Keeping the Community A-breast“Nobody should die of breast cancer. Knowledge is the key to health, both physically and spiritually,” believes Dr. Donna-Marie Manasseh, the Director of Breast surgery at Maimonides Medical Center. Breast cancer is a serious issue among Arab American women due to the lack of language and culturally appropriate information available in the community. However, through the efforts of the Arab American Association of New York and the Maimonides Medical Center of Brooklyn, women’s health awareness has become more accessible. On January 24th, both organizations partnered together to host a “Breast Health Symposium.” A crowd of over 60 Arab-American women of all ages gathered in front of AAANY to board a bus and visit the new Breast Center and share in a night of open dialogue on the importance of maintaining good breast health and ways in which to identify signs and symptoms of breast cancer.
The night opened with a complementary halal dinner and various speeches by the President and CEO of Maimonides Medical Center, Pam Brier, Directors of the Breast Center. Dr. Patrick Borgen, the Chairman of the Department of Surgery and the Brooklyn Breast Cancer Program delivered a Breast Health Awareness Overview followed by a lecture on Breast Health Awareness and Surgery by the Director of Breast Surgery, Dr. Donna-Marie Manasseh. The final presentation was about Breast Screening and Radiology by the Director of Breast Imaging, Dr. Christina Giuliano. The Maimonides staff gave a tour of the state-of-the art Center and introduced their new machinery, including the LVAD and TAVR Programs, the first in Brooklyn, which both offer life saving cardiovascular care.
“When I walked in to the clinic, the beauty and the relaxing atmosphere surprised me. It was a big, clean, comfortable place with incredibly welcoming and enthusiastic doctors. And it was nice to see such a place so local, in Brooklyn,” said Manal Abusamaha, a long time volunteer and friend of the AAANY.
“Everything we were shown was really amazing. It was great to see not only how much the Maimonides Center provides for women in terms of services, but also how much the staff genuinely cares for and appreciates the health of all women,” said board member Zeinab Bader who also serves as the Vice President of the Arab-American Women’s Committee. “The environment was open and comfortable which was perfect for women who would have otherwise been too frightened to ask about their breast health. These women deserve these services. Already ten women have made appointments for breast screening. It was an incredibly successful and useful event. It was an amazing opportunity,” said Bader, “I hope to do more with Maimonides Medical Center in the future, insha’allah.”
We are grateful to Sahar Farah, the AMBER (Arab American Breast Cancer Education and Referral Program) Health Educator and Patient Navigator, and the English to Arabic interpreter, who helped tremendously in making the event comprehensible for all. Through AMBER , Sahar has been active with AAANY, and the week prior to the event presented to over 40 women in our adult education program.
AAANY is honored to be Partners in Health with Maimonides Medical Center.
- Chelsea Estevez