Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes Region, Geneva, N.Y. has been host to the Colleges for nearly two centuries— a city that has welcomed our students, supported our efforts and advanced our mission. But for many Hobart and William Smith Colleges alumni and alumnae, the region is simply home.
Dr. Jason Feinberg ’89, P’17, vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer, in the new 17,000-square-foot Emergency Department at Geneva General Hospital.
by Ellen Mitchell
Perhaps Jason Feinberg '89, P'17 wouldn't be the highly regarded physician he is today if he hadn't broken limbs so often when he was young. A frequent visitor to an orthopedist in his Long Island community, as a child Feinberg was impressed by what he saw. "This guy was helping all these people get better and that made an impression on me," he recalls. "I excelled at science and math, which is a strength you need to go into the field. Those two pieces came together and I put my nose down to succeed."
A guidance counselor with a son at Hobart knew Feinberg wanted to pursue health sciences and suggested he visit. Feinberg says he was sold on the campus tour. It was easy to move around and Geneva was close by. Plus, he had encouraging conversations about health professions and the course schedule would allow him to play baseball all four years.
Feinberg majored in chemistry and said his college experience was even better than anticipated. His worst fear - that he "would end up in giant classes and not be able to discuss the material in a meaningful way" - never came true. Science courses with Professors Tom Glover, Val Kish, Ken Carle, Carl Aten and Walter Boyer were particularly influential.
Feinberg had been accepted to medical school at SUNY Upstate Medical University when he took Hobart Dean Eugen Baer's P'95, P'97, HON'07 "Medical Symbiotics" course.
"It was just fascinating and very timely and made me even more excited to start my career," he recalls.
In his first year of medical school, Feinberg accepted a U.S. Navy scholarship and was on active duty from 1993-1999, attaining the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He completed his medical internship and internal medicine residency while living in San Francisco for three years. By 1999, he had been stationed in Beaufort, S.C., for three years and knew he would be leaving the Navy. Feinberg's wife, Shayne, grew up and attended college in Upstate New York and was as eager to return to the area as her husband. He gladly accepted an offer from a medical group in Geneva recruiting for an internist.
"Geneva meant so much to me as a student, and I was thrilled to move back. The decision was made easier by the beauty of the area, the relative openness and lack of congestion," he says. "I love the lifestyle."
Feinberg's career has thrived in Geneva. He left private practice in 2005 to become the first director of hospital medicine at Finger Lakes Health (FLH) in Geneva, a position he held until last year when he was named vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer. With the new position, Feinberg is responsible for medical leadership at two hospitals and four long-term care facilities. He is enormously proud that Finger Lakes Health is highly regarded for quality, safety and satisfaction.
Feinberg has been instrumental in the integration of the FLH and HWS communities. In 2013, HWS presented its Community Partner of the Year Award to Finger Lakes Health for contributing to the civic development and leadership of Hobart and William Smith Colleges students, many of whom intern at FLH.
Considering his work responsibilities and active family life, it's hard to imagine Feinberg behind a desk for long. He and Shayne, program coordinator for the Colleges' Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, live in Geneva where they are raising their three children - son Jason is a Geneva High sophomore, daughter Lily is a sixth-grader at St. Stephen's, and eldest son Drew '17 is a Hobart first-year student.
"The experience I had growing up is possible to achieve in Geneva," he says. "I feel safe. I can get around easily and I enjoy the four seasons. We are very happy to live in this community."
Feinberg adds, "There's not a week that goes by that I'm not in touch with someone about the Colleges." He makes a point of seeing HWS friends throughout the year and is amazed how often he runs into people with Hobart connections. He is also working with a dozen classmates to "gain momentum" for a great showing at their 25th reunion in June.
"For such a small school, it speaks volumes about how much we are connected to one another," he says. "People didn't go to Hobart to get a degree and to forget about the place. Our experience at HWS is even more valuable as we get farther away."
Tracking The Renaissance