From the community

More Than 60 Years of Doctoring Down East

Posted March 22, 2013, at 2:29 p.m.

Doctors stand ready to treat their patients every day and Eastport Health Care has a unique medical team made up of four physicians who collectively have given more than 60 years of dedicated service to Washington County.

The doctors include, Dr. Laurie Churchill, family practitioner and medical director and Dr. Jenie Smith, a nephrologist specializing in kidney diseases, both of Eastport, Dr. Cyndi Sammis a family practitioner and acupuncturist in Machias and Dr. Nima Moghaddas, a podiatrist with offices in Calais, Eastport and Machias. All four physicians are board certified.

Churchill, Smith, Sammis and Moghaddas, along with physicians across Maine and the United States, will be recognized on March 30, during National Doctor’s Day.

It all began in 1991, when the Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution established National Doctor’s Day. After that President George Bush issued a proclamation that declared March 30th as National Doctor’s Day.

“More than the application of science and technology, medicine is a special calling, and those who have chosen this vocation in order to serve their fellowman understand the tremendous responsibility it entails,” the proclamation said. “All those Americans who serve as licensed physicians have engaged in years of study and training, often at great financial cost. Most endure long and unpredictable hours, and many must cope with the conflicting demands of work and family life.”

In the proclamation, President Bush encouraged all Americans to observe March 30th with appropriate programs and activities.

All four EHC medical providers have roots deep in Washington County.

Dr. Churchill is unique in that she is a Down East native who returned home.

Born and raised in Calais, Churchill graduated from Calais High School. She attended Tufts University where she received her undergraduate degree. She then attended Tufts University School of Medicine where she graduated in 1983. She took her residency at the Mercy Hospital and Maine Medical Center Family Practice in Portland.

After her residency, she went to North Carolina where she completed her National Health Service commitment. Her specialty is family practice.

Churchill returned to Calais in 1990 and opened her own practice. She closed her practice in 2005 and joined the emergency room staff at Calais Regional Hospital. She returned to family practice in January 2011 when she joined EHC.

Local medical care is important, Churchill said, because it is important to have a family practitioner close to home. “It is important people are seen by their local doctor if they have a problem,” she said. Churchill said that she and Sammis handle everything from minor cuts to life-threatening issues.

Sammis was born and raised in Huntington, NY. She attended medical school at State University of New York at Buffalo. She took her residency at the Maine Dartmouth Family Practice Residency in Augusta after that.

She arrived in Washington County in 1982. She has been in Machias for about 15 years.

Sammis is unique that in addition to her family practice, she is a trained Medical Acupuncturist. She took her training in that field most recently in 2002.

Sammis explained why she expanded her expertise. “It is a good non-pharmacological way to treat many illnesses,” she said.

The county’s only full-time podiatrist, Dr. Moghaddas has had her practice in Washington County for the past 20 years. She too is unique in that she also works for Eastport Health Care, but has office hours in Calais on Tuesday, Eastport on Wednesday and Machias on Thursday. “I do nursing homes and boarding homes on Friday,” she said.

Although her parents are from Iran, she was born in Los Angeles, Ca., but later moved with her family and attended schools and college in Pittsburg, Kansas. She attended medical school in Cleveland, Ohio. She did her residency at the Veterans Administration in Baltimore Maryland where she graduated in 1993. She began her career in Washington County shortly after that. “It was my first job after my residency and I met my husband here and I married Ron Morgan and I have two cute children,” she said.

EHC’s fourth doctor, Dr. Jenie Smith, is board certified in Internal Medicine and Nephrology. She provides specialty kidney services right here in Washington County at Eastport Health Care. She was born in Crookston, MN and attended college in Nebraska. She graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 1992. Dr. Smith has two specialty boards: internal medicine and ABIM subspecialty nephrology. She did her residency at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis. In 1998 and 2000 she did fellowships at the Hennepin County Medical Center in nephrology and critical care. Before coming to Eastport in 2010, she was a partner in a private practice in Lewiston.

Dr. Smith offers a thorough assessment and establishes a treatment plan focusing on improving the health of her patients.She is at the Eastport clinic on Thursdays and Fridays weekly

On March 30th, if you run into one of EHC’s physicians or any other Washington County physician, tell them you appreciate what they do and want to recognize them on National Doctor’s Day.

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