Comprehensive Gastrointestinal Health Center To Be Established
At New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell
New York Presbyterian Hospital announced plans to establish the
Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health at the Hospital’s
Weill Cornell Medical Center site. Opening in early 2004, the
Center will be dedicated to gastrointestinal health, from detection
and treatment to education, prevention, and research. The Center
is named in honor of Jay Monahan, the late husband of NBC “Today”
show co-anchor Katie Couric, who died of colon cancer at age 42
in 1998. Since then, Couric has actively worked to raise awareness
about colon cancer and has committed—along with the Entertainment
Industry Foundation (EIF)—to help the Hospital raise a substantial
portion of the approximately $9 million needed to create the Center.
vision for the Center was born out of my discussions with Dr.
Mark Pochapin, Jay’s gastroenterologist,” Couric said. “I discovered
during Jay’s illness that the journey following a cancer diagnosis
is often a traumatic and harrowing one. Searching for the latest
information as well as the best treatment options can be a daunting,
if not impossible, task. 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 the
necessary resources under one roof,” Couric said. “The frantic
running around from place to place only adds insult to injury
for patients and their families. That will be eliminated.”
cancers—including cancers of the colon (large intestine), pancreas,
liver, small intestine, gall bladder, stomach, and esophagus—constitute
a significant percentage of cancer cases. Colorectal cancer is
one of the deadliest; it is the second-leading cancer killer of
men and women in the U.S., causing an estimated 55,000 deaths
each year. But it is also one of the most preventable; a recent
study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that 90 percent
of lives could be saved through early detection and prevention.
Jay Monahan Center will be a unique model of integrated and compassionate
care,” said Dr. Herbert Pardes, President and Chief Executive
Officer of New York Presbyterian. “Building on our distinguished
gastrointestinal disease program, the new Center will bring together
the most comprehensive resources in a humanistic and interdisciplinary
commitment of Katie Couric and EIF will make possible a truly
world-class center for gastrointestinal health,” said Dr. Antonio
M. Gotto, Jr., Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College. Nearly five
years ago, Couric’s husband Jay Monahan, a highly regarded attorney
and television legal commentator, lost his nine-month battle with
colon cancer. Since then, Couric has led an initiative to raise
public awareness of colorectal cancer. Important milestones in
this effort include substantial press attention such as the “Today”
show broadcast of Couric’s own colonoscopy, which garnered Couric
several national honors, including the prestigious Peabody Award.
The resulting heightened public awareness about colorectal cancer
led to an almost 20 percent increase in colonoscopy screenings.#
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