Donna Karan and Urban Zen Foundation partnered with Beth Israel Medical Center (BIMC) to create opportunities for research on integrative therapies and to develop a pilot program that enhances the care of cancer patients. The goal of this program is to create an Optimal Healing Environment that is built around a menu of complementary healing therapies.

BIMC is the Manhattan campus and University Hospital for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. It is part of Continuum Health Partners, Inc. the largest provider of primary and tertiary medical care in New York City. Located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, BIMC is a 1,106-bed voluntary hospital. The median household income within the hospital’s primary service area is $38,000: 37% of residents are White, 25% are Hispanic, 25% are Black and 10% are Asian. Beth Israel serves a growing percentage of elderly and a significant number of persons with low-income, reflected in the fact that in 2006-07, Medicaid covered more than 44% of discharges from the Petrie (inpatient) Division and Medicare accounted for over 26% of such discharges.

We are proud to announce the completion of the physical renovations at the Inpatient Cancer Unit of Beth Israel Medical Center. Inspired by a vision of creating an optimum healing environment, Donna Karan and Beth Israel enlisted the help of architect David Fratianne and feng shui master Alex Stark to create a Sanctuary for patients and their loved ones. Roberto Dutesco also donated photographs placed throughout the area. The images here depict the renovations. As a champion of patient advocacy, Urban Zen could not be more excited about this first step towards patient care. The renovations are only one part of the campaign for well-being. As reported in the Huffington Post, “Donna Karan, in conjunction with her Urban Zen Foundation, is developing [a] unique program which provides support to cancer patients and their families, as well as the hospital staff itself.”

The Optimal Healing Environment includes:

• A Patient Navigator to guide patients and their families through hospital admission, treatment, and recovery

• Yoga Therapists to provide bedside yoga instruction and care for patients, as well as to provide support and offer instruction for family members, care providers and hospital staff

• Holistic Training for Nurses in modalities such as aromatherapy and Reiki, to be integrated into patient care

• Cosmetic Renovation of the Cancer Floor, including The Sanctuary, a yoga/meditation room that employs feng shui principles to create a more soothing and healing environment for patients while they are in treatment