Drag Brunch is SOLD OUT!

March 19th, 2015

Drag Brunch 2015Thanks to our wonderful supporters and customers of Gunk Haus, Drag Brunch 2015 has officially sold out! There will be limited seating in the bar area during the show. Please call Gunk Haus that morning for availability: (845) 883-0866. You may also email us to go on a waiting list–just in case we receive any cancellations.

Empty Bowls Returns for 2015

March 18th, 2015

If you’re like us (and so many of our supporters) you love when local food combines with local charity…that’s why Empty Bowls at Rondout Valley High School is such a great event! Now in its 12th year, Empty Bowls unites hard-working art students, local restaurants, food pantries and Ulster County residents who want to do good. On Friday, April 17th, hundreds of generous guests gather at Rondout Valley for an all-you-can-eat soup and ice cream buffet. For a $15 donation, choose from a one-of-a-kind handmade bowl and get your fill–or opt for a $5 paper bowl. You get to take home your beautiful bowl when you’re done! All proceeds benefit local food pantries including HVCS. We recommend getting there early, since the handmade bowls go quickly. Check out all the details on the event page or go to www.emptybowls.webs.com.

HVCS’ Training Program to End March 31st

March 17th, 2015

While we’d much rather talk about new programs and services, sometimes we must share unfortunate news. As of March 31, 2015, HVCS will no longer offer trainings and webinars as a part of the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute HIV Training and Education Program.  It’s been a pleasure serving the Hudson Valley human service provider community and  everyone in the field of  HIV/STI and Viral Hepatitis case management and prevention.

Going forward, Cicatelli Associates, Inc., based in Manhattan, will provide New York State AIDS Institute trainings for this region.  Course listings and information can be found on The Department of Health website  www.hivtrainingny.org, at the Cicatelli Associates, Inc. website www.caiglobal.org , or by telephone at 212-594-7741.

As per our privacy policy, HVCS will not share trainees’ contact information with Cicatelli Associates, Inc., so we encourage those interested in future trainings to reach out to them.

We hope that those who joined us for trainings will continue to partner with and make referrals to HVCS’ array of programs and services as needed. Our staff are always ready to assist service providers and their clients and patients with any necessary services. Watch for future e-mail notifications about HVCS’ programs and special events; you may unsubscribe at any time.

Thanks to those who came to our trainings for being wonderful training center participants over the years, and we wish you all the best to you and the people you serve.

NYT’s “What Patients Prefer to Know” Looks at Gap Between Patients & Knowledge About Their Disease

March 17th, 2015


If you had a serious illness, how much would you want to know about it?

Dr. Rachel A. Freedman, an oncologist who specializes in breast cancer at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, said she noticed a few years ago that many patients who were referred to her had little understanding of their disease or its treatment.

There was hardly any published information on what patients knew about their own cancers, so Dr. Freedman and some colleagues decided to conduct a study. They asked 500 women four questions: Did they know the stage of their tumor, the grade (an indicator of how aggressive a cancer is), and whether it was fed by estrogen or a growth factor called HER-2?

“Nobody’s ever looked at this before, and it’s a simple set of questions,” she said.

The researchers compared the women’s answers with their medical records. The results, published in January in the journal Cancer, showed that a little more than half of the women knew their cancer’s stage and its estrogen and HER-2 status. Only 20 percent knew the grade. Blacks and Hispanics tended to know less than whites.

The study did not determine why the patients knew so little. “It’s hard to know if doctors aren’t discussing it, or if patients aren’t hearing it,” Dr. Freedman said.

Having the information can matter, because many breast cancers are curable if women stick with their treatment, she said. If patients do not know how important treatment is, they may be more likely to quit, particularly if side effects are harsh.

But there is a world of difference between hearing about treatments that can save your life and hearing that they have failed. When cancer is advanced and people fear that death is looming, they are more likely to prefer being spared the details, Dr. Freedman said.

Still, she added, even among the sickest, “I think most patients do want to know.”

Recognizing that aggressive therapy no longer holds promise allows some patients to switch to treatments aimed at keeping them comfortable.

But people who have been dealt a bad hand have different ways of playing it.

Stuart Scott, the ESPN anchor who died of cancer in January, said a year ago that he did not know his prognosis.

“I never ask what stage I’m in,” he said in an interview with The New York Times. “I haven’t wanted to know. It won’t change anything to me. All I know is that it would cause more worry and a higher degree of freakout. Stage 1, 2 or 8, it doesn’t matter. I’m trying to fight it the best I can.”

Medical schools have tried harder to train doctors to deliver bad news without crushing the patient. But a recent study suggests that even the kindest manner may not soften the blow as much as expected.

