Reducing the risk of cancer in vulnerable communities
Education and literacy. Access to healthcare. Social and economic status. Racial bias and discrimination. Cultural beliefs.
Our multidisciplinary team of cancer scientists and outreach specialists are unraveling the complexities of who is most at risk for cancer and why. And with improved screening and education, we can begin to address these inequities and impact the negative statistics.
“Our mission is to build partnerships and deliver services to reduce the cancer burden among the people and communities we serve, especially for those most in need.”
Our mission is to build partnerships and deliver services to reduce the cancer burden among the people and communities we serve, especially for those most in need.
Goals and objectives
The primary goals of Community Outreach and Education research at Roswell Park are advancing the understanding of health disparities, and creating integrated community-based services and educational programs tailored to meet the needs of these populations.
Research and education programs
National Witness Project (NWP)
The NWP educates and engages participants on early cancer detection through stories told by breast and cervical cancer survivors in churches and community settings.Learn More
Esperanza y Vida (EyV)
Meaning “Hope and Life” in Spanish, Esperanza y Vida is a program that educates and helps increase breast, cervical cancer and diabetes screening in Latinas living in rural and urban areas.Learn More
The Roswell CARE Lab is passionate about understanding more about caregiving so that we can develop strategies to reduce suffering and enhance outcomes that matter to caregivers and patients.Learn More
Our patient navigators work closely with the primary care providers at Federally Qualified Health Centers across Western New York to provide support and navigation related to cancer screening.Learn More
Launched in 2017, Roswell Park’s Research Oncology Community Knowledge program — ROCKstars — helps ensure survivors, patients and caregivers have a seat at the table when it comes to safeguarding and improving patient care and comfort.Learn More
Roswell’s AIR (Awareness, Information and Resources) for Lung-Cancer Screening program partners with the community to reduce barriers to lung-cancer screening among underserved communities in Western New York, especially Blacks, Hispanics and senior citizens.Learn More
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is located in western New York State (WNY), serving both urban centers and rural areas. Our primary catchment area consists of eight counties and 1.5 million people, with approximately 60% of that base residing in Erie County. Our Office of Community Outreach & Engagement is always striving to increase our reach and impact both within our catchment area and beyond.
Why study cancer health disparities?
Cancer rates and trends can vary from place to place. For example, western New York has higher rates of breast and lung cancer than other parts of the state or country.
In addition, specific groups — African-Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, refugees and others — face an increased risk for developing cancer and a greater burden from the disease, such as poorer survival:
- African-Americans are more likely to die from cancer when diagnosed than any other racial or ethnic population in the nation.
- Native Americans have a greater risk for developing and dying from kidney cancer.
- Hispanic populations are more likely to get and die from cancers of the stomach, liver, gallbladder and cervix — some of which are related to infections.
- Low income/low socioeconomic status individuals are more likely to die from cancer and be diagnosed with cancer at later stages than those with higher incomes.
Did you know…
Refugee populations are at higher risk for cancers more prevalent in developing countries.
White women get breast cancer more often, but African-American women die more often from the disease.
Residents of rural areas have higher rates of lung, cervical and colon cancer than people in cities.
The numbers tell our story
In 2019-2020, Office of Community Outreach & Engagement reached nearly 13,000 individuals through 450 presentations, cancer screenings and educational events tailored to underserved and high-need populations in both rural and urban areas.
|Program||Number of Events||Audience Reached|
|National Witness Project||310||5,376|
|Esperanza y Vida||62||890|
|Center for Indigenous Cancer Research||45||4,148|
|AIR Program (Lung Cancer)||2||22|
|General Cancer Education||25||2,479|
Hope Lives Here: Roswell Park in Our Community 2021
Caring for cancer patients and their families is just the beginning of Roswell Park’s mission. It’s important to us to give back to our neighbors in the Western New York community and beyond through events, educational opportunities, health screenings and partnerships.
See how far Roswell Park’s community engagement extends in “Hope Lives Here: Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Our Community,” our 2021 community annual report.Learn More
Center for Indigenous Cancer Research (CICR)
The CICR launched in January 2020 with a simple and ambitious goal: to reduce the impact of cancer on indigenous communities regionally, nationally and internationally.
Cancer science education & training
We’re committed to training the next generation of research scientists to develop expertise in all areas of cancer health disparities. Trainees in Roswell Park’s Cancer Prevention PhD track study closely with Health Disparities program members and participate in all phases of basic and translational research.