Team of nearly 30 experts will guide efforts to increase diversity at cancer centers
- Dr. Rodriguez has background in public health research, education
- Forum made up of 27 experts from NCCN member institutions
- Group will work to implement policy, practice initiatives at national level
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Recognizing her successful efforts to address health disparities and improve outcomes in medically underserved populations, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) has appointed Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Elisa M. Rodriguez, PhD, MS, to its newly-formed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Directors Forum.
Dr. Rodriguez, Roswell Park’s Vice President & Associate Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, joins a group of 27 individuals from fellow NCCN Member Institutions who are working on DEI within the healthcare space. The group will work to establish best practices in DEI and encourage diverse representation in oncology.
“Serving on this committee is an opportunity to lend my voice and experience as a cancer researcher to efforts happening at the national level to establish and align DEI best practices across the work of the cancer centers,” says Dr. Rodriguez.
A proud Roswell Park graduate with more than 15 years of experience conducting community-engaged research and teaching, Dr. Rodriguez has held multiple roles within the cancer center including Chief Diversity and Equity Officer for Faculty. As the Director of the Community Engagement Resource she worked with staff and survivors to develop the Research Oncology Community Knowledge (ROCKstars) program. In addition, she also serves as faculty liaison to the Community Advisory Board that informs and guides the work of the Community Outreach and Engagement team.
“There are significant disparities in cancer outcomes across race and ethnicity; this is unacceptable and must be addressed urgently and thoroughly. Increasing diverse representation among care providers is one overdue step toward improving the equity and quality of cancer care,” says Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. “Unfortunately, we have a long way to go, and the people doing this crucial work are often underfunded and overburdened. We’re happy to be able to use NCCN’s existing infrastructure to address some of that burden.”