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Bridging Gaps in Cancer Care: The Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Prevention’s Commitment to Health Equity

During National Cancer Prevention Month and Black History Month, the Ralph Lauren Center advocates for equitable access to preventative care for the D.C. area.

5 min read

Planting its roots just a few miles from Georgetown’s Hilltop Campus, the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Prevention is a foundation of support for minority communities disproportionately affected by cancer. As February unfolds, a month dedicated to both cancer prevention and Black history, the Ralph Lauren Center is front and center in combating cancer disparities and promoting health equity. Led by a dedicated team of professionals, including Public Health Nutritionist Dr. Mireille Bright, Community Health Educator Aisha Choudhri, and Patient Navigator Beverly Estrada-Balcarcel, the center’s mission advocates for equitable access to preventative care, education, and support services within their catchment area of Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland.

Pioneering Initiatives in Cancer Prevention

Cancer prevention, community outreach, and engagement sit at the forefront of the Ralph Lauren Center’s efforts. With a commitment to addressing the unique needs of local communities, including but not limited to African American, Hispanic, Christian, Muslim, LGBTQ, Vietnamese, African and Afro-Caribbean communities, the center strategically partners with local health organizations, faith-based institutions, and community leaders to disseminate vital information on cancer prevention and screening guidelines. Through targeted education programs and grassroots initiatives, the Ralph Lauren Center empowers people to become knowledgeable self-advocates when it comes to their health and reducing risks of long term diagnoses.

During National Cancer Prevention Month, the Ralph Lauren Center will be conducting business as usual with plans to be out and about supporting and educating local communities. Later this month, the Ralph Lauren Center staff will be collaborating with the African Women’s Cancer Awareness Association for an event focusing on lung and heart health. Additionally, they will be hosting their bi-monthly tabling events at local Giant Food grocery stores, facilitating van pickups, hosting events at the Catholic Charities, and curating educational sessions for senior groups, all aimed at promoting screenings and health education.

Navigating Healthcare Access

Amidst the complex landscape of healthcare access, the Ralph Lauren Center’s Patient Navigators play a pivotal role in guiding individuals through the maze of cancer care. Drawing from personal experiences and cultural learnings, the team bridges linguistic and systemic barriers, ensuring that patients receive timely screenings, follow-up care, and support services. By building relationships and providing tailored guidance, the patient navigators exemplify the center’s commitment to promoting health equity and empowering individuals to navigate their health journey with confidence.

The Ralph Lauren Center regularly organizes “van pickups,” a bi-monthly event that transports groups of women to hospitals for mammogram screenings. These events are comprehensive, encompassing health education sessions and personalized assistance throughout the screening process. They offer translation services, address concerns, and provide support, aiming to alleviate anxieties related to cancer screenings.

Patient Navigators at the Ralph Lauren Center provide a safe space for those who need it. Their care extends beyond initial conversations and screenings. They are there to support and answer the questions that some people might not feel comfortable asking their doctor.

Meet Members of the Ralph Lauren Center Staff

Dr. Mireille Bright (left) serves as a Public Health Nutritionist within the Ralph Lauren Center. With a deep understanding of the complex interplay between diet, lifestyle, and cancer risk, Dr. Bright spearheads the center’s outreach and community engagement efforts, forging partnerships with community organizations to bring essential education and screenings to underserved populations. Her leadership extends to the pastoral initiative where she develops meaningful partnerships with faith-based communities including churches to facilitate screenings and promote research participation. Dr. Bright’s passion for preventive care is personal, rooted in her family’s experience with cancer. This drive fuels her pursuit of health equity, ensuring that individuals from all walks of life receive the support and resources needed to prevent and detect cancer early.

As a Community Health Educator at the Ralph Lauren Center, Aisha Choudhri (center) uses her expertise to empower others with knowledge and resources to prioritize their health. With a keen understanding of the unique needs and challenges facing underserved communities, Aisha designs and implements educational programming tailored to diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Her outreach efforts extend beyond traditional healthcare settings, encompassing supermarkets, community health fairs, and faith-based communities. Aisha ensures that people have the tools and information they need to make informed decisions about their health, fostering a culture of empowerment and self-advocacy within the communities she helps to serve.

Beverly Estrada-Balcarcel (right) embodies the compassionate spirit of the Ralph Lauren Center as a Bilingual Patient Navigator, serving as a lifeline for individuals navigating the complexities of the healthcare system. With a commitment to health equity, Beverly goes addresses the multifaceted barriers that hinder access to care for underserved communities. From language barriers to transportation challenges, Beverly provides personalized support and guidance to individuals, ensuring they receive timely screenings and follow-up care. Her role extends far beyond logistical facilitation; Beverly serves as a trusted confidante and advocate, offering emotional support and empathy to those who have questions about their health and opportunities for care.

Charting a Path Towards Health Equity

The team at the Ralph Lauren Center and their work serves as a testament to the transformative power of community-driven initiatives in combating cancer disparities and advancing health equity. They are changing the landscape of cancer care within minority groups and communities year round.

Director of Cancer Screening, Dr. Chiranjeev Dash, and Founding Director, Dr. Lucile Adams-Campbell are third-year Riders and dedicated members of the BellRinger community. Their participation only continues to advance our mission of a cancer free future.

To learn more about the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Prevention, check out or give them a call at 202-687-5367.

February 15, 2024

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