October 27, 2011

HU Board Trustee and Alumnus Dr. Harold P. Freeman appears in the HBO documentary "The Education of Dee Dee Ricks"


HU Board Trustee and Alumnus Dr. Harold P. Freeman appears in the HBO documentary "The Education of Dee Dee Ricks," which aired on October 27, 2011. The story of breast cancer in a poor black woman is told in contrast to a wealthy white woman, Dee Dee Ricks. In an interview with journalist/host Michel Martin on TELL ME MORE, NPR News, Ricks recounts meeting Dr. Freeman in Harlem and being valvinized by his words--"Poverty should not be an offense that is punishable by death." At that moment she decided to dedicate her efforts to the work of Dr. Freeman, and made a pledge to raise $2.5 million for his Patient Navigation Institute. Ricks is currently the chairman of the board of the Institute.

A graduate of the HU College of Medicine, Dr. Freeman is the Founder, President, and CEO of the Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute in New York City. He pioneered the concept of "patient navigation," a program to provide low-income patients with personal guides through the health care system. In 2005, the Patient Navigator, Outreach and Chronic Disease Prevention Act was passed, and the U.S. Congress provided $25 million in funding to implement his program nationwide.

He is Professor Emeritus of Surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. A Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, he served as President and CEO of North General Hospital, and was Director of Surgery at Harlem Hospital Center for 25 years. A past national president of the American Cancer Society, he is the chief architect of the American Cancer Society initiative on Cancer in the Poor, for which the "Harold P. Freeman Award " was established in 1990. Also, he is a past chairman of the President's Cancer Panel, appointed to four terms, first by President George H.W. Bush in 1991, and later by President William J. Clinton in 1994, 1997, and 2000. He appeared on ABC-TV Nightline on October 26 in connection with the documentary.