North Country Festival of Trees Ramps Up for Holiday Season

New this year: public viewing and children’s events open Thursday, November 29th partnering with the City of Watertown and Downtown Business Association’s Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting

Watertown, New York ----- The holiday season kicks off with the much-anticipated annual North Country Festival of Trees November 29th through December 2, 2018 at the Dulles State Office Building. A weekend of fun, family-oriented activities is planned, as well as a first-time public auction of trees.

“Sponsor and decorator sign-ups are underway, and tickets are on sale,” explains Beth Fipps, Festival of Trees Committee Co-Chair. “This year’s theme is ‘Christmas Around the World,’ and everyone – young and old – is sure to enjoy this magical holiday event.

The North Country Festival of Trees benefits children’s services and programs at Samaritan Medical Center and children’s scholarships at the Watertown Family YMCA. Last year, the event featured 62 trees and raised over $160,000. There’s something for everyone throughout the four-day festival, including:

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2018 – 5-9 p.m.
Stop in to the Festival of Trees before, during or after the City of Watertown/Downtown Business Association’s Christmas Parade for public viewing, children’s crafts, cookies and hot chocolate! (Free event)  

10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Public Viewing and Silent Auction (Free Event)

6 p.m.
Festival of Trees Gala
Cost: $75 per person, RSVP required
RSVP Online

10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Public Viewing and Silent Auction (Free Event)

6-9 p.m.
Sugarplum Ball
Cost: $75 per couple, RSVP required
RSVP Online 

11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Public Viewing

1 p.m.
Live Auction and Passport Drawing

3-4:30 p.m.
Tree Pick-up

Sponsor and decorator forms are available online and inquiries can be made by calling the Samaritan Medical Center Foundation at 315.785.5745.

Capital Campaign Leadership Gifts

The Healing Power of Progress

SMC Foundation Announces Community Phase of Capital Campaign

Watertown, NY ----- The Samaritan Medical Center Foundation is pleased to announce that it has already raised $3.8 million toward its $6 million capital campaign, “The Healing Power of Progress.”  The campaign will fund two top priorities for our community’s health needs: the Walker Center for Cancer Care, the Center for Women and Children and the Foundation’s endowment fund, which ensures long-term sustainability of the hospital. 

The $3.8 million raised during the silent phase of the Samaritan Foundation's campaign includes three leadership gifts:

  • $1 million from Children’s Miracle Network of Northern New York at Samaritan
  • $500,000 from Robert and Jean Sturtz
  • $500,000 from the Samaritan Auxiliary

“The capital campaign will provide critical support to a six million dollar need that will continue our hospital’s transformation to serve the growing need for cancer services and services for women and children, as well as building on the endowment fund to sustain our facilities and services long into the future,” explains Samaritan’s President and CEO Thomas H. Carman. "Samaritan has been here for our community since 1881 and only through the support of our generous donors in our 137-year history of caring have we been able to expand and respond to the healthcare needs of our region. We thank our community for that.”

Other major gifts received to date include: Kinney Drugs Foundation, Dr. and Mrs. John Poggi, Northern Credit Union, BCA Architects & Engineers, Knowlton Technologies, Community Bank, Carthage Savings & Loan and Westelcom Family of Companies.

"The combined generosity of these gifts and the individuals and organizations that committed to them has been awe-inspiring,” said Bernie Brown, Capital Campaign Tri-chair. “It speaks not only to the continued generosity of our community but also to their commitment to ensuring the quality care and modern facilities that our patients and our entire region deserves.”

Mr. Brown is joined by Mr. Dan Villa and Mrs. Pamela Beyor-Murtha as tri-chairs for “The Healing Power of Progress” capital campaign.

Learn more about how you can support “The Healing Power of Progress” campaign here.

campaign leadership gifts

(Pictured left to right):Dan Villa, Tri-Chair; Christine Cisco, President, Samaritan Auxiliary; Robert and Jean Sturtz; Bernie Brown, Tri-Chair; Kristin LaClair, CMN Development Manager

SMC Hosts Career Fair 8/22

Kick-start Your Healthcare Career

Watertown, New York --- Samaritan Medical Center and its affiliates will be hosting a job fair for those interested in exploring careers in healthcare.

