Immigrant Health & Cancer Disparities Service: Arab Health Initiative

New York City has the largest concentration of Arab Americans of any city in the United States. Nevertheless, Arab Americans living in New York City face a number of cultural and language barriers to obtaining cancer screening and treatment.(1)

The Immigrant Health and Cancer Disparities Service’s Arab Health Initiative provides patient education in Arabic, helps patients access healthcare services, and conducts research to improve health outcomes among Arab Americans.

Arab American Breast Cancer Education and Referral Program

The Arab American Breast Cancer Education and Referral Program (AMBER) aims to increase breast cancer screening among Arab American women and teens.(2) We provide culturally sensitive patient education about breast cancer, and help Arab American women with breast cancer access healthcare services.

AMBER offers:

  • Arabic-language breast health workshops for women and teens
  • Mammography screening
  • Health information at community health fairs
  • Cultural competency training for healthcare professionals who work with Arab Americans
  • Breast cancer support services, facilitated by an Arabic-speaking clinical psychologist

AMBER collaborates with a variety of religious institutions and community-based organizations, including the Arab American Association of New York, Arab American Family Support Center, and Arab American Friendship Center.

Our Research

The Arab Health Initiative is conducting a study aimed at increasing colorectal cancer screening among Arab Americans. In another study, we are characterizing differences in how Arab immigrants and their daughters seek health information. We are also collaborating with Ain Shams University Hospital, in Cairo, Egypt, to assess the needs of women with breast cancer to help them complete their treatment.

Contact Us

For more information about Arab Health Initiative program activities, please contact Claudia Ayash at ayashc@mskcc.org.

For more information about our research, contact Nicole Roberts at robertsn@mskcc.org.

  1. Shah S, Ayash C, Pharaon NA, Gany F.Arab American immigrants in New York: health care and cancer knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs.” J Immigr Minor Health. 2008 Oct;10(5):429-36.
  2. Ayash C, Axelrod D, Nejmeh-Khoury S, Yusr A, Gany F. “A Community Intervention: AMBER: Arab Americans breast cancer education and referral program.” J Immigr Minor Health. 2011Dec;(13)6:1041-7.