Wellsville pediatrician recognized by state organization for rural healthcare

A Wellsville pediatrician has been named the 2022 Rural Health Care Provider of the Year by the New York State Association for Rural Health.

Dr. Zahi Kassas, a long-time member of the medical staff at Jones Memorial Hospital, was recognized for his dedication to the community, the hospital, and especially, his patients, according to a report today from the Wellsville facility.

It said the award is presented annually to a direct services provider who has demonstrated leadership in bringing health services to citizens of rural New York.

Hospital Chief Executive Officer James Helms said the facility is “thrilled” the local doctor has received the award and “proud of the commitment to care and caring that he demonstrates every day, with every patient.”

Dr. Kassas said he was eager to establish a practice in a small, rural area when he came to Wellsville nearly 25 years ago.

“Knowing not just my patients but their parents and grandparents by name and, more recently, providing care to the children of my former patients is what practicing rural medicine is about,” he said.

“I often feel like being the other parent, or more accurately now, the other grandparent,” he said, noting that he has received hundreds of invitations to graduations and weddings because “a pediatrician becomes part of the family.”

The pediatrician noted that rural healthcare has unique challenges that urban doctors do not face.

“For one thing, there are not as many of us so we often lean on each other for support and assistance,” he said. “For that reason, especially on a difficult case, the credit for treatment is usually shared among several providers,” crediting many colleagues and office staff for their assistance over the years.
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