News & Events (88)


December 10, 2013
Contact: Lynn Pietroski, President & CEO
Phone: (315) 788-4400
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thomas H. Carman receives the 2013 Israel A. Shapiro Citizenship Award

Watertown, NY – The Greater Watertown – North Country Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Thomas H. Carman has been selected as the 2013 Israel A. Shapiro Citizenship Award recipient. This is the 62nd annual prestigious Shapiro award presented and sponsored by the Greater Watertown – North Country Chamber of Commerce, MYABC 50/The North Country CW, and Arnold I. Shapiro and family.

Mr. Carman is the President and CEO of Samaritan Medical Center, Jefferson County's largest private employer, employing over 2,300 people. Within the past year SMC has recruited 20+ physicians to the North Country. He encourages and expects his leadership team to be involved. Additionally, he encourages all staff to be active citizens, often affording them the time and support needed in order to do so. Beth Fipps shared her thoughts as a member of the Samaritan team that “Tom walks the walk when it comes to community involvement. He has created a culture of community partnership and collaboration for Samaritan.”

Above all, Mr. Carman dedicates countless hours (above and beyond the work day) making the North Country a better place to live, while encouraging his staff and family members to do the same. His inner drive motivates him to always reach out and help. His accomplishments are numerous and are often the result of his innate foresight and ability to bring stakeholders together to collaborate and offer the best possible solution for the community. Among those contributions are:

  • Chairman of the Jefferson County Heart Walk
  • Secretary of the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization
  • Member and Past President of the Watertown Noon Rotary
  • YMCA Board Member and Immediate Past President
  • Member of the NNY Association of the United States Army (AUSA)
  • Member and Past Chairman of the Iroquois Healthcare Association
  • Member of the Central New York Regional Advisory Board of Blue Cross/Blue Shield
  • Founding Member and Charter President and currently serving his second term as chairman of the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization (FDRHPO)
  • Past Chairman of the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce
  • and so many more...


According to Mr. Carman's nominator, Lisa Weber, CEO of Timeless Frames, Expressions & Decor and Athena Award past recipient, Tom has a keen understanding of what it takes to build a strong community including the need to strengthen the three cornerstones: schools, churches and hospitals. His citizenship and community engagement far exceeds the bar set by many other CEOs who often just focus internally on their facilities and not externally on making the community a better place for its residents to live.

His community engagement can be especially seen through his involvement with Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization (FDRHPO). According to Denise Young, Executive Director of FDRHPO, “Tom Carman was instrumental in the creation of the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization. His vision and personal commitment has led the organization to far surpass all original expectations. Under his leadership the organization has grown to a seven hospital and multiple community partner initiative that far surpasses the reach of just Samaritan Medical Center and his day job." While assisting FDRHPO, he aided in the achievement of bringing more than $84 million in master-planned upgrades to the five hospitals in the Fort Drum health service area. This was done to meet the needs of a growing population of Soldiers, families and civilian residents, Four newly licensed and operational outpatient mental health clinics, an additional 70 Tricare credentialed behavioral health providers and over $16 million secured for technology infrastructure upgrades to connect healthcare facilities and clinics surrounding Fort Drum to increase access to care and improve the coordination and quality of healthcare. Mrs. Young says, "Tom has never hesitated to give up his personal time to benefit the FDRHPO and the mission to serve both the military and civilian community including late night and early morning meetings even when on vacation. His sacrifices for the benefit of the Fort Drum region are given selflessly never caring who gets credit only caring that the people are served with respect and dignity.”

Among the many others who brought his nomination into fruition were, NYS Senator Patty Ritchie who stated, "With a passion not only for health care—but also for the North Country—Mr. Carman has consistently demonstrated exemplary leadership and under that leadership, those who call our region home have benefitted greatly." and John B. Johnson JR., Chairman of the Board of the Watertown Daily Times wrote, "Tom Carman is the first name suggested whenever advice or help is needed to further a community project, because it is well known that his dedication is unmatched." And lastly from the words of his nominator, Lisa Weber, "Tom Carman arrived in Watertown and has been an agent of change. Because of Tom our community is forever changed into a better, stronger, healthier place. He is most deserving of the Shapiro Award."

The award will be formally presented at a dinner hosted by the Greater Watertown –North Country Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, February 6, 2014, at Savory Downtown, Watertown, with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at 6:00pm, followed by dinner and program at 7:00pm. Reservations can be made by contacting the Greater Watertown – North Country Chamber of Commerce at (315)788-4400, online at or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. RSVP by Jan 27, 2014. Seating is Limited.

