Northwell Health said late last week it is expanding its outpatient cancer services into Queens by adding a practice with seven locations in the borough.
Queens Medical Associates, a medical oncology and hematology practice, has agreed to join Northwell Health.
"Our cancer patients may have surgery at Long Island Jewish Medical Center but then shouldn't have to go back in that direction to get follow-up care," said Dr. Richard Barakat, physician-in-chief and director of the Northwell Health Cancer Institute and senior vice president of the health system's cancer service line. "We have to get away from the notion that patients need to travel to get care."
Queens Medical's staff includes physicians who specialize in medical oncology/hematology, supportive oncology and palliative care. It is also staffed by full-time pharmacists, registered nurses, physician assistants, medical assistants, nurse navigators, infusion nurse technicians, laboratory technicians, research staff and financial counselors.
Northwell said Queens Medical treats about 10,000 patients annually with various cancers and blood disorders.
The practice and infusion center reflects the community’s diversity by having staffers that speaks more than 30 languages and dialects, including English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Hindi and Bengali.
Barakat said the practice's diversity will help Northwell Health deliver more clinical trials to underserved ethnic groups.
"One of the problems with cancer clinical trials is it takes care of very select populations," Barakat said. "Most trials are translated into English or Spanish and that's it."
He said since genetic markers are key in cancer care, "populations are going to react differently. The drug may act differently with someone who is Indian when compared to someone of Chinese background. Working with these patients will make a big difference."
Queens Medical, which will keep its name, is based in Fresh Meadows and has locations in Astoria, Elmhurst, Flushing, Jackson Heights, Rego Park, and Woodside.