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[July 17, 2006]         
CANCER SURVIVORS VOLUNTEER TO GIVE BACK


American Cancer Society’s Volunteer Patient Navigator Program Is Introduced at Downstate
The American Cancer Society (ACS) Volunteer Patient Navigator Program has come to SUNY Downstate Medical Center.  The hospital-based navigator program connects newly diagnosed cancer patients to free services provided by the ACS.
Seven volunteer patient navigators have undergone two-day training at SUNY Downstate to learn successful ways of introducing themselves to patients in waiting rooms, chemotherapy infusion sites, and radiation oncology areas, and to refer patients to ACS services.
Volunteer patient navigators are cancer survivors who can relate to the fears that new cancer patients often have.  Navigators help patients to better understand their disease and treatment plan.  The volunteers are trained to listen to patients’ needs and then direct them to ACS services. 
“Patients need comfort and hope,” said ACS consultant and cancer survivor Eulyn Wyse.  “It’s normal for them to feel how they feel, but we are here to give them that motivation.”
The Patient Navigator Program was created out of a provision in the New York City Council-funded Colonoscopy Screening Grant, which provides for 1,200 free or low-cost colonoscopies to uninsured and under-insured New Yorkers.
SUNY Downstate Medical Center, located at 450 Clarkson Avenue, is the only academic medical center in Brooklyn.