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 reduce the cancer burden.


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.

Click to watch the entirety of the WNY Cancer Snapshot press conference, held on Thursday, September 22, 2022

WNY Cancer Snapshot: 2022

One of the core focuses of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Department of Cancer Prevention & Control is to assess the impact of cancer across Western New York (WNY). This team has compiled a new resource to report to the community those cancers that are most prevalent, documenting noteworthy changes in cancer incidence, deaths from cancer and variations in these trends among people of different races or ethnicities.

Roswell volunteers in the community

Upcoming community events

View our calendar of upcoming community outreach events. For more information please contact Nikia Clark at or call 716-845-4888.

View our calendar

Elizabeth Bouchard, MA, PhD

“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.”

Research and education programs

Witness Project Team

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.

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Esperanza y Vida reaches out to Latinx communities

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.

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The Roswell Park CARE Lab team


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.

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Roswell Park COE Clinic Team and Patient Navigators

Clinic-Based Navigation

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.

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Elisa Rodriguez, PhD, MS


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.

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Lung AIR Team - Jomary Colon and Nikia Clark

Roswell AIR

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.

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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
Total 444 12,915

Together We Thrive: Roswell Park in Our Community 2023

We believe our greatest strength comes from our people. As a community, our strength comes from our diversity and from our history of being a welcoming beacon of hope and opportunity for everyone searching for optimism, comfort and new beginnings.

See how far Roswell Park supports our community in “Together We Thrive: Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Our Community,” our 2023 community annual report.

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Flag Raising at Roswell Park; November 2020

Department of Indigenous Cancer Health

The department 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.

Mobile lung cancer screening vehicle

Early Detection Driven to You

Eddy is mobile lung cancer screening that will bring life-saving lung cancer screening to the New Yorkers who need it most, especially medically underserved and racially diverse populations.

Contact us

Office of Community Outreach and Engagement
Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
907 Michigan Ave.
Buffalo, New York 14204
Phone: 716-845-8340
Fax: 716-845-4454