International Oncology Expert to Lead Division in Pediatrics

Kara Kelly, MD ’89

Published October 26, 2015

Kara Kelly, MD ’89, has been appointed chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology in the Department of Pediatrics, and she will lead the joint pediatric hematology and oncology program — a partnership of Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, UB and UBMD Pediatrics.

“She is a national and international leader in the oncology field, and she brings to Western New York her rich expertise as a clinician, teacher and clinical investigator, with specific expertise in clinical trials.”
UB Distinguished Professor and chair of pediatrics; chief of endocrinology and diabetes

Kelly is a national and international expert in the treatment of pediatric lymphoma and leukemia.

Currently a professor of pediatrics at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and associate director of the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/Stem Cell Transplantation at Columbia, Kelly will begin her new role at UB in February 2016.

“In another example of the collaboration synonymous with the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, our medical faculty, residents and students are looking forward to working closely with Dr. Kelly and benefiting from her skills in caring for one of our most vulnerable patient populations — children with cancer,” said Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Expertise in Clinical Trials, Integrative Medicine

Kelly is “a national and international leader in the oncology field, and she brings to Western New York her rich expertise as a clinician, teacher and clinical investigator, with specific expertise in clinical trials,” said Teresa Quattrin, MD, UB Distinguished Professor and chair of the UB Department of Pediatrics, who is chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes.

Kelly is interested in how nutrition and diet may help children better tolerate their treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

She has taken a leading role in efforts to increase clinical trial access for adult and pediatric minority patients. She is the lead investigator for the Columbia University Minority/Underserved Site National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program, which links adult and pediatric minority patients with opportunities to participate in clinical trials.

Kelly chairs the Hodgkin lymphoma committee of the Children’s Oncology Group, the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to childhood and adolescent cancer research.

Her focus on helping patients and their families cope with cancer therapy led her to co-author a book on integrative strategies for cancer patients, a resource for managing the side effects of cancer therapy.

Leading Joint Program on Downtown Medical Campus

The integrated academic and clinical pediatric hematology and oncology program that Kelly will lead will provide inpatient care at the new John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital, currently under construction on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, and outpatient care at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI). 

“As we transition into the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, we will look to Dr. Kelly as an integral leader in solidifying the joint pediatric hematology and oncology program with Roswell Park Cancer Institute — and improving the quality of care we provide to our patients and families,” said Allegra C. Jaros, MBA, president of Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo (WCHOB).

Relocation of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences to the downtown medical campus — along with WCHOB — will allow for enhanced services and will provide opportunities for growth in clinical care and medical research and teaching.

Candace S. Johnson, PhD, president and CEO of RPCI, noted that Martin L. Brecher, MD, associate professor of pediatrics and current chief of UB’s Division of Hematology and Oncology, built the program into a comprehensive network to meet patients’ needs. “Now we look forward to watching this network grow and evolve with Dr. Kelly’s vision,” she said.

UB Alumna Trained at the University of Pennsylvania

Kelly graduated from medical school at UB in 1989. 

She completed both her pediatric residency and pediatric hematology and oncology fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in human biology from Brown University.

Undertaking Multiple Health Care Roles

In addition to her UB roles as research professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of Hematology and Oncology, Kelly will be appointed chair of pediatric oncology, professor of oncology and the Waldemar J. Kaminski Endowed Chair of Pediatrics at RPCI and medical director of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Service Line at WCHOB, a Kaleida Health facility.

Kelly will also assume the responsibilities of division chief of hematology and oncology at UBMD Pediatrics.