Willie Underwood, III, MD, MSci, MPH, was appointed to the faculty at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) in 2008. He serves in the Department of Urologic Oncology, providing clinical care to prostate cancer patients and their families, and in the Office of Cancer Health Disparities Research where his academic efforts focus on methods to improve the early detection and treatment of prostate cancer in medically underserved New Yorkers.
Dr. Underwood came to RPCI from Wayne State University and Karmanos Cancer Institute, Detroit, MI, where he served as Assistant Professor in the Department of Urology. Dr. Underwood earned his medical degree in 1994 from the State University of New York at Syracuse, Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY and completed residency training in General Surgery in 1996 and Urology in 2000 at the University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT. He completed the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program in 2002 at the University of Michigan. He earned a Masters in Public Health (MPH) in Health Management and Policy in 2004 from the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and then served as Assistant Professor in Urology from 2002 to 2005.
Dr. Underwood is certified by the American Board of Urology. His research interests include factors influencing the racial treatment disparities in, and novel therapies for, prostate cancer. His research is funded by the National Institute of Health / National Cancer Institute. He has also received funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Urological Association. He has been selected as a "rising star" in urology by the American Urological Association Foundation.
Dr. Underwood is the Co- Principle Investigator on two National Institute of Health funded research grants entitled “Race, Prostate Cancer Treatment, and Treatment Decision Difficulty and Regret” (Dr. Heather Orom Co-PI) and the National Cancer Institute Community Network Partnership grant entitled “Western New York Cancer Coalition (WNYC2) Center to Reduce Disparities” (Dr. Deborah Erwin Co-PI).
Dr. Underwood works to improve the health and the healthcare of all Americans through his clinical care, research, and public policy advocacy efforts. He was appointed by the American Medical Association Board of Trustees Council of Legislation which serves to advise and provide input the AMA BOT regarding all healthcare legislation at the federal and state levels. He was appointed to the American Urology Association's Health Policy Council and the Legislative Affair Committee which serves to advise the AUA on all health policy and legislation that may impact urologic health outcomes and urologic healthcare delivery and training. In the above roles, Dr. Underwood meets with U.S. Members of Congress and their staff to discuss healthcare legislation several times a year and participates in national radio shows and sometimes local television to educate the public regarding various healthcare issues. Dr Underwood also works to improve the health and healthcare internationally. He serves as a Member of the Board of IVUMed which is committed to making quality urological care available to people worldwide. In fulfilling this mission, IVUMed provides medical and surgical education to physicians and nurses and treatment to thousands of suffering children and adults.
Additionally, Dr. Underwood serves on the Board of Drop In Nation. The mission of Drop In Nation is to serve out of school youth as well as unemployed or underemployed adults. We accomplish this by providing holistic education, which includes life skills, and career-training opportunities in a collaborative community based setting.
Dr. Underwood’s efforts to improve the health and healthcare of the poor and disenfranchised extends beyond his highly funded research. He is known nationally for his involvement in healthcare policy and legislation. Also, he is a member of the American Medical Association’s Council of Legislation and is Chair of the Erie County Legislative Committee. Dr. Underwood has represented the American Urological Association and the American Medical Association on Capitol Hill regarding healthcare policies and legislation and potential impact on healthcare delivery for all Americans. Dr. Underwood, with a team of Nigerian Surgeons, performed the first reported radical prostatectomy in Nigeria.
Dr. Underwood is a member of the American Medical Association, the American Urology Association, American Association of Clinical Urologists, and the National Medical Association.
He has authored and co-authored several peer reviewed publications, books chapters and abstracts regarding kidney, bladder and prostate cancer care and outcomes, as well various healthcare disparities topics.