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Incoming medical director Dr. Todd Hope (left) stands with outgoing medical director Dr. Sohaib Siddiqui in front of White Mountain Community Health Center in Conway. (SIENA KAPLAN-THOMPSON PHOTO). 

CONWAY — Dr. Todd Hope has joined White Mountain Community Health Center as its new medical director.

Dr. Sohaib Siddiqui will be leaving White Mountain Community Health Center to focus on his own practice.

“I’m sad to leave, I value everyone up here and have a lot of respect for everything we do here,” Siddiqui said. “But I’m excited at the same time because you have Dr. Hope coming here. I’ve known Todd for many years, I worked with him at Androscoggin Valley Hospital, and he’s going to be great for the organization. He’s a great doc.”

Dr. Hope has practiced for over a decade in both outpatient and hospital settings. After his residency program at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., in adult internal and pediatric medicine, he served as medical director at a long-term acute care facility in Massachusetts.

Since moving to New Hampshire in 2014, Hope worked as a hospitalist at critical access hospitals before moving to outpatient settings. He last served as chief medical officer at Indian Stream Health Center in Colebrook.

“I’ve heard good things about the health center from Dr. Siddiqui, and I’m very excited about the opportunity to come on board here and help this place grow and continue to provide a good service to the community,” Hope said. “This is a new chapter for both of us, and I’m looking forward to it.”

JR Porter, the health center’s executive director, said, “I’m really excited to have new leadership joining us right as we’re coming out of the pandemic. We’ll be working together to look at how we can increase our capacity, help patients feel safe returning to in-person visits, and look at more ways that we can grow. This is a great moment to be looking forward toward the future.”

Hope will be focused on White Mountain Community Health Center as his home practice and is employed directly by the health center. In recent years, the health center has primarily contracted physicians from other practices to serve as medical directors and consulting physicians to support its providers.

While all have been excellent physicians and committed to the organization and its patients, the organization has struggled with the limited available hours and being second priority.

“We’re looking forward to having a dedicated medical director,” said Director of Operations Julie Hill, RN. “He’ll be able to support our quality improvement program, new projects we’ve wanted to go deeper on such as the diabetes project for HRSA (the federal Health Resources and Services Administration), and just as a resource for our providers. It’s exciting to have someone who’s really our own.”

Hope will be both supporting administrative initiatives at the health center and seeing patients directly.

Siddiqui said one reason he recommended Dr. Hope was his background in internal medicine.

“In the valley we don’t have any other internist as a primary care provider, that’s huge for us up here. It’s a different perspective,” he said.

Hope said: “From a training perspective they’re the same number of years, but in that three-year span for family practice, you have adults, you have kids, you have OB, whereas internal medicine is focused on the adult population so there’s a lot more in-depth information they package into the training program. Family practitioners are great, we just get a bit more in-depth training in the various diseases — heart failure, diabetes, kidney disease, lung disease, all that type of stuff.”

Siddiqui added, “Family medicine we’re told to kind of look at the whole picture, as is internal medicine, but someone like Todd can narrow it down further to cardiac or diabetes, they have more training there. He’s a smart doc, he’s very slow and deliberate in diagnosis, which is nice, instead of jumping the gun. The complicated patients he does a great job with, because he’s very organized and he sees them and kind of takes them step by step. He’s thorough, it’s a good thing for the patients.”

Siddiqui says he will still be available to consult and provide support to the health center whenever needed.

“You’ve got such a great team here, Debbie, Lisa, Cindy, the nursing staff, everyone. I’m going to miss that teamwork, and walking in and seeing Linda smiling and BethLynn laughing no matter how stressful the day was. We went through a lot last year. The whole world did, but you know for a small practice like us, this was a big deal. JR and Julie and everyone did a great job. It’s a good team,” he said.

White Mountain Community Health Center is located in Conway and provides comprehensive primary care to men, women and children, including dental care, a prenatal program, and support services. The health center is a non-profit working to ensure that all can access high-quality health care, regardless of ability to pay. For more information about the health center, whitemountainhealth.org or call (603) 447-8900.

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