Zarek Mena OPN-CG

Breast Health Program Manager, Smilow Breast Health Center & Whittingham Cancer Center at Nuvance Health Cancer Institute

Zarek Mena has 15 years of experience in the field of patient navigation and is a caregiver at heart. She obtained certifications from the Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute and the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators. She was instrumental in the creation of the Smilow Family Breast Health Center at Nuvance Health, including numerous support programs at the Whitingham Cancer Center. She serves on AONN+ Leadership Counsel. Zarek facilitates the Connecticut Patient Navigation Network (CTPNN) comprised of nurse navigators, patient navigators, social work and administration. She co-facilitates the newly formed Oncology Patient Navigation Network- Virtual (OPNN-Virtual). Zarek assists with the AONN+ LNN Development and Sustainability team, Conference Planning Committee, Integrative Health Committee, and other speaking projects. She is a member of the National Navigator Round Table’s Policy Task Force. Zarek’s passion in serving the under-represented and historically excluded communities has led to implementing local programs addressing various needs such as food insecurity, cold capping, integrative medicine, grant funding, as well as cancer screening through the Connecticut Early Detection and Prevention Program. Zarek’s own cancer journey, her sibling’s childhood cancer and hands on career in oncology provides a life-long insight and dedication to the cancer community.