The Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center
312 East 94th Street, 212-423-2900, mountsinai.org
The center provides free and confidential mental health, family planning, and health education services to young people ages 10 to 21. Special programs include youth parenting classes and support groups for rape and incest survivors.
National Women’s Health Network
This D.C.-based advocacy group fights for gender parity in health care through critical analysis of women’s health issues. For a $10 fee, it will provide an information packet on a topic such as saline breast implants, endometriosis, or female orgasm; the cost includes lists of glossary terms, resources, and additional reading. Free fact sheets on issues like emergency contraception and access to health care are also available online.
National Women’s Health Information Center
Part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the center offers comprehensive women’s health information on some 800 subjects, from nutrition and body image to menopause and hormone therapy. It also offers news and resources, including health publications, statistics, and medical glossaries, as well as a National Breastfeeding Helpline that gives free counseling to nursing mothers.
NYC Free Clinic
Sidney Hillman Clinic, 16 East 16th Street, 917-544-0735, nycfreeclinic.med.nyu.edu
Every Saturday from 8:45 a.m. to noon, physicians and students of the NYU School of Medicine provide a variety of free health care services to the uninsured, from physical exams to pharmaceuticals to prenatal care. Appointments are only taken on Mondays between 4 and 5 p.m.
Women’s Health Line
311, 718-230-1111, or 212-230-1111
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene runs a call center that provides information on a wide array of topics affecting women, including family planning, pre- and post-natal care, and menopause. Counselors will take into account the caller’s location and financial situation before scheduling an appointment at a clinic, hospital, or other health services provider. Hotline services are available in English, Spanish, French, and Haitian Creole, as well as for the hearing impaired.
Women Veterans Health Program
Multiple locations, 212-686-7500, womenshealth.va.gov
Women vets are eligible for an extensive list of services through the VA Healthcare Network, offered at centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. They include cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis screenings; breast and pelvic exams, to nutritional counseling and weight management, and substance and sexual abuse counseling.
Pregnancy, Parenting & Reproductive Health
The Alan Guttmacher Institute
120 Wall Street, 21st floor, 212-248-1111, guttmacher.org
This nonprofit advocates for reproductive choice, and features a state-by-state breakdown of abortion policies, including insurance restrictions. It also provides information and statistics on abortion cost, safety, and legality.
National Abortion Federation
The free, anonymous hotline run by this professional association of abortion providers will give you a referral to a member clinic, plus answer questions you may have about procedures, in English or in Spanish. You can also search for a list of local providers on its website.
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health Clinics
Multiple locations, 311 or 212-442-1740, nyc.gov
Walk-in pregnancy testing, counseling, and referrals for delivery and pre- and post-natal care are among the free services offered at these city-run clinics, which serve pregnant women and mothers with children under a year old.
Planned Parenthood of New York City
Multiple locations, 212-965-7000, ppnyc.org
Free pregnancy testing and options counseling are offered by this organization, which advocates for and provides women’s reproductive health services. Also available by sliding-scale payment: birth control and emergency contraception, gynecological exams, and breast and cervical cancer screenings. Abortions, performed through the second trimester, require full payment.
The Postpartum Resource Center of New York
This nonprofit provides educational information and telephone support, including health care referrals and links to local support groups for mothers suffering from prenatal and postpartum depression.
An online community of city mamas and mamas-to-be discuss only-in-New York topics such as organic baby food, au pairs, and stylish maternity wear. The site also features informative sections on everything from special-needs support groups to hospitals with progressive birthing policies, not to mention lists of popular NYC baby names by nabe.
Cancer & Life- Threatening Illnesses
American Cancer Society
19 West 56th Street, 3rd floor, 800-ACS-2345, cancer.org
The Manhattan regional office offers a variety of free programs for cancer patients and their families, including “Look Good . . . Feel Better,” which teaches women undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments beauty techniques that will enhance their appearance and self-image. The service is also available to the Spanish and Chinese language communities; call for location and times and to register.
Breast Examination Center of Harlem
163 West 125th Street, 4th floor, 212-531-8000, mskcc.org
Women ages 40 and up should have regular mammograms to detect breast cancer, while sexually active women ages 18 to 65 should have routine Pap smears to test for cervical cancer. Both are offered for free at this Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center outreach program, founded to improve the early detection of breast cancer in Harlem residents, as well as offer them access to high-quality healthcare.
Colorectal and Prostate Initiative
Women ages 50 and up, or who are at high risk, are advised to get a colonoscopy to prevent colon cancer. The New York State Department of Health provides free colorectal cancer screenings to persons ages 50 and older who are uninsured or underinsured; those deemed at risk are referred for a colonoscopy.
The Family Center
66 Reade Street, 212-766-4522, 584 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-230-1379, thefamilycenter.org
The center helps create a more secure environment for children whose parents—most of whom are single mothers—suffer from life-threatening illnesses, including cancer and HIV. Among the free services available: support groups, counseling, youth programs, and respite services for caregivers.
195 West Houston Street, 212-647-9700; 502 8th Avenue, Brooklyn, 718-788-1600, gildasclub.org
Named after comedienne Gilda Radner, the club provides members free services such as support and networking groups, workshops and lectures, and special programs like Noogieland, which is specifically aimed at children. Membership is open to persons with cancer and/or their family and friends.
