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Dr. Ellen Grant Joins Roswell Park in New Role Focused on Community Engagement and Social Responsibility

Buffalo native brings experience in healthcare, education and government to new Executive Director position

  • Dr. Grant will lead CARES Program, expand contracting opportunities
  • She’ll steer initiatives aimed at increasing sustainability and health equity
  • Dr. Grant began career as a nurse, most recently was Deputy Mayor of Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — After nearly three decades of service-focused work in the fields of education, government, education and nursing, Ellen Grant, PhD, LCSW-R, is returning to healthcare, joining Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in the newly created role of Executive Director for Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Education.

A Buffalo native, Dr. Grant began her career as a nurse, and most recently worked as Deputy Mayor of the City of Buffalo, N.Y. Her previous experience includes leadership roles with Say Yes to Education, where she served as Fellow and Senior Vice President for Chapter Programming; the Erie County Department of Mental Health; and Niagara Falls Medical Center, where she was CEO.

In this new role, Dr. Grant will oversee the Roswell Park CARES Program, which provides volunteers, financial support and project management to help area organizations meet community needs. Much of her work will focus on expanding opportunities for Minority and Women Business Enterprises (MWBE) and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses (SDVOB). She will also help to build and enhance partnerships with organizations and educators from underrepresented communities toward the goals of promoting sustainability, building health equity, supporting those who are marginalized or economically disadvantaged and encouraging learners from underrepresented groups to engage in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.

“We are so fortunate to have Dr. Grant leading our work in these critically important areas,” says Candace S. Johnson, PhD, President, CEO and M&T Bank Presidential Chair in Leadership at Roswell Park. “Her perspectives on healthcare, education and sustainable growth will be an incredible resource as we work to ensure that every Roswell Park program and initiative purposefully supports diversity, equity and inclusion both within and outside of our center.”

Dr. Grant has made history in both her professional and her volunteer work. During her time with the Erie County Department of Health, she became the first African American appointed as the county’s Commissioner of Mental Health and the first African American elected as President of the New York State Association of Counties. Dr. Grant has received awards at the local and state level, including the Western New York Women’s Hall of Fame. She was also previously selected as one of twelve women internationally to be given a one-year fellowship with the International Women’s Forum Leadership Foundation in Washington, D.C. Her extensive volunteer contributions include roles as Past President for the New York State chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. 

An author and educator, Dr. Grant has taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels for the University of New York at Buffalo and D’Youville University. She has penned Managing in Black & White, Management for You: Leadership Can Be Colorblind and The Female Worker’s Fourteen Commandments for Powering Up your Career, as well as chapters in anthologies such as Go Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the First Lady.

“On behalf of Team City Hall and the residents of Buffalo, I extend a heartfelt thanks to Dr. Grant for her dedication and service and wish her well in her new role at Roswell Park,” says Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. “As one of my Deputy Mayors, Dr. Grant served in an important leadership role in City government and shared my mission to help expand opportunity for all people.  From her assistance with the City’s response during the height of the COVID-19 global health pandemic, to implementing mental health first aid training for police and community members, to formalizing the Buffalo Police Department’s Behavioral Health Team, as well as the grace and compassion she showed during our response to the May 14th tragedy at the Tops on Jefferson Avenue, Dr. Grant helped us deliver a more equitable, prosperous, and strong future for the people of Buffalo.” 


Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is a community united by the drive to eliminate cancer’s grip on humanity by unlocking its secrets through personalized approaches and unleashing the healing power of hope. Founded by Dr. Roswell Park in 1898, it is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in Upstate New York. Learn more at www.roswellpark.org, or contact us at 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or ASKRoswell@RoswellPark.org.

Media Contact

Rebecca Vogt, Media Relations Specialist
716-845-4919; rebecca.vogt@roswellpark.org