Harold P. Freeman, M.D.
Chairman Emeritus and Founder
Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention
Senior Advisor to the Director, National Cancer Institute
Harold P. Freeman, M.D., is Chairman Emeritus and Founder of the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention in New York, New York. Dr. Freeman is also Senior Advisor to the Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Bethesda, Maryland. He is a Professor of Clinical Surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, also in New York. For twenty five years (1974–1999), Dr. Freeman was Director of Surgery at Harlem Hospital in New York.
Dr. Freeman was Founding Director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities for a five year period ending in 2005. During that time period, he served as Associate Director of the NCI.
Dr. Freeman is a diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He has been medical director of the Breast Examination Center of Harlem, a program of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, since 1979.
Dr. Freeman was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1997.
Dr. Freeman served as national president of the American Cancer Society from 1988-1989. He is the chief architect of the American Cancer Society’s initiative on Cancer in the Poor and is a leading authority on the interrelationships between race, poverty, and cancer. The Society established the “Harold P. Freeman Award” in 1990 to recognize his work in this area. This award is presented annually by American Cancer Society divisions throughout the U.S. to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the fight against cancer in the poor.
Dr. Freeman pioneered the “Patient Navigation Program” which addresses disparities in access to treatment, particularly among poor and uninsured people. This program is designed to assist medically underserved patients in navigating their way through a complex health system by overcoming barriers to timely diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The success of Dr. Freeman’s “Patient Navigation Program” has led many other health care organizations to adopt similar initiatives.
Based on this model the Patient Navigator and Chronic Disease Prevention Act was signed into law by President Bush in June 2005.
Dr. Freeman is past chairman of the President’s Cancer Panel, to which he was appointed for four consecutive three-year terms, first by President Bush in 1991 and subsequently by President Clinton in 1994, 1997 and 2000.
As a graduate of Catholic University of America, Dr. Freeman received the Harris Award for “Outstanding Scholar, Gentleman, and Athlete.” He later was recognized as “Outstanding Alumnus in the Medical Arts” at Catholic University and was inducted into the Athlete’s Hall of Fame of the University. Additionally, he received the Daniel Hale Williams Award for Outstanding Achievements as Chief Resident at Howard University Hospital.
Honorary Doctor of Science degrees have been awarded to Dr. Freeman from Albany Medical College, Niagara University, Adelphi University, and Catholic University of America. He was also awarded the University of California at San Francisco Medal. Other selected awards include: The Mary Lasker Award for Public Service; the Time, Inc. International Health and Medical Media Awards’ Lifetime Achievement Award; the American Cancer Society’s Medal of Honor; the CDC Foundation’s Champion of Prevention Award; the Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s “Jill Rose Award,” the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Special Recognition Award; the Avon Breast Cancer National Leadership Award; the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer National Foundation’s Betty Ford Award; the International Spirit of Life Foundation and the Washington Cancer Institute’s Spirit of Life Award; the Mayo Clinic Charles G. Moertel Memorial Lectureship Award; the Association of Community Cancer Centers’ Achievement Award; the George Washington University Cancer Institute’s Distinguished Public Service Award; the Rudin Prize in Medicine and Health; the 2006 Black History Makers Award of The Associated Black Charities; The Dorothy Height Life Time Achievement Award and The First Annual Medical Assembly “Humanitarian Award” at the United Nations Meeting the Global Challenge of Cancer in New York City.
At the Centennial Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) held in Los Angeles on April 15, 2007 Dr. Freeman received two awards: "The Public Service Award" presented to him by the President of AACR during the opening ceremony and “The 2nd Annual Minorities in Cancer Research--Jane Wright Lectureship Award". He delivered the "Jayne Wright Lecture".