Minister of Public Health, Social Development, and Labor Joins Medical Students at Community Breast Screening Event

AUC's participation in a breast abnormalities screening project continues as medical students and fellows volunteer at free health events in Philipsburg, St. Maarten

One week after launching the first community breast-screening event of 2018, more than a dozen AUC students and Clinical Medicine Fellows returned to Philipsburg on Saturday, November 3 to volunteer at a second event. The screening provided 24 women with general health assessments as well as a free clinical breast examination by Dr. Naira Chobanyan, a clinical oncologist and Professor of Clinical Medicine at AUC.

Saturday’s event included appearances by the Honorable Emil Lee, Minister of Public Health, Social Development, and Labor, as well as Ms. Aida Holman, head of the Public Health Department (pictured above with AUC students, fellows, and Dr. Chobanyan). Both Mr. Lee and Ms. Holman attended screening and educational sessions in order to learn about the breast abnormalities screening project and to better understand the burden of disease in St. Maarten.

For AUC medical students and Clinical Medicine Fellows (Dr. Crystal Golding, Dr. Dominik Dabrowski, and Dr. Materum Pons), the event was an opportunity to work side by side with patients while practicing clinical and communication skills. Students spent much of their time explaining the signs, symptoms and risk factors of breast cancer, and answering questions about personal breast health and self-care.

The community screenings are part of a larger breast abnormalities project that is organized by AUC, the Positive Foundation and St. Maarten Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor. It began in 2017 but was placed on a yearlong hiatus following Hurricane Irma. The project seeks to increase public awareness of breast cancer while also collecting much-needed data on the prevalence of breast abnormalities in St. Maarten residents. Results of the project will be reported to the Ministry of Health to help establish local policies for breast screening.

The next screening event is scheduled for this Saturday, November 10, 2018. Any students interested in participating should contact Dr. Crystal Golding, Clinical Medicine Fellow, at for more information.