The award was established by Arnold I. Shapiro to honor the memory of his father, a long time business leader in the community. A director of the Chamber at the time of his father’s death in 1952, Mr. Shapiro sensed a need in Watertown for a symbolic annual recognition of exceptional leadership on behalf of our city. Over the years, the award has been presented to many deserving individuals for their contributions and service to our community.

This award is made on the basis of outstanding citizenship or for outstanding contribution in civic or social welfare activity. Entries were judged on five key areas (outstanding citizenship, achievement, leadership, dedication, and motivation) by a panel of past Shapiro Recipients.

On November 22, five members of Clarkson University’s chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon presented a check in the amount of $2,379.00 to Children’s Miracle Network of Northern New York. On October 31, the fraternity hosted a benefit concert featuring four musical groups which, according to organizers, was the most well attended on-campus event aside from commencement ceremonies.

Children’s Miracle Network is a non-profit organization that raises money and awareness for its 170 member hospitals, including Samaritan Medical Center. All contributions to Children’s Miracle Network of Northern New York at Samaritan benefit children in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties by helping to purchase medical equipment for Samaritan and other hospitals located in the tri-county region. In addition, Children’s Miracle Network of Northern New York at Samaritan is one of only five hospitals that provide direct assistance to families with children in a medical crisis. For more information, contact the Children’s Miracle Network office at 785-4053.

Samaritan Medical Center will host a lighted vigil in the Samaritan Healing Garden Rotunda as part of a national campaign to raise awareness for lung cancer on November 14th at 5:30 p.m. Watertown will join more than 90 communities across the nation in hosting a ‘Shine a Light on Lung Cancer Vigil’ in partnership with the Lung Cancer Alliance.

‘Shine a Light On Lung Cancer Vigil’ is an annual event that occurs simultaneously nationwide. This year, communities in more than 30 states will participate in the event, which is designed to provide hope, support and compassion to the thousands who are diagnosed with lung cancer.
The vigil at Samaritan Medical Center will be a tribute to anyone who has been touched by lung cancer and will feature Jeff Cole as the emcee, comments from Dr. Robert Johnson, thoracic surgeon; Bonnie Trudeau, RN, Samaritan Oncology Nurse Navigator; and the personal testament from a local lung cancer survivor. The vigil is open to the community.

About Lung Cancer
Lung cancer kills more Americans than breast, colon and prostate cancers—combined. It is the leading cause of cancer death nationally and in New York. Nearly, 80 percent of those diagnosed with lung cancer are people who have never smoked or former smokers who quit decades ago. Today, there is scientific validation that screening those at high risk with low-dose CT scans can save tens of thousands of lives a year, and recently a government panel recommended lung cancer screenings for populations considered at high risk.

About the Samaritan Circle of Hope Cancer Awareness Committee
The Samaritan Medical Center Circle of Hope Cancer Fund raisers and allocates funds toward improving the health and well-being of cancer patients throughout Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties.
About Lung Cancer Alliance

Lung Cancer Alliance, is committed to ending injustice and saving lives through an alliance of advocacy, education and support. LCA provides live, professional support, referral and information services for patients, their loved ones and those at risk for lung cancer; conducts national awareness campaigns; and advocates for multiple millions in public health dollars for lung cancer research.

An agreement that officially appoints Samaritan Medical Center as temporary operator of North Country Family Health Center (NCFHC) has been finalized. The agreement, signed late last week by SMC, the New York State Department of Health and NCFHC is the result of the three parties working closely over the past several weeks to develop and implement a sustainable long-term solution that ensures NCFHC’s continued operation and provision of services to residents in the community.

As part of the agreement, SMC will manage the day-to-day operations at NCFHC for a period of not more than 180 days and subject to extension by DOH as it determines necessary. As operator, SMC has named Mrs. Joey Marie Horton interim executive director of the clinic. Mrs. Horton is currently the Director of the North Country Healthcare Providers Network and Deputy Director of the Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization. She has experience past experience working as School-Based Health Program Coordinator at then-North Country Children’s Clinic.

The agreement also requires SMC to prepare and submit a work plan within the first 30 days, which identifies and offers solutions to NCFHC deficiencies, financial difficulties and a timeline for implementing the plan to DOH for approval.

The agreement enables SMC to step in on a temporary basis, under the guidance of the Department of Health, in order to continue uninterrupted services to the community while developing a long-term plan for North Country Family Health Center to become self-sustaining. At the end of the term of the agreement, it is expected the SMC will step down as temporary operator and return full operations of the Clinic to its leadership and Board. The ultimate goal will be to ensure that the Clinic is better and stronger than ever.

