Kara Kelly, MD

Professor of Oncology
Chair, Department of Pediatric Oncology
Waldemar J. Kaminski Endowed Chair of Pediatrics
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
Professor of Pediatrics
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo
Program Director, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Service Line
John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital of Buffalo

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Areas of Expertise: 
Hodgkin lymphoma in children and adolescents
Pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia
Langerhans cell histiocytosis


I am a pediatric oncologist with special expertise in the care of children and adolescents with leukemia and lymphoma. I have led two national clinical trials for high risk Hodgkin lymphoma through the NCI supported Children’s Oncology Group (COG), and since 2011 have chaired the COG Hodgkin lymphoma committee. I am member of the Scientific Advisory Board and the Adolescent and Young Adult Initiative Committee of the Lymphoma Research Foundation.

My interests in hematologic malignancies have also extended to the management of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). For 15 years I served as the Columbia University Medical Center site principal investigator for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Consortium, where I oversaw the conduct of nine trials for the management of ALL and its complications. I have a particular interest in the effects of ALL and its treatment on nutritional status, and have received grant funding from the American Institute for Cancer Research for the development of a large prospective dietary study in progress, evaluating the impact of nutrition on treatment related toxicities.

Another area of interest is providing access to clinical trials for minority patients. I served as the Principal Investigator for the Columbia University Minority Based Community Clinical Oncology Program from 2012-2014, and then successfully re-competed for the new version of the program, the Minority/Underserved NCI Community Oncology Research Program, with a $3.3 million grant and one of only 12 programs nationally to be selected for this award, which provides enhanced support to institutions that serve minorities with cancer. My current research is investigating how health disparities impact oral chemotherapy adherence in children with leukemia.

I am a leader in the field of pediatric integrative oncology. In 1998, I co-founded a novel clinical program that integrates complementary therapies into the care of children with cancer treated at Columbia University. I am actively involved in the investigation of complementary and alternative medicine for childhood cancer. Previously I was the chair of the COG Complementary Therapies Research Committee and continue to be a member of the COG Cancer Control and Supportive Care Steering Committee. I am a board member of the National Cancer Institute’s PDQ Editorial Board on Complementary and Alternative Medicine and a past president of the Society for Integrative Oncology. My research has focused on the use of complementary and alternative therapies for supportive care during conventional treatment for childhood cancer. My studies have focused on the utility of milk thistle for management of liver toxicity during chemotherapy for leukemia, the effects of chemotherapy on antioxidant status, and the use of electroacupuncture, acupressure and aromatherapy for prevention of chemotherapy associated nausea. Through collaborations in Central and South America, I am evaluating the use of traditional healing practices among families of children with cancer in low and middle income nations.

Along with Elena J. Ladas, MS, RD, I also co-authored "Integrative Strategies for Cancer Patients: A Practical Resource for Managing the Side Effects of Cancer Therapy," a reference book on integrative therapies during cancer treatment.

In February 2016, I relocated to Buffalo to serve as the Chair of Pediatrics at RPCI, as well as the Division Chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at UBMD Pediatrics and Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo and the Medical Director of the pediatric hematology/oncology service line at John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital.


Education and Training: 
1989 - MD - State University of New York at Buffalo, School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Buffalo, NY
1992 - Department of Pediatrics – The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
1996 - Pediatric Hematology/Oncology - The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
1993 - Pediatric Hematology/Oncology – Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London, UK
Board Certification: 
2015, 1998 - American Board of Pediatrics, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
2000, 1993 - American Board of Pediatrics, General Pediatrics
Professional Memberships: 
2009-present - American Society of Hematology
1997-present - Children's Oncology Group
Honors and Awards: 
2015 - James A. Wolff Professor of Pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center/New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital
2015 - New York Magazine Top Doctors
2010 - National Institute of Health Merit Award, National Cancer Institute, For Service to the PDQ Complementary and Alternative Medicine Editorial Board
2008-2015 - New York Super Doctors
2007-2015 - Best Doctors in America® Database
Professional Experience: 
1996-2016 - Columbia University Medical Center/New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, New York, NY