There is a great deal of evidence now that diet affects cancer
risk. That connection wasn’t obvious, though, in the 1950s,
when L. Saxon Graham, Professor and Chair Emeritus of the
Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, began breaking new
ground in cancer epidemiology.
Over the next half-century, Graham contributed some of the most
important research on diet and cancer.
“He was a major figure in epidemiology,” says Jo
Freudenheim, UB Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department
of Social and Preventive Medicine. “He started doing work at
a time when people said, ‘Oh, you can’t do that.’
His contributions showed that it was possible to measure diet and
made people move forward and do research that needed to be
done,” adds Freudenheim, whom Graham mentored when she came
to UB as a post-doctoral fellow in 1987.
As significant as his contributions were in cancer epidemiology,
his legacy lives on through the lives of the many students whose
academic lives he impacted. In 2008, many of his students and
colleagues established the Dr. Saxon Graham Social and
Preventive Medicine Student Award in his honor. The fund is used to
provide an annual award to a student(s) who displays academic
excellence and promise in the field of social and preventative