At the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, researchers showed 100 patients with advanced cancer videos of two doctors speaking separately to a sad-looking woman with late-stage cancer who asked if there was some new chemotherapy that would help her.

The doctors and patient were actors, and the videos were crafted to insure that the doctors’ tone, facial expressions, manner and body language were warm and identical. The only difference was the doctors’ message — one was more optimistic than the other.

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In one video, the doctor told the patient that no more chemo was possible “right now,” but that if she started feeling a little better, “we can find something for you.”

In the other video, the doctor said no more chemo was possible, and “there is no serious chance of curing your cancer.”

The patients were asked to rate how compassionate and trustworthy the doctors were. The one who offered the more optimistic message scored higher. The findings were published in February in JAMA Oncology.

“What we wanted to test here was, would just the message itself cause you to see me as more or less compassionate?” said Dr. Eduardo Bruera, the senior author of the study and chairman of palliative care and rehabilitation medicine at MD Anderson. “We had a feeling that the ‘shooting the messenger’ idea was present.”

He said medical students are taught that if they are empathetic and use the right body language, patients will see them as compassionate.

“We thought the appropriate methodology might protect us like a shield,” Dr. Bruera said. “Unfortunately, the message itself has some effect.”

It’s not surprising that people don’t like bad news, though the reaction does not mean that patients don’t want the truth. Eighty percent do want to know, he said.

Does it matter if this discussion puts some distance between doctor and patient? Dr. Bruera said he suspected that doctors felt the chill and were distressed about having to provide bad news, and that this might be contributing to high rates of burnout in his specialty.

More studies are being planned, he said, in hopes of finding ways to tell the truth that will be less painful to both doctors and patients.

A version of this article appears in print on March 17, 2015, on page D4 of the New York edition with the headline: What Patients Prefer to Know.



Long-Term Volunteer Needed for Hawthorne Office

March 17th, 2015

HVCS’ Hawthorne office is looking for a long-term volunteer who can assist with light clerical tasks and file management. The right volunteer is someone who’s available on weekdays between 9 am and 5 pm, but the amount of time and particular hours spent each week is flexible. Call (914) 785-8326 or e-mail ‘jdewey @ hudsonvalleycs.org’ for more information or to apply. Thanks!

UPDATE: Westchester Offices Closing at Noon on 3/5/15

March 5th, 2015

HVCS’ Hawthorne and Mount Vernon offices will close at 12 pm today Thursday, March 5th due to inclement weather.

Lower Hudson Offices on 1-Hour Delay March 5th

March 5th, 2015

Our Hawthorne, Mount Vernon, Spring Valley and Putnam Valley offices will open at 10:00 am today, Thursday March 5th.

HVCS Staff Present–and Win!–at the “Power of Quality Improvement” Conference in NYC

February 27th, 2015

Three HVCS staffers–LaShonda Cyrus, Liz Hurley and Tiffany Sturdivant-Morrison–did a poster presentation on one of our quality assurance projects at the New York Academy of Medicine today. The Bureau of HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene presented the conference, entitled “The Power of Quality Improvement:  Providers and Consumers Improving Care Together.” Their poster won the “Best Use of Data” Award as determined by votes from the conference participants. Categories were overall best poster presentation, poster showing the best use of data, and most thought provoking poster.

Great job, LaShonda, Liz and Tiffany!

Photos from Libations & Ovations

February 20th, 2015

Photos by Todd Michael Thomas

HVCS’ Libations & Ovations Valentine’s Event by Slidely Slideshow

Special congratulations to our honorees:

Marilynn Glasser, Hearts for HVCS Awardee










Marilynn R. Glasser, recipient of the 2015 Hearts for HVCS Award for Volunteer Service

David Juhren, Hearts for HVCS Awardee










David Juhren, recipient of the 2015 Hearts for HVCS Award for Community Advocacy

Jeff Kraus, HVCS' former Executive Director







Jeff Kraus, HVCS’ Executive Director, who retired in 2014.

Time to Wig Out: Drag Brunch Returns on March 29th!

February 20th, 2015

That’s right, drag fans–HVCS’ fourth annual Drag Brunch returns to Gunk Haus in Highland for another round of music, mimosas and merriment on Sunday, March 29th. Your $25 ticket gets you your choice of delicious brunch entrees, unlimited coffee, tea and soft drinks, and fun entertainment by live performers–PLUS, you’ll be making a $15 donation to HVCS’ Hudson Valley AIDS Walk.

We recommend getting your tickets ASAP since this event has sold out for the past three years, and advance tickets are necessary. Get your tickets TODAY online through Eventbrite:

Eventbrite - Drag Brunch 2015


Or call us at (914) 785-8277 to make reservations and payment plans over the phone.

More details on our performers as we shape up the list, so check back with us soon or follow our Facebook page.