November 14, 2020 Healthy Living

Frontline Hero: Dr. Douglas Finch, Ellis Medicine

The People’s Choice Awards.

Nominated by their patients and peers, these individuals are being recognized for showing compassion, care, and concern in the midst of a global pandemic.

Dr. Douglas Finch

Dr. Douglas Finch was working at James J. Peters VA Medical Center in New York City when the World Trade Center was attacked on September 11, 2001. Interestingly, he says his experience with the COVID-19 crisis has been quite similar.  

“Many people – myself included – experienced the same level of trauma. There were parts of this that were actually worse than 9/11.”

Finch, who now serves as the head of infectious disease at Ellis Medicine, says there were many unknowns with coronavirus, which has led to anxiety for many.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor, a kid whose school was closed, or parent who lost their job, these are scary times.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor, a kid whose school was closed, or parent who lost their job, these are scary times

Dr. Douglas Finch
Ellis Medicine

Despite fear and uncertainty, Finch was impressed with the level of ingenuity that came from the pandemic, particularly the increased use of telemedicine. “We could have done this years ago, but we never had a reason to. Everybody learned how to do it quickly and it’s working great!” Finch says telehealth has been great for his rural patients, many of whom travel an hour or more to see him.

Dr. Douglas Finch

Congratulations to our Frontline Heroes award winners!

View the other Frontline Heroes

Despite the progress made since the pandemic began, Dr. Finch’s job is far from done. He says we’ve learned a lot from the virus, but there’s much more to be accomplished. He thinks the virus will teach us a tremendous amount about the human body, and its response to diseases, like COVID and influenza. 

“I think we missed a real opportunity with influenza. We’ve known about it since 1918. It does similar things to the body as coronavirus, but a bell never went off. Despite all the medicine and science, some people still get sick and die. The same can be said for COVID. It’s like we’re fighting a new war.”

John D. Bennett, MD, FACC, FACP
About the Author

John D. Bennett, MD, FACC, FACP, is president and CEO of Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan, Inc. (CDPHP), an award-winning, physician aligned, not-for-profit health plan based in Albany, NY. Bennett has held the position since 2008 after serving more than 10 years as chair, vice chair, and board member for CDPHP. During his tenure, CDPHP has been ranked among the top-performing health plans in New York and the nation, most recently named #1 in Customer Satisfaction in the 2023 J.D. Power Member Health Plan Study. Under his leadership, CDPHP has also become known as a model employer regionally and nationally and was recently named among the top five Best Companies to Work for in New York by the Society for Human Resource Management, as well as Forbes Best-in-State Employers 2022. Prior to joining CDPHP, Bennett served as founding member and CEO of Prime Care Physicians, PLLC. During his tenure, he co-led a team of 25 cardiologists and helped grow the practice to a 100-physician multi-specialty group. Bennett is board certified by the National Board of Medical Examiners and the American Board of Internal Medicine, with subspecialties in internal medicine and cardiology. He earned his medical degree at SUNY-Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, and a Bachelor of Science degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Bennett completed an internship and residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in cardiovascular disease at Albany Medical Center. He is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Physicians. Bennett is currently board chair for the Center for Economic Growth and the Capital Region Chamber, and vice chair for the Palace Theatre. Bennett also serves on the boards of the New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC), the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP), America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Russell Sage Colleges. Bennett is a member of the New York Public Health and Health Planning Council where he helps shape decisions related to New York State's public health and health care delivery system. Well-known locally and nationally for advancing health care innovation, Bennett was recently named to Crain’s New York Business 2021 Notable in Health Care, as well as the Albany Business Review’s Power 50 list.

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