Throughout this entire process, the North Country Family Health Center reminds the community that all of their programs and services are fully staffed and operational in all locations, including school-based health clinics, adult care, pediatric care, pediatric dental care, behavioral health and WIC. Appointments for new and established patients are welcome and can be made by calling (315) 782-9450 or visiting the web-site at

Watertown, NY ----- Winners of the Children’s Miracle Network Baby Photo Contest, presented by Creative Imaging Fine Photography, were announced during an awards ceremony at the Salmon Run Mall on Saturday, October 19. Many families and supporters gathered to hear who would take home the cash awards.

22,980 votes were cast for the 137 contestants from all over the North Country. The three contestants with the most votes were awarded with cash prizes. The winners are as follows: 3rd Place and recipient of $500, Contestant #117, Charley Weston, daughter of Lacie Robinson and Dillon Weston, Dexter, 2nd Place and recipient of $1,000, Contestant #105, Lauren Baker, daughter of Amy & Tim Baker, Beaver Falls, and 1st Place and grand prize winner of $2,000, Contestant #081, Lily Kowalcyzk, daughter of Elisa Cesario and Jay Kowalcyzk, Black River. Photos of the Top Ten Contestants can be viewed online at

With the support of the contestants’ families, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and community members, the 2013 Children’s Miracle Network Baby Photo Contest, presented by Creative Imaging Fine Photography, raised a grand total of $24,735! Every single dollar will stay local and help children and families in need due to a medical crisis.

Contest sponsors include Creative Imaging Fine Photography, Salmon Run Mall, 7 News/Fox 28, The Border 106.7, Community Broadcasters, Watertown Daily Times, Kinney Drugs Foundation, Watertown Savings Bank, Timeless Frames, Northern Credit Union, and Community Bank, among other supporters.

Children’s Miracle Network is a non-profit organization that raises money and awareness for its 170 member hospitals, including Samaritan Medical Center. All contributions to Children’s Miracle Network of Northern New York at Samaritan benefit children in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties by helping to purchase medical equipment for Samaritan and other hospitals located in the tri-county region. In addition, Children’s Miracle Network of Northern New York at Samaritan is one of only five hospitals that provide direct assistance to families with children in a medical crisis. For more information, contact the Children’s Miracle Network office at 785-4053.

Officials at Samaritan Summit Village announced two leadership changes to the administrative team today. Dennis Casey, Interim Administrator of Skilled Nursing, has announced his retirement at the end of this week, and Elaine O’Brian, Director of Nursing, is no longer with the organization. No other changes to the leadership team are expected.

Barbara E. Morrow, Samaritan’s Assistant Vice President of Compliance, will assume responsibilities of Administrator until a search is conducted for a permanent replacement. Mrs. Morrow was instrumental in leading the Samaritan organization through its receivership of Mercy’s nursing home in October 2011. Her background, experience and leadership abilities helped to stabilize the Mercy organization until its closure in 2013 upon the opening of Samaritan Summit Village. Among Mrs. Morrow’s accomplishments was the significant improvement in Mercy’s quality of care and adherence to numerous regulatory requirements, ultimately resulting in the facility’s successful removal from the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid) watch list.

Barbara Fargo, RN, MSN has been appointed as the new Director of Nursing for Samaritan Summit Village. Most recently, Mrs. Fargo served as Samaritan Medical Center’s Director of Nursing Practice from 2003-2013, when her position was eliminated as part of the hospital’s restructuring plan. During her tenure at Samaritan Medical Center, she held numerous leadership roles in nursing practice, education, and nursing oversight for the Joint Commission and Department of Health’s regulations. With her experience and background, Mrs. Fargo was quickly identified to fill the Director of Nursing position at Samaritan Summit Village.

“These leadership changes were necessary in order to move the Samaritan Summit Village forward in the wake of the unprecedented change that is on the horizon with healthcare reform,” explains Anthony Joseph, Vice President of Long-Term Care at Samaritan. “These two very experienced professionals will help us navigate through these challenges to ensure that our Residents and the community have continued access to the exceptional level of care offered at Samaritan Summit Village.”

Samaritan Gynecologist Dr. Nanci Hawkins sat among the top gynecologists in the nation, as well as some of the physicians who taught her in medical school, to take a Board-certification examination in a new sub-specialty.

Dr. Hawkins took the exam in June and was notified in September that she passed and is one of the first gynecologists in the nation to be Board-certified in this new medical specialty, Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FTMRS). This sub-specialty includes treatment and procedures for conditions such as urine loss, incontinence and pelvic support issues, including pelvic prolapse.

