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From left, Golisano Medical Oncology Center patients Carol Faccini, Margaret Tretter and John Gabriele join to ring the victory bell in a symbolic act that that officially opened the new center at Thursday's dedication ceremony. Cancer patients will ring the bell to announce the completion of treatment. (Image courtesy of NFMMC)
From left, Golisano Medical Oncology Center patients Carol Faccini, Margaret Tretter and John Gabriele join to ring the victory bell in a symbolic act that that officially opened the new center at Thursday's dedication ceremony. Cancer patients will ring the bell to announce the completion of treatment. (Image courtesy of NFMMC)

Roswell Park, NFMMC & Tom Golisano team up to make cancer care more accessible in Niagara

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Thu, Jul 16th 2020 07:15 pm

The Golisano Medical Oncology Center, a member site within the Roswell Park Care Network, dedicated in downtown Niagara Falls

Proponents of making high-end health care services more accessible to people in Niagara County had reason to celebrate Thursday in downtown Niagara Falls.

In a ceremony streamed live on Facebook – an event kept small in accordance with current health guidelines regarding group gatherings – representatives from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center dedicated the new Golisano Medical Oncology Center, a member site within the Roswell Park Care Network.

The 6,085-square-foot facility, built at a cost of $2 million, is located on Memorial’s fourth floor. Construction of the center was supported by a $1.5 million donation from philanthropist and businessman Tom Golisano.

“The expert cancer care provided at this new center is welcome news for all Niagara County residents and directly addresses health disparity issues that historically have impacted African Americans, Native Americans, people with mental health issues and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center President and CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo.

“No longer will a lack of transportation to Roswell’s Buffalo campus be a barrier to receiving care from Roswell’s nationally renowned network of physicians and supportive care teams – teams devoted to reducing the burden of cancer,” he added.

“Today marks a huge milestone for health care in Western New York because it fulfills our vision for quality-driven, patient-centered medical oncology services in Niagara County,” said Candace S. Johnson, Ph.D., president and CEO and M&T Bank Presidential Chair in Leadership at Roswell Park. “We have a responsibility as a comprehensive cancer center to put our team’s expertise to work for people across our region and throughout the state. We are so grateful to the Niagara Falls Memorial team for their commitment to this collaborative, innovative model for serving this community.”

“Caring for cancer patients and playing a part in their journeys has been an incredible privilege,” said Golisano Center Medical Director Bhuvana Ramkumar, M.D., a medical oncologist and hematologist who has been providing care through the Roswell Park Care Network for more than two years. “Knowing that we are bringing a new level of care and attention and a wider array of treatment options to a community that has been too-long underserved makes the experience that much more fulfilling for our team of cancer specialists. We really want to make a difference for this community.”

“I applaud the collaborative efforts of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center,” Golisano said in a prepared statement. “They have made a commitment to inclusive health for all including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities who often fall through the cracks of complex health care systems and specialty care, including early detection, cancer screening and treatment.”

The Golisano Medical Oncology Center will make Roswell’s expertise in such areas as hematology, chemotherapy infusion and the newest cancer treatments, including immunotherapies, readily accessible to those who live and work in Niagara County.

“It was less than 14 months ago that Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center joined the Roswell Park Care Network, a collaborative that builds on existing clinical relationships to connect patients to medical treatment in their own communities,” Ruffolo said. “The onset of COVID-19 has changed all our lives in some profound ways. But, one thing that hasn’t changed is the need for expert cancer care in our community. The Golisano Medical Oncology Center is a huge step in the right direction.”

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