Roswell Park Workforce Swells to Record Level with Latest Slate of Hires and Promotions

The team at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center has reached record levels, growing to a workforce of more than 3,500. The latest appointments announced by Roswell Park President and CEO Candace S. Johnson, PhD, and her senior leadership team mark a milestone for the 121-year-old cancer center, reflecting expansion across all areas of operations, from clinical care and education to new frontiers in cancer research.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the team we have in place today,” notes Dr. Johnson, who just entered a fifth year as the cancer center’s chief executive. “We are able to attract and retain the very best candidates to an extent I have never seen in my 17 years at Roswell Park. These are people who could work anywhere, but they choose to work here because they are motivated by our mission and energized by the things they see our team accomplishing together.”

Those recently appointed or promoted include four clinical and scientific leaders newly named as senior vice presidents, as well as several

other health care leaders named to new or expanded roles in clinical care, research or education:

Andrei Gudkov, PhD, DSci, Named SVP for Research Technology and Innovation
Dr. Gudkov, who joined Roswell Park in 2007, remains professor of Oncology and Garman Family Chair in Cell Stress Biology. In his newly created Senior Vice President role, Dr. Gudkov will work to strengthen Roswell Park’s science technology platforms, facilitate and protect innovations and enhance technology transfer. He holds doctoral degrees in experimental oncology and molecular biology, and is the scientific founder of five biotech companies. His past experience includes roles with the Lerner Research Institute at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Case Western University.

Shirley Johnson, MBA, MS, RN, Named Chief Clinical Operations Officer and SVP
Serving as Chief Clinical Operations Officer and Senior Vice President since October 2018, Johnson oversees all clinical operations at Roswell Park. She joined the Roswell Park staff in 2016 as Chief Nursing Officer with nearly 25 years’ experience in oncology nursing and nursing administration, and with four decades of service as a registered nurse. Before she was recruited to Roswell Park, Johnson served as Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing and Patient Care Services Officer at City of Hope cancer center in southern California.

Kelvin Lee, MD, Named SVP for Basic Science
Dr. Lee’s focuses in this new role include informing Roswell Park’s research agenda, facilitating Imagegrant applications and serving as a strategic and technical resource for research faculty. He joined Roswell Park from the University of Miami in 2006. His training includes an oncology research fellowship at the University of Michigan Medical School’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Lee remains Professor of Oncology and Jacobs Family Chair in Immunology.

Carl Morrison, MD, DVM, Promoted to SVP of Scientific Development and Integrative Medicine
In this newly created role, Dr. Morrison steers the development of new core capabilities and technology platforms to support research integrating both the basic sciences and clinical care. He joined the Roswell Park faculty in 2007, and continues as Director of the Pathology Resource Network, Clinical Chief of the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Director of the Division of Molecular Pathology and Professor of Oncology. Over the last five years, Dr. Morrison has driven exponential advancement in Roswell Park’s next-generation sequencing programs and launched a Roswell Park spinoff company, Omniseq Inc.

Thomas Furlani, PhD, Joins Roswell Park as Chief Information Officer
Following a national search, Dr. Furlani was named as Roswell Park’s Chief Information Officer. He served formerly as Director of the Center for Computational Research at the University at Buffalo, where he earned a doctoral degree in physical chemistry. Dr. Furlani, who was also named Professor of Oncology in the Department of Information Technology at Roswell Park, will provide vision and leadership for information technology at Roswell Park.

“As a former patient at Roswell Park and cancer survivor, I am excited at the opportunity to be able to give back to the organization that has given me so much,” says Dr. Furlani, who grew up 100 yards from the Roswell Park campus. “I am here today because of the remarkable treatment I received more than seven years ago.”

Pamela Giesie, MSN, RN, PHN, CNOR, FABC, Promoted to Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)
In her new role as CNO, Giesie, who joined Roswell Park in 2017 as Deputy Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Nursing and Patient Care Services, will continue to oversee rehabilitation services, clinical nutrition, social work, food services and case management. She was previously Associate Chief Nursing Officer at City of Hope. Trained as a Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma, she also completed a fellowship with the Advisory Board Company, in 2016.

