Willie Underwood III, MD, MPH, MSci
Areas of Expertise:
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.
Kidney cancer outcomes
Prostate cancer treatment decision-making
Prostate cancer survivorship and quality of life
Understanding the role of cancer risk perception in cancer screening
Education and Training:
MD - Upstate Medical University, State University of New York, Syracuse, NY
MSci - Upstate Medical University, State University of New York at Syracuse, Syracuse, NY
MPH - School of Public Health at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT
Urology, American Board of Urology
Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
- Perceived cancer risk: why is it lower among nonwhites than whites?. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers and prevention 2010; 19(3):746-754 .
- Prospective clinical trial of preoperative sunitinib in patients with renal cell carcinoma. Journal of urology 2010; 184(3):859-864 .
- Racial/ethnic minorities perceive themselves at lower risk for breast and colon cancer than whites. Annals of behavioral medicine 2010; 39(Suppl. 1):64 .
- Multiple physician recommendations for prostate cancer treatment: a Pandora's box for patients?. Canadian journal of urology 2010; 17(5):5346-5354 .
- Breast cancer racial disparities: unanswered questions. Cancer research 2011; 71(3):640-644 .
- Current status of robot-assisted surgery in urology: a multi-national survey of 297 urologic surgeons. Canadian journal of urology 2009; 16(4):4736-4741 .
- Race/ethnicity, risk perception, and receipt of prostate-specific antigen testing. Journal of the National Medical Association 2009; 101(7):698-704 .
- Race/ethnicity and the perception of the risk of developing prostate cancer. American journal of preventive medicine 2009; 37(1):64-67 .
- Low awareness that cigarette smoking is a risk factor for bladder cancer. Annals of behavioral medicine 2011; 41(Suppl. 1):S84 .
- RENAL nephrometry score predicts surgical outcomes of laparoscopic partial nephrectomy. BJU international 2011; 108(6):876-881 .
- Utilization trends in prostate cancer therapy. Journal of urology 2011; 186(3):860-864 .
- Impact of cytoreductive nephrectomy on eligibility for systemic treatment and effects on survival: are surgical complications or disease related factors responsible? . Urology 2011; 78(3):595-600 .
- Utilization of partial nephrectomy at a cancer center in the modern era : 2011 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium. Journal of clinical oncology 2011; 29(7 Suppl.):370 .
- Racial/ethnic differences in receipt of pelvic lymph node dissection among men with localized/regional prostate cancer. Cancer 2011; 117(20):4651-4658 .
- Patterns of information behavior and prostate cancer knowledge among African-American men. Journal of cancer education 2011; 26(4):708-716 .
- Androgen deprivation therapy for patients with prostate carcinoma and Parkinson's disease: case report and review of literature. Canadian journal of urology 2009; 16(1):4495-4497 .
- Role of stomata in plant innate immunity and foliar bacterial diseases. Annual review of phytopathology 2008; 46 :101-122 .
- Family history of cancer: is it an accurate indicator of cancer risk in the immigrant population? . Cancer 2008; 112(2):399-406 .
- Personality predicts prostate cancer treatment decision-making difficulty and satisfaction. Psycho-oncology 2009; 18(3):290-299 .
- Interplay of race, socioeconomic status, and treatment on survival of patients with prostate cancer. Urology 2009; 74(6):1296-1302 .
- Focal accumulation of defences at sites of fungal pathogen attack. Journal of experimental botany 2008; 59(13):3501-3508 .
- Perioperative and renal function outcomes of minimally invasive partial nephrectomy for t(1b) and t(2a) kidney tumors. Journal of endourology 2012; 26(3):244-248 .
- Safety and outcomes of surgical treatment of renal cell carcinoma in the elderly. Canadian journal of urology 2012; 19(1):6111-6117 .
- Intermediate-term oncological efficacy of laparoscopic retroperitoneal lymph node dissection for non-seminomatous germ cell testicular cancer. BJU international 2012; 109(2):281-285 .
- A physician's perspective on health care discrimination. American journal of public health 2012; 102(5):779 .
- Partial versus radical nephrectomy in the elderly: A surgical conundrum. Journal of clinical oncology 2012; 30(15 Suppl.):Abstract #e15046 .
- Association of calcium channel blocker use with prostate cancer aggressiveness, progression-free survival, and overall survival : ASCO Meeting Abstracts Part 1. Journal of clinical oncology 2012; 30(15 Suppl.):Abstract #e15204 .
- Life-threatening disparities: The treatment of black and white cancer patients. Journal of social issues 2012; 68(2):328-357 .