Manhattan Breast Health Partnership
American Cancer Society, 19 West 56th Street, 3rd floor, 212-237-3910
The American Cancer Society offers free mammograms and Pap smears to uninsured and under-insured women with an income no higher than 2.5 times the current federal poverty line. Women 18 and over are eligible for a clinical breast exam and pelvic exam with Pap smear; you must be 40 and over or have a family history of breast cancer to receive a mammogram. Callers will be referred to one of the Society’s mobile units, regularly available in all the boroughs.
Women and Family Services, Gay Men’s Health Crisis,
119 West 24th Street, 6th floor, 212-807-6655, gmhc.org
This nonprofit offers an array of services for women and families living with HIV/AIDS, as well as for those at risk. They include crisis intervention, child sitting, legal workshops, and alcohol and substance abuse counseling.
Caregivers and Professional Partnership Resource Center
Mount Sinai Hospital, 19 East 98th Street, 9th floor, Suite 9E, 212-241-2277, mountsinai.org
The center helps caregivers locate neighborhood services and programs to assist them, including organizations that provide respite care, at no charge. Bilingual services for Spanish speakers are also available.
Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-621-HOPE, or 311, nyc.gov/domesticviolence
The NYC Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence runs this 24-hour hotline, which offer information on shelters, counseling, legal assistance, and healthcare. The office also provides an array of services for victims, from permanent housing to emergency cell phones.
Inter-Group Association of Alcoholics Anonymous of New York
307 Seventh Avenue, Room 201, 212-647-1680, nyintergroup.org
There are meetings for recovering alcoholics every day of the week in every borough, including dozens of women-only support groups. Meetings are free and open to anyone with a desire to stop drinking.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
208 West 13th Street, 212-620-7310, gaycenter.org
The center provides mental health services, including those that address the unique emotions associated with gender transition. There are also programs such as the Lesbian Cancer Initiative, which makes available free short-term counseling and support groups for cancer survivors and care partners.
800-LIFE-NET (English), 877-298-3373 (Spanish), 877-990-8585 (Mandarin or Cantonese), 212-982-5284 (TTY for the hearing impaired)
This telephone crisis hotline run by the Mental Health Association of New York provides crisis intervention, as well as information on free or low-cost mental health care, including referrals. Treatment options for drug and alcohol abuse are also given.
Women’s Program at Payne Whitney Manhattan
525 East 68th Street, 888-694-5700, nyppsychiatry.org
This psychiatry program offers a variety of mental health services geared specifically toward women, as they are much more likely than men to experience anxiety or depression during their lives. Among the life events that may be triggers: infertility, pregnancy, pregnancy loss, menopause, breast cancer, and domestic violence. Ethnic and cultural considerations are also taken into account.
Diet & Body Image
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders
This nonprofit organization provides free support groups, treatment referrals, and information to both individuals struggling with eating disorders and their family members. The hotline is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The New York Obesity Research Center
St. Luke’s—Roosevelt Hospital Center, 1090 Amsterdam Avenue, 212-523-4196, nyweightloss.org
The mission of the center is to conduct research to help reduce the incidence of obesity. The center also has an outpatient weight-loss program that includes a full physical with blood work, followed by a dietician-designed food plan and weekly group meetings.
The Renfrew Center of New York
11 East 36th Street, 800-RENFREW, renfrewcenter.com
This offshoot of the Philadelphia clinic, the nation’s first freestanding facility dedicated to treating eating disorders, offers outpatient services such as therapist-led support groups and young-adult psychotherapy groups.
New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene STD Clinics
Multiple locations, 311 or 212-427-5120, nyc.gov
The city’s health department has free, confidential STD clinics in all five boroughs, as well as medication and follow-up treatment. The clinics also offer emergency contraception, vaccines for hepatitis A and B, and HIV/AIDS testing on a confidential or anonymous basis, all at no charge.
New York Center for Human Sexuality
Columbia University Medical Center, Irving Pavilion, 11th floor, 161 Fort Washington Avenue, 212-305-0123
The center performs research and provides care relating to female sexual dysfunction, including problems with desire, arousal, orgasm, and pain caused by sexual activity. Hormone therapy, sex therapy and marital counseling are among the available treatment options.
The Women’s Sexual Health Foundation
From information pamphlets and public seminars to lists of support groups and health care specialists, this nonprofit provides a range of resources to educate the public and medical community on female sexuality. Among the topics explored: the difficulties with desire and arousal associated with female sexual dysfunction, and communicating such problems with your doctor.
Aging & Menopause
American Menopause Foundation
350 Fifth Avenue, Suite 2822, 212-714-2398, americanmenopause.org
The nation’s only independent nonprofit health organization dedicated to menopause provides up-to-date information on scientific research, as well as a network of volunteers who do community outreach.
The Mount Sinai Visiting Doctors Program
1 Gustave L. Levy Place, 212-241-4141, mountsinai.org
This program provides medical care for the homebound elderly, including those who are uninsured. Visiting doctors make both routine and urgent visits, provide diagnosis and treatment and coordinate ongoing care with community groups and other health care professionals.
This center is part of the New York State Osteoporosis Prevention & Education Program, an initiative aimed at increasing awareness of the disease, which causes bones to become thin and weak, and is often associated with menopause or advanced age. It offers bone density testing and individualized treatment, as well as community outreach, including free lectures to organizations.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 11, 2005