HURLEYVILLE — Records of the first medical society to serve Sullivan County from its inception in 1809 were donated by Dr. Paul Salzberg, the current president of the Sullivan County Medical …
HURLEYVILLE — Records of the first medical society to serve Sullivan County from its inception in 1809 were donated by Dr. Paul Salzberg, the current president of the Sullivan County Medical Society, to Vice-President Aldo Troiani of the Sullivan County Historical Society [SCHS] on Tuesday, May 30. SCHS board member Myron Gittell was present to assist in accepting the record books.
The records have been maintained faithfully, most recently by Cynthia Herring, executive secretary of the medical society, using donated office space where available. It was finally determined that the best course would be to donate the society’s minutes to the SCHS archives in Hurleyville.
Dr. Paul Salzberg came to Sullivan County in 1983 as a newly minted doctor, but in his youth he had worked as a busboy at places like The Homowack and Brown’s Hotel, his family having introduced him to the area when he was a child. His wife attended school in the western part of the county, but moved to Long Beach before they met. He worked in numerous medical roles in Sullivan County over the years, from nursing home care to public health nursing, to operating his private practice in Callicoon. Although Dr. Salzberg ended his practice a few years ago, he remains involved in charitable work and drug addiction treatment, as well as serving as the medical society president.
Following decades of leaders of the county medical society such as Dr. Sidney Schiff, Dr. Seymour Cohen and Dr. Paul Jones, as the current president Dr. Salzberg leaves his own big shoes to fill.
Dr. Salzberg has served as a delegate to the New York State Medical Society for decades, and also served on the New York State Board of Family Medicine for the past 12 years. Noting that local family practitioners Dr. Alan Fried and Dr. A. Reisenberg were his mentors, he stated that when they left their places of practice, they recommended that he take over for them. Dr. Salzberg said that he may not be the best doctor, but he listened to his patients and tried to hear what most helped them with their health. He retained an open mind about treatments, including self-hypnosis, homeopathic and herbal remedies, also studying the placebo effect and its potential benefits.
Today doctors are more often affiliated with large medical groups, and individual medical practices are less common. ”[Medicine] has changed,” said Salzberg. “Family medicine used to be mostly men, now it’s almost half women and half men. So that’s a big change, that women have evolved to leadership in family medicine, and also more people of color.”
Dr. Salzberg also said that, regrettably, the Sullivan County Medical Society will be going dormant for lack of membership, though it is hoped that the group will regain members and be resurrected at some point.
SCHS Board Director Myron Gittell said the historical society looks forward to examining the minutes of the medical society and its role in the county’s history.
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