Patel has contacted the 10 hospitals in the four-county region to establish a network between them and the foundation.
“We need to work in close cooperation with every hospital,” he said. “We share a common cause and need to be familiar with the needs of each community.”
He has also been in touch with the four SUNY colleges to help spread the word to students who have already begun their medical studies.
From those working relationships, the foundation will develop a pool of potential candidates who will be considered for tuition assistance.
Candidates selected for the program must commit to a specific area in the region for a four-year period.
The foundation, which has been granted 501C status as a charitable organization, has been successful in its initial fundraising efforts and has accepted a third-year med student into the program.
The candidate has agreed to finish residency work in family medicine and to begin working at Elizabethtown Community Hospital to fill a need the foundation has identified in that community.
“If a young doctor develops a relationship with a hospital, it’s more likely that the doctor will remain in that community,” said Patel, who came to the North Country to open his practice in 1975. “If we can facilitate that kind of relationship, it’s a win-win situation for all.”
The foundation continues working with three potential candidates from St. Lawrence County and hopes to continue expanding its pool of potential North Country doctors as the organization raises more funds.
“If we can all work together, we can continue to have an organization that helps medical students defray the cost of their education,” Patel said. “We’re very confident that we have candidates that will become our future medical doctors.”
As the organization grows, Patel would like to see efforts expand to help physicians thinking of careers in OB/GYN, pediatrics and orthopedics, as well.
Email Jeff Meyers: email@example.com
HOW TO DONATE
Anyone interested in supporting the Northern New York Medical Foundation should send contributions to the foundation at 210 Cornelia St., Suite 105, Plattsburgh, NY, 12901.