The Phyllis Newman - Healthcare Initiative

About the Program

In 1996, Phyllis Newman founded the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative of The Actors' Fund of America (PNWHI)  to address the myriad of concerns women face when dealing with a serious medical condition. When women come to The Fund after a serious medical diagnosis they are often overwhelmed with concerns about their ability to work, family issues, managing basic bills as well as medical bills, and coping both physically and mentally with a challenging medical situation. Since 1996, The Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative has disbursed millions of dollars to women in need.

The PNWHI dedicates a range of resources solely to addressing the health needs and concerns specific to women, including breast, cervical and ovarian cancers, plus domestic violence, chemical dependency and mental health issues, as well as providing services and financial assistance to women without health insurance.

The PNWHI Social Workers help women negotiate the steps that follow a serious medical diagnosis. Through intensive case management, access to individual counseling, support groups, educational seminars, linkage to community supports and short-term financial assistance, the social workers help women receive the nurturing support that they need.

Each year, the Women's Health Initiative provides hundreds of mammograms and gynecological exams at no charge to women in “the business” without adequate health insurance at The Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic at The Aurora on West 57th Street and Tenth Avenue in New York City.

Facts and Figures: 2009


  • 471 clients were served by the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative.
  • 177 mammograms were provided at The Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic.
  • 227 gynecological exams were provided at The Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic.
  • Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS gave grants totaling $400,000 to the PNWHI.
  • The Actors Fund provided $233,875 in financial support to PNWHI clients.


Nothing Like A Dame

Since 1996, Phyllis Newman has hosted an annual Nothing Like A Dame gala to benefit the Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative. Billed as “the thinking woman’s vaudeville,” Nothing Like A Dame has featured a galaxy of Broadway luminaries throughout its successful history, from Bernadette Peters and Bebe Neuwirth to Uta Hagen and Chita Rivera. Nothing Like A Dame 2010 was dedicated to Lynn Redgrave and celebrated the work of Comden and Green. Click here to become a fan of Nothing Like A Dame on Facebook.

For More Information

Click here to learn more about PNWHI on The Actors Fund website.

Click here to read more about Broadway Cares' support of PNWHI.

Click here to read "A Conversation with Phyllis Newman" originally published by Coping with Cancer Magazine.