ELIZABETHTOWN - A joint effort between Elizabethtown Community Hospital and the Hudson Headwaters group will soon bring a new pediatrician to the area.
Dr. Michael Celotti will be establishing practices in both Elizabethtown and Moriah in early August, due in large part to funding Hudson Headwaters secured from the Doctors Across New York program, which helps pay a physician's medical school bills in exchange for the commitment to practice in a medically underserved area.
"This program, established by the governor and legislature, is critically important to rural areas such as ours," said Dr. John Rugge, CEO of Hudson Headwaters.
According to Elizabethtown Community Hospital CEO Rod Boula, the community has been requesting pediatric services for nearly six years; and trying to attract a pediatrician to the area has been a challenge.
"The Essex County area has traditionally lacked pediatric services," he said. "The hospital's community surveys have indicated a real need; and our hospital responded through a unique partnership with the Hudson Headwaters Network. It's important that our area residents have access to the services they need close to home."
Celotti, who originally hails from the Port Henry area, has been working with Community Care Pediatrics of Saratoga since 2004. This collaborative arrangement provides the perfect opportunity for him to return to the area he calls home.
"I'm very excited to begin working in my hometown," said Celotti. "It's a very nice feeling, as a professional, to be able to return to the area I call home and offer my expertise to the children and families of the region."
Celotti completed his residency training at Albany Medical Center. He is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University and received his medical degree from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Celotti believes that the very thing that drew him to pediatrics is what brings him back to the region.
"It's all about family; Families need to be healthy and strong. I have a genuine interest in helping children and genuine compassion for their families," he said. "Since my own extended family lives in the area, I want to be nearby for them, too."