By Scott Scanlon – Refresh Editor
Eva Noles would wear a big smile if she walked the hallways today at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Noles broke big barriers in Buffalo in 1940, when she became the first African-American registered nurse in in the city, after finishing at the top of her nursing school class. She later became director of nursing at Roswell. Read more about her here.
She also would smile today because Roswell is a rainbow of color – and compassion – thanks to employees including Timikia “Candy” Craig, featured in this weekend’s “In the Field” feature in WNY Refresh.
Craig recently received the Eva M. Noles Scholarship, given annually to a minority or economically disadvantaged health care worker in the region who’s looking to further their career, and who has the qualities that made Noles – now 94 and living in Amherst – a caring nursing professional for decades, including well after her first retirement.
David Scott, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at Roswell, spoke eloquently during a recent interview about what diversity at the cancer institute means.
Part of his job involves legal matters, Scott told me, parts are educational, but a lot of his role "involves helping the various departments and various employees connect."
"You have diversity anytime you have two people,” he said. “What we focus on is the inclusion aspects and understanding beyond the skin what makes people different.”
Cancer doesn’t discriminate, Scott said, and Roswell seeks the brightest, most determined, most compassionate people from all walks of life to address it with all the power they can muster.
“My goal,” he said, “is to help people understand that diversity does not mean minorities. It goes beyond gender. You’re looking at learning styles, you’re looking at comprehension, experience and various perspectives, and how that all comes into play when we all show up here at Elm and Carlton streets.
"We have people from all over the world who are our employees, and their patients, and it’s important for people to feel like they can bring their whole selves to the Institute, whichever way they’re coming in…
As a Roswell employee, Scott said, "You have to have compassion in order to survive here and in order to do well, because we’re faced with some of the most difficult challenges that people can face.”