Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health Opens at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell

One of Few Dedicated Gastrointestinal Cancer & Wellness Centers Nationwide<br /><br />A Unique Model for Coordinated Care, Public Education, Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Research

Mar 30, 2004


The Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health, one of only a few comprehensive cancer and wellness centers in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to gastrointestinal health, opened today at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Named in honor of Jay Monahan the late husband of NBC TODAY show co-anchor Katie Couric who died at age 42 of colon cancer, the Center will serve as a unique integrated model for comprehensive and compassionate patient and family care. The Center will offer an array of services, from state-of-the-art prevention and early detection to treatment, research, education and community outreach.

The Entertainment Industry Foundation's National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (EIF's NCCRA), which Ms. Couric founded, provided funding for the Center. Together, they have lent their vision and fundraising efforts to create this state-of-the-art facility.

Ms. Couric and Lisa Paulsen, President and CEO of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, joined Dr. Herbert Pardes, President and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital; Dr. Antonio M. Gotto, Jr., Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College; and Dr. Mark Pochapin, Director of the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health, for a dedication ceremony held at the Center today.

Our vision for the Monahan Center was born out of my discussions with Dr. Mark Pochapin, Jay's gastroenterologist, says Ms. Couric. I discovered during Jay's illness that the journey following a cancer diagnosis is often a traumatic and harrowing one. It is my profound hope that the Monahan Center will make it easier for families to contend with perhaps the worst experience they will ever face by providing all necessary resources under one roof. A group of dedicated professionals with varied expertise including gastroenterologists, a genetic counselor and a nutritionist will work as a team on behalf of each patient. Compassion will be a hallmark of the Center's care; we don't want anyone to feel alone or without hope. Together, with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and EIF's NCCRA, we hope to improve the odds for individuals with gastrointestinal cancers and help prevent the disease in others.

We are proud of our work with Katie to create the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance, says Lisa Paulsen, President and CEO of the Entertainment Industry Foundation. And the creation of the Monahan Center is a wonderful next step in the fight against these terrible cancers. This Center is a model for others, and we are delighted that we have lent the entertainment industry's full support to its creation.

We are sincerely grateful to Katie Couric and the Entertainment Industry Foundation for their extraordinary efforts that led to the establishment of the Monahan Center, says Dr. Pardes. Their dedication to improving health-care resources for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal cancers is outstanding, and will undoubtedly save the lives of countless individuals.

The vision of Katie Couric and the Entertainment Industry Foundation has led to the development of a truly world-class center for gastrointestinal health, says Dr. Gotto. They have helped us fulfill our mission of excellence in medical research, education, and prevention.

Studies show that more than 90 percent of lives could be saved through the early detection and treatment of colorectal cancer, says Dr. Pochapin. It is our goal at the Monahan Center to encourage patients and families to 'go to your doctor when you are well' and to offer them the best in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of all gastrointestinal cancers in a caring, compassionate environment.

Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health

The Jay Monahan Center located on York Avenue and 70th Street in the Stich Building on the campus of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell and its academic partner, the Weill Cornell Medical College provides comprehensive multidisciplinary care for all gastrointestinal cancers, including cancers of the colon, rectum, pancreas, esophagus, liver, stomach, and small intestine. Among its many features are:

A Team Approach to Patient Care

  • Patients are not seen by just one physician, but by a multidisciplinary team of specialists.
  • Gastroenterologists, oncologists, and surgeons meet with patients in one single setting to coordinate all aspects of patient care.
  • Patients and families have access to social workers, genetic counselors, and nutritionists.
  • An on-site dedicated nurse manager assists patients to help them in navigating their medical care in a way that is seamless.

A Unique Setting that Serves Both Patients and Families

  • There is no waiting room at the Monahan Center. Patients and families wait for their appointments in the education center, where they can access the internet, books, brochures, and videos for the latest information on gastrointestinal health, prevention, and treatment.
  • An on-site education coordinator is available for patients and families to provide one-on-one assistance with accessing information on screening, treatment, clinical trials, and education and support programs.
  • The Monahan Center literally takes its message to the streets with interactive multimedia outreach programming. Visitors and passersby can see the latest information on gastrointestinal health displayed on two plasma screen video walls.
  • Patients are provided with a beeper so that they can explore the neighborhood outside the Monahan Center while waiting to be seen.

Education and Outreach

  • The Monahan Center promotes education on prevention, screening, and the latest advances in cancer treatment for its patients and families, the general public, and other health professionals, both locally and globally. Through its education and outreach initiatives, the Center will focus on the promotion of early screening, knowledge of the latest in cancer treatment, and access to clinical trials.
  • The Monahan Center offers a comprehensive website and video library dedicated to the promotion of gastrointestinal health and gastrointestinal cancer treatment, care, and support (www.monahancenter.org).

The Couric Effect

Five years ago, Katie Couric's husband Jay Monahan, a highly regarded attorney and television legal commentator, lost his nine-month battle with colon cancer. In March 2000, Ms. Couric, cancer activist Lilly Tartikoff, and the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) co-founded the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (NCCRA). Since then, Ms. Couric and the EIF's NCCRA have led an initiative to raise public awareness of colorectal cancer, culminating in the TODAY show broadcast of Couric's own colonoscopy, a TIME magazine article, and a research study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Since the inception of this effort by Ms. Couric and the EIF's NCCRA, colonoscopy screening in the United States has increased by nearly 20% a phenomenon University of Michigan researchers have dubbed the Couric effect.

The National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance

The Entertainment Industry Foundation's National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance (EIF's NCCRA) was founded in March 2000 to raise awareness and research dollars in the fight against colon cancer. The NCCRA supports cutting-edge research conducted by leading scientists working on prevention, diagnostic tools, treatment, and, ultimately, a cure. Already, the EIF's NCCRA-funded research has produced significant scientific advances, including a DNA-based stool test to detect not only colon cancer itself, but the gene mutation that can lead to the disease, and the identification of a gene that, in the future, can be specifically targeted for therapies.

The Entertainment Industry

Celebrating 60 years of giving, the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) represents the collective philanthropy of the entertainment industry. EIF has distributed hundreds of millions of dollars and provided countless volunteer hours to support charitable initiatives that address some of the most critical issues facing society today.

Media Contact:

Public Affairs