The Importance of Inclusion During Cancer Care

“Discrimination is discrimination and we will not tolerate it.” -Dr. Candace Johnson

Imagine you’ve recently been diagnosed with cancer. You’re scared, confused and overwhelmed. You walk through the doors for your very first appointment with your oncologist. What’s going through your mind?

You’re probably thinking about a lot of things from fear and worry to anticipation and hope. However, there’s one important, often subconscious, thing your brain is doing as well – seeking out others who have the same attributes as you.

Research tells us that when we enter a new situation, we try to find people who remind us of ourselves. This can mean the same race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, sexual identity and much more. It’s easier for us to feel accepted and included in a new environment if we find something or someone that feels familiar to us. During a high-stress time like a cancer diagnosis, it’s especially important to a patient’s health and healing that they feel empowered and celebrated.

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At Roswell Park, we know that not only do our patients deserve an inclusive, diverse environment but also that we need diversity in the fight against cancer. It takes many different cultures, lifestyles and backgrounds to come up with new and creative approaches to finding cancer cures. Because of this, we actively work to seek out a diverse workforce through job fairs, resume workshops, community events and more. Additionally, because different bodies respond to treatments in different ways, we need all genders and people with different racial and ethnic background to participate in clinical trials. Minority participation in these studies is key to finding successful new cancer therapies.

Our ultimate goal is to provide a welcoming, home-like atmosphere where anyone and everyone feels comfortable. Our diversity is our strength, and we will not stand for any form of discrimination. We will continue to collaborate with a diverse range of compassionate, brilliant minds to work towards a world without cancer.

For questions, resources and more information, please contact David Scott, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, at david.scott@roswellpark.org or visit RoswellPark.org/diversity.