Recently, Gilda’s Club Westchester approached Hudson Valley Hospital Center to talk about ways that we could collaborate on services for their patients and northern Westchester residents impacted by cancer. “From the moment we met with the staff at HVHC and toured their beautiful Cancer Center, we knew that this was a natural partnership. At Gilda’s Club, we believe that emotional support is an essential complement to medical care. It was clear to us that HVHC shares this same philosophy of treating the whole person and extending that care to family members,” says Melissa Lang, Chief Executive Officer.
Currently, we are offering two new free support groups at HVHC. Living with Cancer is for men and women who are recently diagnosed with any type of cancer, and takes place the first and third Thursdays of the month from 6:00-7:30pm. Kid 2 Kid is for children ages 5 through 12 who have a family member with cancer, and takes place the third Thursday of the month from 6:00-7:30pm. Both of these groups are run by licensed mental health professionals, who are trained in the Gilda’s Club model.
“Over the years, as cancer has become more of a chronic illness, we’ve noticed a trend that more people are coming to us and they’re staying with us longer. So, we’ve been looking for ways to develop more programs to meet these increased needs,” says Melissa.
One of the ways we are working to meet the expanding needs of individuals impacted by cancer in our community is by establishing formal and informal hospital partnerships. Gilda’s Club Westchester staff members currently sit on several cancer committees at area hospitals, including Greenwich Hospital, Westchester Medical Center, White Plains Hospital, Northern Westchester Hospital, and Hudson Valley Hospital Center.
Serving on these hospital committees allows our staff to work side-by-side with clinical staff at these hospitals. This gives us the opportunity to share our mission with medical professionals and promote the value of providing emotional support as a complement to traditional medical care. Additionally, through these informal partnerships we are able to collaborate with physicians and nurse practitioners on presenting lectures and workshops on a variety of cancer and wellness related topics both in and outside of the Clubhouse.
“One of our goals has been to reach more individuals who may not be able to make it into our White Plains site,” says Melissa. With that goal in mind, Miranda Dold, LCSW was recently promoted to Director of Outreach and Program Development. In this role she will strengthen our community-based partnerships, which include formal and informal collaborations with area hospitals. This allows us to bring our support groups into cancer centers so that psychosocial support can be integrated into a variety of settings, offering more comprehensive care for patients and their families.
“We want to make sure that every hospital and their patients know that Gilda’s Club Westchester is here as a free resource for anyone impacted by cancer,” says Miranda.