Ogdensburg psychiatrist named ‘Community Health Hero’
Thursday, November 15, 2018 - 5:50 am

OGDENSBURG -- Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center medical director and chief of psychiatry Dr. Pakkam Rajasekaran was honored as a 2018 “Community Health Hero” Tuesday afternoon during an award lunch in Clayton.

The Fort Drum Regional Health Planning Organization (FDRHPO) and North Country Health Compass Partners made the award based on the nomination by his colleague Kimberly McKnight.

Born in Madras, India, where he earned his M.D. at Madras Medical College in 1976, Rajasekaran moved to the United States and trained at two downstate New York hospitals, Maimonides Medical Center and Brookdale Medical Center.

Rajasekaran has been a practicing psychiatrist for 37 years. He is a widower, surviving his late wife, Mary Adair. He has one daughter, Nisha, and four stepchildren, Chad, Dawn, Michelle and Danne.

Rajasekaran said that moving to the North Country “gave me an opportunity to serve the people who are deprived in many ways,” he said. “It is a great place to work. The people here are very friendly, helpful to each other, and great neighbors.”

“There are many unsung heroes living and working in the North Country, especially when you look at the health and wellness sector,” FDRHPO executive director Erika F. Flint said in a prepared statement. “The goal of the Community Health Hero Award is to give these hard-working, selfless individuals some well-deserved recognition, and there is no doubt that we have truly found three heroes this year.”

The award, given in honor of National Rural Health Day Nov. 15, recognizes North Country residents who have demonstrated outstanding public service and a commitment to improving the health and wellness of their community. Nominations were accepted from the community at large and winners were selected by members of the North Country Health Compass Partners.

“A hero embodies the virtues of courage, sacrifice, endurance and integrity,” said Pat Fontana, FDRHPO Rural Health Network manager and emcee of Tuesday’s event. “A hero possesses a hard-wired willingness to make daily personal sacrifices for the benefit of the people around them, and there’s something about them that makes you want to be around them and want to be like them. The heroes here today are not sporting a mask or donning a pair of tights and a cape, but they are heroes nonetheless.”