Dr. Elmer Huerta is the founder of the Cancer Preventiorium, a cancer prevention clinic specifically for Latino immigrants. Since opening its doors in the mid-1990s at the Washington Cancer Institute in Washington, DC, the Preventorium has served close to 33,000 people.
How did the Cancer Preventorium get started?
While Dr. Huerta was at the National Cancer Institute, he started a radio show, Cuidando su Salud (Taking Care of Your Health), and as his show became more popular, he was asked to provide cancer prevention presentations at Latino churches and community centers. In these settings, women frequently shared their frustrations about having to go to one doctor for a Pap test, another for a colorectal cancer screening test and then yet another so their husband could have prostate cancer screening. They wanted everything in one place. Dr. Huerta thought they were on to something—and Washington Hospital agreed. “The interest of the community was so huge,” says Huerta, “we started then and haven’t stopped.”