Champions are often pictured as icons or superheroes who were born different than the ordinary man or woman. But more often they are ordinary people in our own communities whose actions make them extraordinary. We recently honored “Tobacco-Free Community Champion,” Dr. Frances Ilozue, MD, director of Rapha Family Wellness Centers in Buffalo, as a shining example.

A tireless advocate for her tobacco-dependent patients, as well as the entire Buffalo-Niagara community, Dr. Ilozue has collaborated with New York State’s Tobacco Control programs and tobacco cessation services at Roswell Park Cancer Institute for almost 10 years. She is passionate about smoking cessation and encourages other physicians to be passionate about is as well.

“Cigarette smoking is the number one factor that we can take away from our health care risk and make our health care system more affordable,” Ilozue said. “I help my patients quit smoking because it is the most effective thing I can do as a family physician.”

She offers cessation support to her patients and the community for the long term. Her practice includes an electronic health record system which identifies all patients who smoke, ensures that they are continuously asked about their tobacco use, and are provided with support and resources when they are ready to quit. In 2015, as a further commitment to spreading a tobacco-free message, both Rapha Family Wellness properties were declared tobacco free, improving the air quality for everyone.

“Teaching her patients healthy habits early on will help them to live longer and happier lives as adults,” said Shannon Waddell. “It’s a pleasure to work with and congratulate Dr. Ilozue on her outstanding leadership and dedication to teaching her patients and staff members about the dangers of tobacco use.”


By Gretchen Galley, Media and Communications Specialist