I was born and raised in Manhattan and went to college at the Unversity of Michigan. I moved to the beautiful tristate region in 1975 at the age of 23 and immediately fell in love with this area. I did post-bac pre-medical course work at Columbia, Vassar and Bard , then commuted to Albany Medical College from Ancramdale, NY, hoping to establish a practice here. I married and had children and completed a family practice residency training program in Kingston, NY. I established a solo practice in Millerton in 1985 with the goal of caring for all the primary care needs of this community. I was instantly busy and had an active hospital practice (in my 3rd year of practice I admitted over 900 patients to Sharon Hospital). In 1990 I formed Foothills Family Health Center in Amenia, NY with two other physicians. Our practice grew to include sites in Pine Plains and Dover Plains, other physicians and nurse practitioners, and allied health professionals. In 2001, we became part of Hudson River HealthCare, a network of non-profit community health centers. In 2010 our Amenia site was renovated and expanded its services, and in addition to primary care now also offers dentistry, podiatry, nutrition and behavioral health services to all patients regardless of insurance or ability to pay. We are the safety net provider and in fact, the largest provider for primary care health services in this region. I am proud of the fact that from humble beginnings, and with the help of many, I have been a part of ensuring that the residents of our towns have such a fine, stable, and finally financially viable resource for health care as I continue my part-time practice there as a family physician.
Before making the decision to become a physician, I was interested in traditional Chinese medicine and attended a series of seminars in the 1970s, studying everything that was available at the time. My late first wife, Karen Kisslinger, studied and was trained in traditional Chinese medicine and became the first acupuncturist to have an active practice in the tri-state region in the late 1970s. I studied and have practiced acupuncture as welI and had an early interest in so-called mind-body connections, meditation and various complementary approaches, which I have tried to incoprorate in to my traditional allopathic practice over the years, with varying degrees of success. I have worked hard to gain whatever skills have seemed necessary to take care of an astonishing variety of problems that my work has presented over these many years.
I continue to love my work as a family physician at Hudson River HealthCare. As I now expand the nature of care I provide to include counseling and consultations outside of the primary care setting, I am hopeful about the future. Medical technology has expanded to enable better life quality and longer lives for many conditions and people. Likewise there has been an exponential increase in the demand for complementary approaches in the last 30 years. I strive to embrace what is best about modern and traditional systems and to continue to learn how best to meet the needs of my patients.
Hidden beneath this outline of my professional life is the story of my personal journey. Doctors, therapists, even healers are taught to erect boundaries to "protect" patients from feeling burdened by the struggles of those who minister to them. And yet there is an important place in the healing relationship for the sharing of the personal journey of the healer. Mine includes a mystical aspect, exposures of the heart, crises of faith, and of health and well being, which unquestionably inform my work with people. Mine, like yours, is an ever-evolving story. Remaining open, humble, and awake allows it the freedom to carry me along in a true fashion. Be wary of would-be healers who claim to have figured this all out before their death!
I am deeply indebted to my many teachers including patients, friends, acquantancies and family members who have helped me to understand life better. It is in this spirit that I move forward with this new phase of my professional work.