Adam Rosen, MS, Named Chief Information Security Officer
Adam Rosen has been promoted to Chief Information Security Officer. He joined Roswell Park’s staff in 2017 after spending 10 years as Chief Technology Officer at Twin City Ambulance. In his new role, Rosen is responsible for protecting data, improving cybersecurity, educating staff and launching new technologies and platforms.

Ermelinda Bonaccio, MD, Promoted to Chair of Diagnostic Radiology
In her new role, Dr. Bonaccio, who most recently served as Chief of Breast Imaging, will steer the entire diagnostic radiology program at Roswell Park, overseeing clinical diagnostics at all Roswell Park locations and community affiliates. A member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Breast Cancer Screening and Diagnosis Committee, Dr. Bonaccio is a graduate of Harvard Medical School who completed a fellowship in breast imaging at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Since joining the Roswell Park team in 2004, Dr. Bonaccio developed the breast MRI program and led the design and implementation of a new breast imaging center.

Brahm Segal, MD, Heads New Department of Internal Medicine
This new Roswell Park department unites several clinical programs, including the critical care, hospitalist medicine, infectious diseases, benign hematology, cardiology, clinical genetics, endocrinology, gastroenterology, pulmonary and clinical prevention teams. Dr. Segal has been Chief of Infectious Diseases at Roswell Park since 2001. In his new role as Chair of Internal Medicine, he will provide mentorship to faculty at all levels and support collaborations between clinicians and scientists.

Naveen Bangia, PhD, Returns as Associate Dean for Graduate Education
Dr. Bangia, who served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Immunology from 2001 to 2011, has rejoined Roswell Park and now directs the center’s education programs, which include doctoral and master’s degree programs, summer research experiences for high school and undergraduate students, and opportunities for younger students. A graduate of the doctoral program in immunology at the University of Toronto, Dr. Bangia also completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Yale University School of Medicine.

Peter Frederick, MD, FACOG, Promoted to Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Education
A fellowship-trained gynecologic oncologist, Dr. Frederick has been on staff at Roswell Park since 2010. He will manage the Graduate Medical Education program and serve as the primary liaison with UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and Office of Graduate Medical Education. He remains Director of Minimally Invasive Surgery and Clinical Disease Team Leader within the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at Roswell Park.

Scott Abrams, PhD, Named Co-Leader of Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Program
Dr. Abrams joined the Roswell Park faculty in 2008 from the Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, MD. He will help to strategically guide the research direction of the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy (TII) Program and facilitate the integration of individual efforts into “team science.”

Thinle Chodon, MD, PhD, Named Director of Therapeutic Cell Production Facility (TCPF)
Dr. Chodon directs the TCPF, a core resource within Roswell Park’s Center for Immunotherapy, overseeing the manufacture of current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP)-grade cellular products for clinical trials. She also manages quality assurance for this program and actively participates in the design, implementation and monitoring of infrastructure development, practices and processes. Before joining Roswell Park in 2013, Dr. Chodon led cellular manufacturing at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Deborah Cudzilo Joins Roswell Park as Director of Patient Access
Cudzilo brings more than 15 years of experience in healthcare to this role at Roswell Park. She has held leadership roles at organizations including Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and Erie County Medical Center. As the Director of Patient Access, Cudzilo oversees patient scheduling, registration and admissions, insurance registration and verification, and clinical authorizations.

Denise Rokitka MD, MPH, Promoted to New Role with Expanded ‘AYA’ Survivorship Program
Dr. Rokitka was named Director of Pediatric & Adolescent Cancer Survivorship and Director of the Adolescent & Young Adult (AYA) and Oncofertility Program, in addition to her role as a staff physician and Assistant Professor within the Department of Pediatric Oncology. She joined Roswell Park in 2008 as an Assistant Professor and Director of the Pediatric Long-Term Follow-Up Program — one of the oldest and most comprehensive resources of its kind.

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.