“It is definitely an honor to be among the first group of physicians to achieve this certification,” explains Dr. Hawkins. “To know that my mentors and some of the best physicians in the field sat for this exam is very humbling.”

The FTMRS is jointly run by the American Board of Gynecologists and the American Board of Urology. This new subspecialty is primarily achieved by gynecologists and urologists.

One prerequisite for the examination is that the physician must already be Board-certified in either Gynecology or Urology. If that criterion is met, then the physician must further qualify by demonstrating that 50 percent of his/her caseload is within this sub-specialty.

“Because this is a new sub-specialty, experienced Board-certified physicians were able to take the exam as long as they could prove that they perform these types of procedures on a regular basis,” concludes Dr. Hawkins. “Now that the first class has been certified, any physician wishing to take the examination from this point forward, is required to take a fellowship (usually a two-year program) in order to even qualify to take the exam.“

Wednesday, 25 September 2013 16:04

Local Women Selected for BetterU Health Challenge

Kristy Smorol, Communications Director
Office: 315.234.8252 or Cell: 315.243.5705
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Twitter: @HeartCNY

Local Women Selected for BetterU Health Challenge

WATERTOWN, NY—For the first time in the North Country, the American Heart Association will conduct the BetterU program, an innovative initiative that will chronicle local women's journey toward meaningful lifestyle changes that improve their heart health. The 12-week Go Red BetterU program is designed to remind all women of the need to make healthy lifestyle choices. The North Country BetterU program is being sponsored by Samaritan Medical Center, YMCA, and media sponsors Watertown Daily Times, WWNY-TV, and Froggy 97.

The eleven women selected for the BetterU program were introduced at a kick-off event at Samaritan Medical Center this morning. Their stories will be featured in blogs and in local media with their success celebrated at the annual North Country Heart Walk Kick-Off in January.

"We were delighted to have so many applicants for the program. The stories of these women really create a broad picture of the health and life challenges women face," said Tom Carman, President and CEO of Samaritan Medical Center. "We know they will inspire us throughout the 12 weeks."

Each of the 11 women will receive a three-month membership at YMCA, a baseline medical evaluation from Gina Wetterhahn, PA, of Samaritan Medical Center; nutrition coaching from Nicole Garnsey of Feed The Soul; smoking cessation help if needed; and guidance coaching from Joleene Moody of JoleeneSpeaks!. The BetterU participants will have group workouts, food shopping field trips, and write about their progress on a blog devoted to chronicling their journey.

"We invite all local women to join the BetterU participants in making healthy lifestyle changes. Talk with your healthcare provider, get moving with exercise, take advantage of programs offered in the community, and visit for helpful tips and recipes," said Peter Schmitt, CEO of the Watertown YMCA. "Our goal is to make heart health a priority for local women.”

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the U.S., taking the life of one in three women -- almost one woman every minute. Research shows, however, that 80 percent of cardiac events in women are preventable with simple lifestyle choices involving diet, exercise and smoking.

The BetterU 12-week program begins September 30th and runs through December 27th.

Follow their progress online at and on Twitter @HeartCNY.

BetterU Participants:

Angela Alpaugh:
Our next challenger says she moved to the North Country as a newlywed housewife two years ago and is looking for guidance to lead a healthier lifestyle. 38-year-old Angela Alpaugh, of Evans Mills, wants to learn how to get an exercise program she can stick with and the right eating habits to help combat her family history of heart disease.

Chelsea Bango:
Chelsea Bango knows it is time to make a change. The 25-year-old from Theresa says she has been overweight her entire life and is serious about improving her health. Bango says she struggles with figuring out the best foods for a healthy diet, and wants to get accurate information about what it takes to not only start, but maintain, a healthy lifestyle.

Deborah Biondolillo:
Deborah Biondolillo says she has been trying to diet for her entire adult life. The 51-year-old from Calcium wants to find out why she hasn’t been successful. She is self-employed with a physically demanding job and is looking for some extra encouragement to get herself healthy. Her father died of heart disease at a young age, but Biondolillo wants to do something to help prevent heart disease for herself and be a role model for her children.

Laurie Donohue:
Laurie Donohue says she has tried diets, but at 54-years-old, she says she has struggled. Donohue already suffers from high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and lowering both of those numbers are her biggest goals. The Watertown woman says she wants to set an example for all of the women in her family.

Debra Farmer:
At 52-years-old, Debra Farmer says she is actively seeking the right kind of program to get her on track after many failures. Farmer, of Chaumont, says she wants to learn how to change her lifestyle to get healthy and avoid the suggestion of bariatric surgery.