The event will be held on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Rotunda, located between Samaritan Medical Center and Samaritan Keep Home, 830 Washington Street in Watertown.

Samaritan is seeking to fill a variety of full- and part-time positions, including:

  • Certified Nursing Assistants – Long-Term Care (an “Earn While You Learn” opportunity)
  • Nursing Assistants – Hospital Care
  • Food Service
  • Housekeeping
  • Registered Nurses (RNs)
  • Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs)

On-the-spot interviews will be available with department managers, and information about Samaritan’s generous benefit package, including: paid time off, tuition reimbursement, career advancement opportunities and, for some positions, a signing bonus.

“Earn While You Learn” is a new and unique opportunity for those looking to become Certified Nursing Assistants in Long-Term Care or Nursing Assistant at Samaritan Medical Center. This is a six-week paid training program. Samaritan will offer continued employment as Certified Nursing Assistants for those who successfully complete the program and receive New York State certification.

Samaritan’s Career Fair is open to the public. For more information about the fair or career opportunities at Samaritan, call Human Resources at 315-785-4501.

NP Scholarships Announced


Former SMC Nurse Establishes Scholarship for Career Advancement

Watertown, New York --- A retired nurse from Samaritan Medical Center has established a $50,000 scholarship through the SMC Foundation for Registered Nurses (RNs) looking to advance their careers as Nurse Practitioners.

The Susan K. Peters Nursing Scholarship was established to assist with the education costs for an RN who is continuing his/her education, specifically to pursue a Nurse Practitioner degree. Two scholarships of $2,000 will be awarded each year.

Mrs. Peters graduated from the House of the Good Samaritan School of Nursing in 1965. She retired from Samaritan Medical Center as a Certified Oncology Nurse in 1999 and prior to that served more than 20 years as Nurse Manager of Medical/Surgical and Orthopaedic units.

“Inspired by my own personal experiences with Nurse Practitioners, and seeing the need for more of this profession in our own community, I was compelled to set up this scholarship,” explains Mrs. Peters. “After already establishing a strong foundation from their training and experiences in nursing, RNs are well-positioned to become excellent Nurse Practitioners.”

Different from RNs, Nurse Practitioners are able to provide many of the same services as physicians, including developing treatment plans for their patients, ordering tests, performing minor procedures and prescribing medication.

The application period for the Susan K. Peters Nursing Scholarship opened on August 1, 2018 and concludes August 31, 2018, with scholarship award announcement in September 2018. To be eligible for this scholarship, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be a registered nurse (RN) with a minimum of two full years’ working experience. RNs currently working for Samaritan Medical Center preferred, but not mandatory.
  • Medical/Surgical experience preferred but not necessary.
  • Must be a resident of either Jefferson County or Lewis County, New York
  • Eligible to apply after successful completion of first semester in a Nurse Practitioner program with at least a B average.

As part of the application, Registered Nurses must describe why they are pursuing their Nurse Practitioner degree and where, as well as whether or not they have a financial need. Two letters of recommendation must be submitted with the application to support the RNs pursuit of a Nurse Practitioner degree.

For more information, or to obtain a scholarship application, please contact the SMC Foundation at 315-785-5745 or visit Completed forms can be emailed or mailed to the SMC Foundation at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 830 Washington Street, Watertown, NY 13601.


Susan K. Peters (center) presents check to Thomas H. Carman, Samaritan President and CEO, and Beth Fipps, Vice President, Samaritan Medical Center Foundation and Community Services, to establish scholarship for Registered Nurses pursuing Nurse Practitioner degrees.

SMC Celebrates GME Graduates

One Resident to Practice Locally

Watertown, New York ---- Samaritan Medical Center’s Graduate Medical Education program will celebrate the graduation of three of its resident physicians at a ceremony this evening. One of the doctors completing his residency at SMC has elected to stay locally to practice.

“We are so proud of our program and of these three fine physicians,” states David P. Rechlin, DO, Medical Director of Samaritan’s Graduate Medical Education program. “They were a privilege to work with and have proven to be outstanding in their field. I have no doubt they will go on to become impactful physicians.”

