May 8, 2008


Holland named doctor of the year


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
Dr. Sandra Holland was named doctor of the year.

Living and Leisure Editor

Dr. Sandra Holland tries to see the whole picture when she’s treating a patient.
“I became a doctor in the first place, a family practice doctor, because I wanted to help people feel better, by not considering one ailment, but the whole picture. That’s why I went into family practice. Sometimes people get piecemeal treatment. They don’t consider the whole family, the whole picture, the psycho-social circumstances that people are dealing with.”
Holland is this year’s Physician of the Year, selected by the Cortland Regional Medical Center (CRMC) for the honor at its 17th annual Physician Recognition Dinner Monday at the Cortland Country Club.
The designation goes to a member of the medical staff who is dedicated to “excellence in patient care, has given significant service to the Cortland Regional Medical Center, and has demonstrated significant and continued academic effort,” according to hospital officials.
“It’s a tremendous honor to get it,” Holland said last week. “I have had a lot of respect for the medical staff, the medical community. The fact that they considered me as Physician of the Year is a tremendous honor. I’m not one to like being in the limelight, however.”
Holland has chaired the medical center’s Family Practice Department, many committees and is a long-standing member of the Credentials Committee. She is now the vice president of the Medical Staff. She also has served two terms on the YWCA Board of Directors and works at the committee level in the association.
The Cortland woman has been a doctor here for 20 years. She was a family practice doctor for both the Groton and Cortland Health Centers before studying and becoming a licensed acupuncturist. Then she joined a collaborative medical practice with Dr. Anthony DiGiovanna and her husband, Frank Kelly, a licensed family and massage therapist. She also became a staff doctor in the CRMC Prompt Care department, providing non-emergency walk in care to area residents, a post she’s had since 1999. She did both the acupuncture and the Prompt Care work at the same time.
“After I was doing family practice, I had more and more people come in and ask about alternative medicine. I did more and more study.”
She found that practitioners of holistic medicine really cared about who people were and what was going on with them in their life, she said.
“As I tried to think about what I could do with that, I heard about acupuncture training for physicians at UCLA. I thought that would be a great way to combine the two.”
Holland thinks doctors from both holistic and Western perspectives need to communicate back and forth. Both could learn from the other.
“I think they all have validity. I don’t think one special modality can be used to treat everything,” she said.
Mainstream medicine best treats acute problems, she said, like heart attacks. But chronic conditions, like hypertension and diabetes, are better treated by alternative medicine, she said.
Holland decided to stop practicing acupuncture after her husband, Frank, decided to retire. She has also become more interested in her personal therapy: quilting.
“I wanted to simplify my life,” she said.
She decided to just practice medicine in the Emergency Room and foster her family and friendships.
“Now I’m having a more normal life at home, rather than two to three things at once.”
In her Prompt Care work, she takes care of people with the colds, cuts, sprains and fractures that don’t need setting. “And that way, those people don’t have to wait while more seriously ill patients are taken care of.”
She enjoys people and helping them feel better, sending them home with a smile, a sense of relief: “Even if that means getting (them) taken care of quickly and not having to wait for hours.”


To read this article and more, pick up today's Cortland Standard
Click here to subscribe