Last month, Donna Karan visited The Farber Center for Radiation Oncology, meeting the Farber team and patients, to see the integrative practice at work. Characteristically, Donna expressed interest in every aspect of the center including how patients find themselves at The Farber Center, the range of insurance that is accepted, how the doctors and staff guard against professional burnout, and even how the treatment beds operate.
Founder, Dr. Leonard Farber was on hand to show Donna the state-of-the art facility and share his commitment to treating the patient, not just the disease. “The visit with Donna Karan was most rewarding for the patients here. It added another degree of tangibility to tie her in to her Urban Zen program, which the patients already enjoy wholeheartedly. We hope that Donna’s visit will culminate in a further expansion of the UZIT program at The Farber Center for Radiation Oncology.”
The Farber Center, located in Tribeca, is a shining example of the “optimal healing environment” Donna envisions for the future of patient care. Serene and welcoming, the center could easily be mistaken for a spa with details aimed at comfort and care. Offering the most cutting edge radiation oncology treatment is matched by the Center’s commitment to creating a community for its patients.
The Farber Center has been a real asset to the UZIT clinical rotation experience. UZIT students work with patients either before or after their radiation treatment, creating an opportunity for patients to reduce stress or any anxiety they might be experiencing, as well as a deep sense of calmness and relaxation.
During her visit, Donna spoke with several patients about their experience with the UZIT modalities and therapists. She was deeply impressed by the synergy of Dr. Leonard Farber’s vision and faith in the value and adaptability of integrative therapy and the Urban Zen Foundation’s like-minded commitment to changing the healthcare system to focus on the wellbeing of the patient’s mind, body and spirit. When asked about her husband’s experience during his cancer care, Donna was quick to respond. “Stephen never had radiation, but when he went for chemo every day it was like a circus. Stephan was lucky that he had a wonderful nurse looking after him. This kind of care is so personal, the people matter. You’re lucky when you find that caretaker. When you have the space and the person… it’s a homerun. I so appreciate the personal level of care here at The Farber Center.”
While most radiation care is several weeks in length, The Farber Center’s commitment to their community extends beyond treatment to include monthly classes on yoga, mediation, nutrition and general wellbeing, many which are taught by UZIT graduates. Through the collaborative initiative of Urban Zen and The Farber Center, a series of monthly after care classes OHE (Optimal Healing Environment) is offered to patients and families post-treatment, focusing on the transition of patients from treatment to living beyond cancer. Topics include nutrition, exercise and education with guest speakers and UZIT therapist provide classes in yoga and meditation as part of the stress reduction series as well as a raw vegan chef to teach patients healthy alternatives to the traditional comfort foods. Dr. Marnee Spierer encourages all her patients to participate in OHE. “I’m so proud of what we’ve created here at The Farber Center, and it is amazing to share it with those who understand how incredible this model of cancer care is. Donna Karan is someone who understands – and it was wonderful to have her visit our center. Her Urban Zen Integrative Therapy program is a wonderful addition to our center and fits in perfectly with our vision – it is as much about the care as it is about the cure. “
The UZIT students who’ve shared their skills with Farber have been fortunate to see the future of healthcare. UZIT clinical coordinator, Keely Garfield shared her thoughts with Donna. “For my part, I have to constantly pinch myself to really make sure I am not dreaming and that this unique opportunity to work alongside a superb team of doctors and staff all singly focused on the totality of wellbeing for the people we treat is real.”
An environment that is soothing, a staff that is dedicated to not only the disease, but also the patient and a community of support that extends after treatment is Donna’s vision made reality. “So much thought and love and care that went into every detail. Embracing the missing elements -seeing how the UZITs are necessary for healing. I felt the love and appreciation from the patients that I met there. I thank The Farber Center for being and, for embracing us, for seeing a problem and creating a solution. It’s such a phenomenal model for how people with cancer should be taken care of. It’s all about caring for the person and creating a community for that person. How many more there should be!”
Photo Credit: Everett Meissner