Don Monti Foundation backs cancer ‘navigator’

Chart a course: Caroline Monti Saladino (center), family and friends from Huntington Hospital's Don Monti Cancer Unit celebrate the unit's new "cancer patient navigator" position.

Not every healthcare innovation involves a radical pharmaceutical or breakthrough technology.

In a next-level advancement of purely human proportions, the Don Monti Memorial Research Foundation will underwrite a $95,000-a-year “cancer patient navigator” position at Huntington Hospital. The services-centric navigator will guide cancer patients through the “complexities of the healthcare system,” according to Northwell Health, including appointment scheduling and compliance with sometimes-confusing care protocols.

The goal is to help each cancer patient get the best possible clinical outcome, according to Huntington Hospital Executive Director Gerard Brogan Jr.

“Patients and families who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis have a great weight on their shoulders,” Brogan said. “Patient navigators help to take some of that away by organizing and making sense of all the services a cancer patient needs.”

Don Monti Memorial Research Foundation President Caroline Monti Saladino said she committed funds to the cancer patient navigator post after seeing a similar position successfully implemented at other medical facilities.

Gerard Brogan Jr.: Making sense.

“We have seen the impact this role has had on patient care at North Shore University Hospital, and we are so pleased to bring it here to our own community,” Saladino said in a statement.

The research foundation was established by Joseph and Tita Monti after myeloblastic leukemia took their 16-year-old son Don in 1972. Now run by Don’s sister, Caroline, the foundation has supported the Northwell Health system in a variety of ways through the decades, including several prior donations to Huntington Hospital’s Don Monti Cancer Unit.

The foundation has also supported North Shore University Hospital’s Bone Marrow Transplant Unit and cancer centers at Plainview and Glen Cove hospitals, and previously funded a nurse navigator for liver cancer patients at NSUH, among other financial contributions to the Northwell Health system.

Brogan praised the Don Monti Memorial Research Foundation for its overall support, and specifically for providing the new and innovative benefit to Huntington Hospital’s cancer ward.

“We are very grateful for the Monti Saladino family’s generous donation, which will make this vital service for cancer patients possible,” Brogan said.