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NYC HEALTH + hospitals/Harlem honoured with Scopy award for pioneering Colon cancer outreach initiative

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NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem, under the leadership of CEO Georges Leconte, has been honored with the prestigious Scopy Award from the American College of Gastroenterology.

This accolade recognizes their impactful colon cancer outreach efforts, particularly highlighted by a compelling video produced last year. The video, featuring Mr. Leconte undergoing a routine colonoscopy, aimed to inspire New Yorkers aged 45 to 75 to prioritize screening for this preventable cancer and eliminate the stigma surrounding the procedure.

Colon cancer, the second-leading cause of cancer death in New York City, disproportionately affects African Americans, who are approximately 20% more likely to develop the disease and 40% more likely to succumb to it than other ethnic groups, according to the American Cancer Society. NYC Health + Hospitals offers both colonoscopies and at-home fecal immunochemical (FIT) tests, providing accessible options to detect and prevent colon cancer.

In the video, Chief of Gastroenterology Dr. Joan Culpepper-Morgan performed a live, routine colonoscopy on Mr. Leconte to demonstrate the simplicity and safety of the procedure, with the goal of dispelling fears and reducing stigma. The video chronicles the patient’s journey from pre-op discussions to the day of the procedure, offering transparency and education around the process.

NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem CEO Georges Leconte emphasized, “Colorectal cancer being the third leading cause of cancer-related deaths emphasizes the importance of colorectal cancer outreach and prevention in local communities.” Dr. Culpepper-Morgan added, “With recent changes to the American Cancer Society’s age recommendation for colorectal cancer screening, it is imperative that outreach and prevention efforts are constantly in motion.”

Acknowledging the impact of their outreach, NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem Community Advisory Board Chair Karen Dixon praised Mr. Leconte and Dr. Culpepper-Morgan for their efforts in increasing awareness and timely colon screening in the Harlem community.

One Hundred Black Men New York Health and Wellness Committee Co-Chair Dr. Maurice Franklin commended Harlem Hospital for prioritizing the health of the Black community through their commitment to colorectal screening, recognizing the crucial role it plays in saving lives and improving overall health outcomes.

The significance of regular screenings cannot be overstated. Detecting colon cancer early, when it is most treatable, is crucial for a 90% 5-year relative survival rate. However, only 4 out of 10 cases are found at this early stage, underscoring the importance of routine screenings.

Colon cancer often presents no symptoms until it advances, making regular screenings essential. New Yorkers are urged to consult their doctors if they experience any concerning symptoms, such as blood in the stool, sudden weight loss, or persistent changes in bowel habits. NYC Health + Hospitals is committed to promoting awareness and accessibility to screenings, with the ultimate goal of improving health outcomes and saving lives in the Harlem community and beyond.

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