JoEllen Heukrath:
Coming from a family history of heart disease, 58-year-old JoEllen Heuktrath says she is incredibly motivated to make a significant change in her lifestyle. Heukrath, of Deer River, wants to become better educated about healthy lifestyles so she can hold herself accountable and improve her health.

Patricia Hovorka:
Patricia Hovorka just celebrated her 60th birthday. The Adams woman says she is starting feel old and wants to change that. She wants to lose weight and get in better shape, along with lowering her cholesterol so she can get off cholesterol medication. She says she wants to be proud of herself again and set an example for her children and her grandchildren.

Patricia Howell:
After losing her mother to a heart attack and heart grandmother to a stroke, Patricia Howell, of Watertown, says she wants to be around for her three grandchildren. At 68-year-old, Howell is our oldest participant, but says she is motivated and committed to the program.
Krista Kittle:
44-year-old Krista Kittle, of Watertown, says she wants to lead by example. Often representing the hospital in community events and in the media, Kittle says she wants to be a role model for the wellness and prevention behaviors that all Americans are being encouraged to commit to as part of the healthcare reform legislation.

Shawna Rich:
Shawna Rich has tried changing her habits before, but is looking for help to succeed. The 28-year-old from Carthage is looking for positive lifestyle changes regarding nutrition and exercise that will help her live a longer, healthier life. She wants to keep up her motivation to make lasting changes and avoid her family history of high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

Michelle Swike:
The number one goal for 38-year-old Michelle Swike from Carthage is to quit smoking. Swike says she has always battled with her weight and has made a decision to life a healthier life. She wants to ditch her smoking habit, get in shape, and show other women that they can do it too.

About the American Heart Association

Founded in 1924, we’re the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary health organization dedicated to building healthier lives, free of heart disease and stroke. To help prevent, treat and defeat these diseases — America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers — we fund
cutting-edge research, conduct lifesaving public and professional educational programs, and advocate to protect public health.
To learn more or join us in helping all Americans, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit

In keeping with its commitment to high quality care and services for seniors in the community, Samaritan Keep Home is pleased to announce the addition of a new program to its continuum of care. Members of the community are invited to stop by the open house, which is being held on Wednesday, September 25th from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at SKH’s activity room.

Social Adult Day Care is a new social and recreational program for seniors in order to assist with maintaining independence. This program provides a safe, comfortable and supervised setting for seniors. It includes nutritional meals, social and recreational activities, such as bingo and arts and crafts, and other services. Intergenerational activities and pet therapy may also be added.

Goals of the program include:

• Improve and adult’s independence in an effort to maintain living in his/her own home.
• Provide opportunities to socialize, develop friendships and receive peer support.
• Maintain an adult’s present level of function and prevent/delay further physical deterioration.
• Help to eliminate loneliness.
• Provide respite for families and caregivers.

“Seniors today are remaining in their homes longer than ever before,” explains Natalie Montroy, Director of the Social Model Adult Day Care program. “This program – the first in our community – will do just that. It will also provide peace of mind for family members who are caring for seniors at home by knowing their loved one is well cared for during the day.”

Applications are now being accepted for program registrants. Full-time and part-time enrollment opportunities are available. Program hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

During the open house, attendees will be able to see the activity room where the program will be held, complete an application, meet the staff and learn more about the benefits of this new program. For more information, please call 785-4493. 

Migraine headaches and head pain affect more than 34 million people, primarily women, each year. These illnesses cause countless hours of lost work and deprive people of the ability to enjoy their families, activities and jobs. The SMC Interventional Pain Management Center is hosting a community seminar on managing migraine headaches and head pain on Tuesday, October 1st from 5 – 6 p.m. in the Pain Management Center office, located in the Medical Office Building, 3rd Floor, 826 Washington St., Watertown.

The seminar, presented by Sue Walker MSN, FNP-C, will offer strategies on how headache pain can be brought to a manageable level using a combination of Interventional strategies, appropriate medications, and lifestyle modification.

Reservations are not required. This seminar is free open to the public. For more information visit or call the Interventional Pain Management Center at 315-785-4019.

The Interventional Pain Management Center is a partnership between Samaritan Medical Center and Jefferson Anesthesiologist Services. This multidisciplinary team of professionals is devoted to providing chronic pain management services to the communities of Northern New York and Fort Drum, NY. The goal is to provide optimization of the quality of life for patients who are afflicted by chronic pain through the various treatment modalities offered by the multi-disciplinary team and the cooperative efforts of the patient and their family.

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