National Doctors’ Day

Upstate Foundation’s Grateful Patient and Family Program will celebrate its 10th National Doctors’ Day Tuesday, March 30. Hundreds of handwritten notes from appreciative patients will be distributed to physicians, nurses and other health care professionals. 

The Foundation’s Bethann Kistner says this year has been more meaningful than ever. “For the past decade, Upstate University Hospital patients have been invited to pay tribute to their doctors for the exceptional care and compassion the physicians provide,” said Kistner. “The pandemic has stretched our health care providers to the limit, but they continue to care for patients and their families with incredible empathy.” 

The Foundation has cataloged nearly 6,000 tributes since the Grateful Patient and Family Program began, honoring doctors and other health care providers who have made a difference in their patients’ lives. Kistner says the notes are written with such gratitude and often include life-changing stories. 

Grateful patient and cancer survivor Christine Diviak wrote a note of appreciation for Lisa Lai, MD. “I knew I was in the hands of a very caring and compassionate surgeon when Dr. Lai walked through wind and sleet to see me, and even hug me, upon my arrival at the Upstate Cancer Center for my first chemo treatment,” said Diviak.

In addition to facilitating the receipt of grateful patient tributes, the Upstate Foundation celebrates National Doctors’ Day with a celebratory banner and signage throughout Upstate University Hospital and Upstate Community Hpspital.


If you are grateful for the care your Upstate doctor provided and want to thank and honor him or her, you can send a tribute note by email to or mail Upstate Foundation, 750 E Adams St, CAB 326, Syracuse, NY 13210.

I vividly remember the moments just before my
heart surgery when my cardiac surgeon,
G. Randall Green, MD, held my hand, looked into
my eyes, and calmly asked me to trust him. I said
I would, and I am so grateful because I recovered
just as he knew I would.
– Lyn Nash


“Stephen Graziano, MD and his team at the Upstate
Cancer Center hold a special place in my heart.
They brought me comfort when there was uncertainty.
They gave me back my life.”
 – Carla Costello