Contact: Linda Johnson
Office: 716-664-8614


RTPI President Keynote Speaker at Doctors Day Luncheon

Press Release Photo
Pictured, Twan Leenders, president Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, reveals 5-year action plan describing the mission-driven program development in three focal areas: art, education, and conservation.


JAMESTOWN, NEW YORK (Monday, March 19, 2018)— Twan Leenders, president Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History (RTPI), will share his knowledge of Jamestown’s urban nature and how this city asset has inspired people around the world during the annual UPMC Chautauqua WCA Doctors’ Day luncheon on Friday, March 23. The luncheon salutes more than 170 doctors on the hospital’s medical staff.

James Campion, MD, president of UPMC Chautauqua WCA medical staff, will present the prestigious 2018 Physician of the Year Award—an honor given annually to an outstanding physician in Chautauqua County who is recognized for his or her significant practice experience, compassion, community involvement, and commitment to a healthier community.

“Doctors’ Day is our way of saying thanks,” said Betsy T. Wright, president, UPMC Chautauqua WCA.  “As president of UPMC Chautauqua WCA, it is my privilege to recognize the significant contributions of our medical staff whose hard work is essential in helping us realize our mission. Today is a wonderful occasion to extend our grateful appreciation to our physicians who partner in our pursuit to maintain and improve the well-being of our residents.”

Leenders is a biologist from The Netherlands, specializing in animal ecology and conservation management. For more than twenty years he has carried out research on birds, mammals, and plants in various places on the planet, but Twan is particularly interested in amphibians, reptiles, and tropical rainforest ecology. As a former researcher at Yale University's Peabody Museum, he has participated in many international expeditions that helped gather data to better understand and protect biologically important areas and the species and habitats found there.

Before arriving in western New York, Twan was an assistant professor of biology at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT, and went back into the trenches of conservation research and outreach while leading the Science and Conservation Office of the Connecticut Audubon Society. As president of RTPI, he now applies his experience to the region and develops new conservation research and education initiatives that aim to spark increased interest in the area’s unique natural history while providing economic incentives to promote good environmental stewardship.

Joni Blackman will join Leenders during the presentation. Longtime director of the Fenton History Center, who has taken on the new position as senior vice president and chief operating officer of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute, Blackman has more than 30 years’ experience in leading and managing not-for-profit organizations. She served as executive director of the Fenton History Center for 14 years and is board president of the James Prendergast Library Association. She has also served on the board of the Das Puppenspiel Puppet Theatre, Chautauqua County Visitor’s Bureau, Reachout Ministries Inc., while her current community involvement includes serving as future president of the Jamestown Rotary Club in the 2019-20 year and chair of one of the local Southern Chautauqua County United Way allocations panels.

The first Doctors’ Day, held on March 30, 1930, in Winder, Georgia, was inspired by the wife of Dr. Charles B. Almond and marks the anniversary of the first use of general anesthesia in surgery by Dr. Crawford W. Long in 1842.  On March 30, 1958, the United State House of Representatives adopted a resolution commemorating Doctors’ Day.  In 1990, the congress and the senate approved legislation establishing National Doctors’ Day.  The resolution designating March 30th as National Doctors’ Day was signed by President George Bush.

On Friday, March 30 (National Doctors’ Day) the community is invited to remember their physician(s) and the many ways in which they promote, maintain, and restore health.

For a list of physicians on the medical staff at UPMC Chautauqua WCA, visit  To receive a free pocket 2018 Physician Directory/Calendar that features the medical staff, e-mail or call 716-664-8255.



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