The Patient Empowerment Program (PEP)
Breast Reconstruction Recovery
Our Patient Empowerment Program (PEP) is designed to address the emotional needs of our patients diagnosed with breast cancer or the BRCA genetic mutation and who are facing mastectomy and breast reconstruction. This unique and comprehensive program offers patients and their families the support that is critical to coping with the treatments and adjustments that are part of the breast reconstruction process. It is a partnership that is established to accompany women and their significant others through their journey toward recovery. We believe that our holistic, patient-centered approach, focused on both the mind and body, is an integral part of the total healing process.
Through this program, we offer our Patient-to-Patient Caring Teams, which allow new patients to communicate with current patients as they consider their reconstructive choices. Our Sisterhood of Support group provide a nurturing environment for women to share their feelings and experiences, while our Partners Breakfast Meetings provide a similarly supportive environment for spouses and partners. These are examples of the numerous support services that make up the core of our Patient Empowerment Program. Having identified our program as a model for other practices, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons has produced a series of short videos highlighting these services.
Core Program Overview (click below for details and videos):
In addition to the Core Program, complimentary workshops, lectures and specialized class series (such as series in Creative Writing and Relaxation Techniques) are always being created to meet the needs of our patients. Among our patients' favorite events is our annual Uplifting Event, which brings our staff and our breast reconstruction patients together for an evening of celebration.
Mollie Sugarman, Clinical Director of our Patient Empowerment Program
Using her extensive background working with individuals coping with various life and health issues, Mollie Sugarman developed our Patient Empowerment Program, which she now directs. She brings to our practice over forty years of experience developing programs that promote wellness, health education, and support for individuals, couples, and families facing life challenges. She strongly believes that a nurturing environment is vital to dealing with the myriad of emotions one experiences when facing a cancer diagnosis and traveling the journey thereafter.
Combining her art and psychology background, Mollie initiated the first Art Therapy Program at Bellevue Psychiatric Hospital/NYU Medical Center and participated in their psychiatric residency training program. In 1971, she was invited to join the staff of New York Medical College at Metropolitan Hospital to serve as the Director of Creative Therapies/Department of Psychiatry. There she also participated in the psychiatric residency training program. Mollie was the first non-M.D. to be invited to present in the Psychiatric Grand Rounds on her individual work with a psychiatric patient coping with end-stage chronic illness. In 1972, she received an appointment as an Instructor of Psychiatry at NY Medical College where she conducted a lecture series in couple’s therapy and supervised psychiatric residents in group therapy, art psychotherapy, and co-therapy. In 1973, she was awarded an Honorarium from the Psychiatric Society of NY Medical College.
Her private practices in New York City, Michigan, and New Jersey focused on individuals dealing with serious illnesses, difficult life transitions, and couples’ issues. Subsequent to this, Mollie developed an extensive Wellness Program that fostered physical and emotional health. Within this program, she also worked with women who were in the process of diagnostic testing for breast cancer, conducted support groups, assisted males and females with their anxiety related to diagnostic testing, and conducted a community health education program. Mollie is also trained as a divorce mediator and has over fifteen years experience in that field.
Mollie has a truly special commitment and passion for assisting individuals managing a cancer diagnosis as they re-assess priorities and move forward in life. Her range of personal and professional experiences offers our patients the support that is an integral part of the total healing process. Ask her, and she’ll be glad to share with you how her work has enriched her life.