Harold P. Freeman

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Biographical Information

"Harold Freeman, M.D. is senior advisor to the director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Freeman is also president and founder of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention in New York, New York. He has been a professor of clinical surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, also in New York. For twenty five years (1974 - 1999), Dr. Freeman was director of surgery at Harlem Hospital in New York. Dr. Freeman served as chairman of the US President's Cancer Panel for an 11 year period under both President George H. W. Bush and President Bill Clinton. Dr. Freeman served as national president of the American Cancer Society from 1988-1989. He is the chief architect of the American Cancer Society's initiative on Cancer in the Poor and is a leading authority on the interrelationships between race, poverty, and cancer. The Society established the "Harold P. Freeman Award" in 1990 to recognize his work in this area. This award is presented annually by American Cancer Society divisions throughout the U.S. to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the fight against cancer in the poor. Dr. Freeman pioneered the "Patient Navigation Program" which addresses disparities in access to treatment, particularly among poor and uninsured people. This program is designed to assist medically underserved patients in navigating their way through a complex health system by overcoming barriers to timely diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The success of Dr. Freeman's "Patient Navigation Program" has led many other health care organizations to adopt similar initiatives. Based on this model the Patient Navigator and Chronic Disease Prevention Act was signed into law by President Bush in June 2005. As a graduate of Catholic University of America, Dr. Freeman received the Harris Award for "Outstanding Scholar, Gentleman, and Athlete and was later inducted into the Athlete's Hall of Fame of the University." [1]


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  1. Livestrong Foundation Board, organizational web page, accessed July 10, 2013.