer screening, this study tests the effectiveness of two interventions to positively impact decisions linked with healthcare seeking and screening behaviors.  This study aims to examine the efficacy of a narrative communication style group intervention compared to a standard, fact-based didactic intervention to influence African Americans’ engagement in colorectal cancer screening.  Funded by the NIH, this study is being carried out by the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control within the Icahn School of Medicine’s Department of Oncological Sciences, and by Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the University of Buffalo.

  • Total number of programs since January 2014: 28
  • Total number of participants since January 2014: 365
  • The Division of Cancer Prevention and Control plans to deliver 9 more programs by December 31, 2014.

Liver Cancer

The Hepatitis Outreach Network (HONE) is a viral hepatitis prevention and screening program that links to a care study program focused on minority groups in New York, who are at high risk of chronic Hepatitis B (HBV) and chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV), diseases that have been linked to liver cancer.

  • Individuals screened for Hepatitis B & C since January 2014: 901

H.E.A.L.S is an outreach program, coordinated by the medical centers Internal Medical Associates (IMA) primary care clinic, which provides free Hepatitis C testing and free Hepatitis C educational workshops for community based organizations, social services agencies, and other community centers throughout New York City. This year, H.E.A.L.S. focused its screening events on high risk populations.

  • Individuals screened for Hepatitis C since January 2013: 382

Oral Cancer

In April the Head & Neck Cancer Center provided free oral exams onsite.

Skin Cancer

Passion to Heal provided two free skin screening events supported by the Mount Sinai Dermatology Department.

  • 65 individuals were screened at the Martha Stewart Center on May 3rd (biopsy recommended for 18 individuals).
  • 46 individuals were screened at Mount Sinai CAM building on May 8th (biopsy recommended for 8 individuals).
  • 208 individuals were screened at 92nd St Y on September 14th (biopsy recommended for 30 individuals). 

The Aspen Ideas Festival skin screenings were supported by The Department of Dermatology and provided free melanoma screenings at the festival in Aspen, Colorado. They identified:

  • 9 possible melanomas
  • 190 precancerous lesions
  • 80 atypical moles
  • 89 possible non-melanoma skin cancers
  • Total number of individuals screened: 713

Ongoing Onsite Community Programs

The Community Outreach program supports onsite community programs that include:

  • American Cancer Society: Look Good Feel Better: monthly program supported by the Cancer Resource Volunteers
  • Artist in Residence Program:  outpatient once a week
  • Musicians on Call: inpatient once a week
  • Light One Little Candle:  Free children’s books provided to patients undergoing treatment available inpatient and outpatient
  • Climb (Children’s Lives Include Moments of Bravery) – a support program that helps children cope with cancer in their families, meets monthly
  • Gilda’s Club –provides weekly Spanish speaking support group and educational events several times a month on pertinent  topics such as acupressure and mindful eating
  • Cook For Your Life –program collaborates with an onsite nutritionist to provide practical knowledge, tools, and inspiration to cook. Outpatient quarterly sessions are available.

Other Community Outreach Events

Disease Awareness Resource Tables are held onsite in support of Gynecologic Cancer (September) with National Ovarian Cancer Coalition, The Witness Project and Esperanza Y Vida, Thyroid Cancer (September) and Lung Cancer with Lung Cancer Alliance (November’s Turquoise Takeover), these free events offered information on preventative services and programs.  In addition, the thyroid event offered simple thyroid exams.

  • Total attendees for Gynecologic Cancer Awareness: 87
  • Total participants for Thyroid Cancer Awareness: 94
  • Survivorship Day is an annual celebration for survivors offered onsite at Mount Sinai Beth Israel.
  • Total attendance: 250
  • Ruttenberg Treatment Center attendees: 30

The Cancer Outreach Committee will continue to meet monthly to ensure that the prevention and early detection screening programs reflect defined needs and disease patterns in surrounding communities (by zip code).

2015 Outreach goals include:

  • Continued development of the Tisch Advocates Group to increase the impact in communities in need
  • Quarterly newsletter release for The Tisch Cancer Institute at Mount Sinai to promote outreach events
  • Increased outreach efforts in the Spanish speaking community directed at prevention and early detection through publications such as El Diario and various radio stations (for example: La Mega, Amor and Radio WADO)
  • Continued development of genetic counseling program aimed to meet growing demand for preventative intervention.

2014 Partners include:


  • The Re-Entry Population
  • Bronx Community Solutions
  • Greenhope Services for Women

Active Drug-Users/Substance Use Rehabilitation

  • ABLE House
  • New York Harm Reduction Educators
  • St. Ann’s Corner of Harm Reduction
  • Center Recovery at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center
  • Bridge Back to Life Center
  • St. Joseph’s Medical Center/St. Vincent’s of Westchester Hospital Division Methadone Maintenance

2014 Treatment Programs include:

  • Mount Sinai Beth Israel Methadone Maintenance Treatment Programs
  • Palladia, Inc. Comprehensive Treatment Program
  • Washington Heights Corner Project
  • The Addiction Institute of New York

Community Feeding Programs include:

  • Yorkville Common Pantry
  • Treat Me Right, Inc.

2014 Homeless programs include:

  • Volunteers of America – Regent Family Shelter and Harlem Veterans’ Residence
  • Department of Homeless Services-Ega, Gema and Columba Kavanagh Halls
  • Urban Pathways
  • Project Renewal
  • Lenox Hill Neighborhood House – Park Avenue Women’s Shelter and Casa Mutual
  • The Relief Bus
  • The Doe Fund
  • Geel Community Services