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Release Date: 06/06/2014

Recognizing that there are healing powers to working the earth in a garden – not to mention the nutritional benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables – staff with the Integrative Care Program in the Program in Women's Oncology at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island has launched a community-style gardening program for cancer patients, survivors and caregivers.

Dubbed Gardens of Hope and Healing, the new program is currently available at the Hope Valley Ranch and Retreat Center in Hope Valley. Other locations in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts will be added in the future.

"It is our hope that this project will offer inspiration to cancer patients and their caregivers to help them cultivate their own course to health and well-being," explains Sandra Scuncio, director of the Integrative Care Program and operator of the first garden, which is named in memory of her mother, who had breast cancer.

Through Gardens of Hope and Healing, people are invited to create, plant, nurture, gather, share and enjoy home-grown organic fruits, vegetables and herbs. They will also be given recipes for nutritious meals using the various produce they reap. They can have their own plots or work the main plot. Gardening enthusiasts like Scuncio and her husband John, a master gardener, will often be on hand for guidance and help.

"The Program in Women's Oncology recognizes not only the physical needs of patients but also their emotional and social needs. A healing garden can be the perfect recipe to nourish an individual's mind, body and spirit," Scuncio says. "The gardens will provide an environment for relaxation, reflection and therapeutic gardening for patients, no matter where they are receiving treatment.

"Sophia's Garden is a peaceful refuge and an opportunity for those touched by cancer to reconnect with nature's healing properties."

Anyone interested in gardening in the Garden of Hope and Healing or in donating another plot of land for cancer patients and caregivers to garden can call the Integrative Care Program at (401) 274-1122, ext. 47247.

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About Women & Infants Hospital

Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, is one of the nation’s leading specialty hospitals for women and newborns. A major teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics, as well as a number of specialized programs in women’s medicine, Women & Infants is the 9th largest stand-alone obstetrical service in the country and the largest in New England with approximately 8,500 deliveries per year. A Designated Baby-Friendly® USA hospital, U.S.News & World Report 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospital in Neonatology and a 2014 Leapfrog Top Hospital, in 2009 Women & Infants opened what was at the time the country’s largest, single-family room neonatal intensive care unit.

Women & Infants and Brown offer fellowship programs in gynecologic oncology, maternal-fetal medicine, urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery, neonatal-perinatal medicine, pediatric and perinatal pathology, gynecologic pathology and cytopathology, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. It is home to the nation’s first mother-baby perinatal psychiatric partial hospital, as well as the nation’s only fellowship program in obstetric medicine.

Women & Infants has been designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiography; a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology; a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and a Neonatal Resource Services Center of Excellence. It is one of the largest and most prestigious research facilities in high risk and normal obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics in the nation, and is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Gynecologic Oncology Group and the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network.
Women & Infants Hospital News


Amy Blustein
Director of Marketing
800 Butler Drive
Providence, RI 02906
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