The three residents include:

  • Chief Resident Daniel E. Morgan, DO, a native of Seattle Washington attended medical school at Kirkville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirkville, Missouri. Dr. Morgan also holds a Master’s Degree in Public Health Administration (MPH) and will go on to pursue a Fellowship in Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine/Neuromuscular Manipulative Medicine.
  • Brogan M. Schoeneman, DO, is a native of Ontario, New York and completed medical school at Lake Erie (PA) School of Osteopathic Medicine. He will remain in the area to practice.
  • Boyu Wang, DO, a native of China, moved to the US when he was 13. He received his medical degree from the Kentucky School of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. Wang and his family will relocate to Sacramento, California where he will begin practice as a hospitalist.

Samaritan Medical Center’s GME program has grown exponentially over the past two decades. Starting as a Rural Medical Training Program, this program grew to be credentialed by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). Most recently the program received additional accreditation by the American College of Graduate Medical Education, which means that Samaritan’s will be a teaching hospital for both DO and MD residents. 

“The SMC program stands out above the others in that we are offered significantly more one-on-one time with our attending physicians,” explains Dr. Morgan.  “In other training programs, there is often more of an emphasis on volume, work and throughput.  Here at SMC, there is more of an emphasis on teaching. This is an important part of our training – to learn from experienced physicians, and for them to make sure that they are up to date with the most advanced techniques and training. It keeps all of us sharp and ultimately translates into benefit for our patients.”

Dr. Brogan Schoeneman is another success story from the program. Though some graduates already have plans in place to pursue practice in other areas of the country, we often have residents who, upon graduation, choose to remain in the local community. Close to 20 physicians on its Medical Staff who have trained at Samaritan and chose to stay or return to the area to practice. 

Dr. Schoeneman is one of those doctors. In September, he will begin practice at the Samaritan Family Health Center in Clayton.

GME grads 2018

Front row (L to R): Graduating Residents Daniel Morgan, DO, Brogan Schoeneman, DO, and Boyu Wang; Back row (L to R): Attending Physicians David Rechlin, DO, Paula Gregg, DO, Benjamin Rudd, DO and LaVerne VanDeWall, DO.

Samaritan CEO Thanks Staff

Dear Colleagues:

I want to take this opportunity to express my pride and appreciation for your phenomenal response to yesterday’s Code 99 (Server Downtime). Time and time again, your unified and focused efforts to ensure the safety of our patients, especially in a crisis situation like this, are commendable. Your calm attitudes and patient-focused actions and decisions ensured that not one patient was harmed or negatively affected during such a challenging situation. These actions embody the Samaritan values and our mission to provide high quality, comprehensive, safe and compassionate healthcare to our community.

To recap the situation, the cooling system failed in the data center where all of our computer servers are stored. The temperature in the room rose to a level that an alert about the rising temperature was sent to IT and facilities, who responded immediately. However, due to the record heat we were experiencing yesterday, the temperature in the room rose quickly to a level (exceeding 100 degrees) that triggered the servers to automatically shut down.

This shut-down resulted in loss of access to many of our systems, most importantly our patients’ electronic medical records and medication administration information. Downtime procedures were immediately activated but were made more complicated without access to critical information that we would have had in a planned downtime situation. The uncertainty related to the timeframe to restore this information was an added factor. Despite all of the challenges you were faced with, you remained calm and focused on our patients and on resolving the situation as quickly as possible. We brought systems on line much faster than we anticipated, thanks to your efforts.

Some of you have asked if we have a back-up plan for our data and servers. We do. Our first back-up plan is to go to downtime procedures, which we did. Next would have been to activate the back-up servers that store our data at an off-site location. This process would have taken several hours (12-18 or more), which was longer than we anticipated it would take to restore the servers here in the hospital. So we made the decision to not activate the off-site servers.

Now that the crisis part of the situation is behind us, please take a few moments to look back at your efforts and the efforts of hundreds of your colleagues, and be proud of what you accomplished for our patients and each other. I am deeply grateful to work alongside such a professional and talented team of caregivers whose dedication to our patients is unwavering.

Thank you!
Tom Carman
President & CEO