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2011 City Guide: Roswell

Kim Miers

Roswell: a place that’s so familiar we call it by its first name; a place it’s easy to take for granted—unless you have cancer. Then you quickly learn that RPCI, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, is a world-class hospital, the only upstate New York “comprehensive cancer center” as designated by the National Cancer Institute, and one of only forty in the country.

Roswell Park represents one-fourth of the 100-acre Buffalo Medical Campus, spreading over 25 acres with fifteen buildings. Nearly 5,000 patients are admitted per year, with more than 30,000 more under active care through the national and international referral center. RPCI is also one of the top twenty employers in the region, with over 3,300 employees. The most recent addition to the institute is a new hospital (1998) that offers 122 beds in a state-of-the-art facility.

Wouldn’t Dr. Roswell Park be stunned today to see the fruits of his vision? The hospital’s namesake was a pioneering surgeon—one who dreamed beyond his surgical practice, seeing the need for a collaborative approach to studying the many cancers scientists were only beginning to name at the end of the nineteenth century. In 1898 Park founded the hospital with the intention of it becoming, in his words, “a comprehensive, government-supported approach to studying and treating cancer.”

To this day teaching and research are integral components of RPCI, and its breakthrough accomplishments are many. Among them: the world’s first chemotherapy program, one of the first long-term follow-up clinics in the country, and breakthrough programs, protocols, tests, and procedures that have become life-saving and life-altering for thousands.

While RPCI is a place none of us hope to need, most Western New Yorkers have been touched in some way by its educational outreach, results of its research, or its support and treatment for a critical illness affecting a friend or family member. For more information and education, visit www.roswellpark.org.

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