Though indications are that the ratio is changing, there are currently only half as many females practicing medicine in the US as there are males. I’m not sure what that ratio is for Amsterdam, NY but I’m confident it too is beginning to improve as far as the percentage of local lady doctors is concerned. In today’s blog post, I preview five of the top ten lady doctors in Amsterdam history. In addition to practicing here, four of these five dedicated individuals were born and raised in our community!
Dr Helen Blanchard – Her maiden name was Kansas. She was born in Amsterdam, NY and her dad owned a popular Rug City restaurant located on East Main Street. After graduating from Amsterdam High, she got her bachelor’s degree from the University of Rochester and her doctor of medicine from the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania. She then did an internship at a Rochester hospital where she met her husband, Dr. Thomas Blanchard. The couple would open an Amsterdam practice together at 192 Market Street in 1960. He specialized in internal medicine and she, obstetrics. During the next three decades she became the best known female physician in Amsterdam history, delivering and caring for hundreds of babies. She also became very active in community affairs. Dr. Blanchard ran successfully for the Board of Education in 1968 and served in that capacity for ten years.
Dr. Nancy Knudsen – Born in Amsterdam, NY in 1954, her maiden name was Slezak and she was Valedictorian of her 1972 Bishop Scully class. She then graduated with honors from RPI and received her medical degree from the State University of New York Upstate Medical University. Dr. Knudsen currently serves as the highly respected Hospice/Palliative Care Specialist at St. Mary’s here in Amsterdam.
Dr. Deborah Sculco – Another Amsterdam, NY native, Debbie grew up in the West End on Division Street, the oldest of four siblings. After graduating from Amsterdam High, she got her bachelors from Geneseo and her medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine. Debbie specializes in medical oncology and hematology and is affiliated with the Cancer Program of Amsterdam’s St. Mary’s Hospital. I used to bowl with Debbie’s dad and know both her brothers well but I’ve never really got to know Dr. Sculco. I do however know both patients and friends of her’s and they are both thrilled and grateful that she decided to return to this area.
Dr. Mary Kate Barnett – A native of Amsterdam, NY, she was an honors student and athlete during her days as a member of the Amsterdam High School Class of 2002. Like Dr. Sculco, Dr. Barnett has strong genetic ties to Amsterdam’s West End. Her Mom was raised in that neighborhood. Dr. Burnett received her doctor of medicine from the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and BioSciences and did her internship at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady. She is now a general practitioner with Amsterdam Family Practice.
Dr. Emily Etzkorn – Though she wasn’t born in Amsterdam, she was raised in this area and graduated Cum Laude from Albany Medical College in 1994. Her mom and dad raised a large family of seven children and five of them have become doctors. Dr Etzkorn completed her dual residency in internal medicine and pediatrics in 1998. She has been in private practice in Amsterdam since 2001 and that practice is one of the busiest in our community.
I will finish this list of the Top Ten Amsterdam Female Physicians in time to get them in my upcoming book which is scheduled for release later this year. In the meantime, make sure you subscribe to my free monthly Amsterdam Top Ten Newsletter for previews and reveals of more Amsterdam Top Ten Lists. You can sign up for the newsletter here.