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January 18, 2005

Health Center, Cancer Society,
Fight the Disease Together

Mary Ann Vanderjagt, Dr. Carolyn D. Runowicz, and Phyllis Taralio.

Mary Ann Vanderjagt of the American Cancer Society, left, Dr. Carolyn D. Runowicz, director of the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Phyllis Taralio of the Cancer Center, in the cancer resource center at the Health Center. the American Cancer Society and the Health Center are collaborating in the fight against cancer.

Photo by Peter Morenus

The Health Center and the American Cancer Society, New England Division, are joining forces in the fight against cancer. The two organizations recently signed a collaborative agreement to work together on a number of key initiatives, including education programs for medical providers and consumers, advocacy and outreach efforts throughout the community, and special programs for patients and families.

“We share many common goals and an unwavering commitment to tackle the fight against cancer on several different fronts, such as awareness, education, and the delivery of comprehensive and compassionate care for patients,” says Dr. Carolyn D. Runowicz, director of the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at the Health Center.

“Working with the American Cancer Society enhances the support services we provide our patients and strengthens our ability to reach out to the community,” adds Runowicz, who was recently named president elect of the national American Cancer Society and will become president in 2005.

Sarah Shafir, the state vice president for cancer control of the American Cancer Society, says, “We actively seek to collaborate with local hospitals to help provide the best possible care to men and women who are diagnosed with cancer. We also promote the overall goal of the American Cancer Society to eliminate cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering, and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service.”

The American Cancer Society already has an active resource and education center for patients at the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Through the collaborative agreement, the Health Center and the American Cancer Society will also work together to:

• educate medical providers on new advances in all aspects of cancer care, from prevention and diagnosis to treatments and palliative care;

• network within the greater Hartford community to share new information about cancer care, especially prevention and early detection services;

• provide supportive services to patients at the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, including American Cancer Society programs such as Reach to Recovery, an education program for breast cancer patients, and I Can Cope programs for patients and families;

• promote awareness about cancer prevention and early detection among the nearly 4,000 employees of the Health Center.

“Both the UConn Health Center and the American Cancer Society are stronger when working together,” says Dr. Steven Strongwater, director of clinical operations at the Health Center. “This agreement allows both of us to extend our reach and promote our common goals.”

The Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center provides a full spectrum of cancer services, from education and prevention strategies to early detection services, innovative, state-of-the-art treatments, reconstructive surgery, and rehabilitation and support services. In addition, patients at the Neag Center can participate in a range of clinical trials and research studies. Services are provided at the Health Center campus in Farmington. More information is available at