The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation, continuing its longstanding partnership with the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, made a donation to establish the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Prevention. The donation, part of the foundation’s $25 million commitment to support five cancer care and prevention programs, will address health disparities in the detection, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer. cancer for underserved communities in the Washington, DC area.
“When someone we love has cancer, it affects all of us, our families, our friends, our communities,” said Ralph Lauren, Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Ralph Lauren Corporation and President of Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation. “While we have made significant progress and progress in the fight against cancer, barriers to care and access persist, especially in our most underserved and medically vulnerable communities. We hope that together we can continue to raise awareness of this complex disease, strengthen pathways of support, and generate meaningful change for families and communities who need it most. For more than 30 years, this has been my personal commitment, and now, joined by so many dedicated partners, we envision a world where cancer outcomes improve for everyone and survivors thrive.
Donation to Georgetown Lombardi, the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in the region, is a key part of the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation’s largest single funding pledge, which will also benefit Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as well as three other NCI-designated centers that have yet to be confirmed.
Sustaining a 30-year partnership
Ralph Lauren’s 30-year commitment to Georgetown University Medical Center began with the creation of the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research in 1989. The center honors the memory of Nina Hyde, former fashion editor of The Washington Post—who advocated for research and early detection of breast cancer before succumbing to it. Her dear friend and fashion designer Ralph Lauren co-founded the center with late Washington Post Company publisher Katharine Graham.
“The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation’s support of the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research was a seminal event in the history of our cancer center,” said Louis M. Weiner, MD, director of Georgetown Lombardy. “To this day, we continue to honor Nina Hyde’s legacy through high-quality, multidisciplinary breast cancer research.”
Weiner says this new donation will be transformational for another important center in Georgetown, the Capital Breast Care Center, which has served as a model for overcoming barriers and improving access to health care since 2004. The donation will enable Georgetown to expand its work not only in the screening and referral of patients with breast cancer, but also other types of cancers.
“Patient education and facilitating patient access to screening studies will become the norm, not the exception in our region,” Weiner said. “We are thrilled to have the support of the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation to make this dream a reality.”
Building on a history of cancer prevention and treatment
The Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Prevention will rename and reimagine Georgetown’s existing practices Capital Breast Care Center, led by the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities Research at Georgetown Lombardi. The center’s patient navigators have connected thousands of women, the majority of whom are uninsured and underinsured, to breast imaging services. The redesigned center will continue to screen patients for breast cancer and support patients through their continuum of care to primary care options and resources at MedStar Georgetown Cancer Institute and beyond.
Additionally, the donation will expand the Capital Breast Care Center model to colorectal, lung and prostate cancers, the most common cancers in the Washington, DC area. Strengthened staff will provide local populations with more holistic services, including:
- Educational workshops on cancer prevention;
- Nutrition and wellness programs;
- Transportation services to and from hospitals;
- cancer screening appointment; and
- Referral services to patient care and clinical trial opportunities.
The donation also supports legal representation administered by an attorney from Georgetown’s Health Justice Alliance, a medical-legal partnership between the Medical Center and Georgetown University Law Center. The lawyer provides patients with legal services related to employment, housing, pre-planning, debt and health insurance. Legal support and other comprehensive services address the unmet legal needs of cancer patients that may affect their physical and mental health and interfere with or prevent the effective pursuit of cancer treatment.
Noting that people from underserved communities often experience higher risk rates for certain cancers, difficulty accessing care, and lower cure rates, Weiner says “the gift from the Ralph Lauren Foundation gives us the opportunity to start leveling the playing field so people can get the care they need for a better outcome.
Caring for the whole community
Lucile Adams-Campbell, Ph.D. – professor of oncology, associate director of minority health and health disparities research at Georgetown Lombardi, and senior associate dean for community outreach and engagement at the Medical Center – oversees the Capital Breast Care Center and will lead the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Prevention. She describes Georgetown’s responsibility not only to care for the whole person, but also to care for entire communities.
“My philosophy is that every health system should strive to reduce health disparities,” says Adams-Campbell. “I think Georgetown is stepping up and playing a major role in meeting the needs of the community. And I hope that by addressing these needs, we will begin to reduce disparities and move towards equity.
The center will take advantage of a holistic approach to promote health and human dignity and will build on Georgetown’s capabilities in interdisciplinary education, patient care and research.
“We look forward to working with the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation to address health disparities in communities that desperately need it,” says Adams-Campbell. “This donation will allow us to do so much more in the community.”