2017 Top Doctors

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For the 2017 Top Doctors poll, New Hampshire Magazine selected national research firm Castle Connolly to conduct the survey process. Included are 273 doctors in 55 specialties, as nominated by their peers, who cover a wide range of medical needs from pediatrics to surgical care. We also asked several of this year's Top Doctors to share a quotation or anecdote that helps motivate or inspire them to continue practicing medicine at the highest level.

Read about the Castle Connolly selection process

Meet some of the 2017 Top Doctors

James Vailas, M.D., Orthopaedic Surgery

The New Hampshire Orthopaedic Center

Playing sports in high school and college gave me the opportunity to better my school experiences and make connections with folks who helped me get to where I am. I want to do the same for student-athletes by treating their sports injuries so that they can continue to play sports, which can give them the opportunities that I had.

Mini Mahata, M.D., Endocrinology

Exeter Hospital
Core Physicians, Exeter

“The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.” — William Osler

Sir Osler was one of the first physicians who brought young doctors out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. Even spending years learning and practicing in that space, I am still awed by the exchange that unfolds. My patients put aside pride and embarrassment to convey their concerns and fears. Within minutes they become more vulnerable to me than they may have ever been with a best friend of 20 years. This is a great privilege that I aim to meet with respect and approachability. We live in times of increasing transparency and empowerment. Rather than briefly tell a patient what to do, I appreciate counseling and teaching, to help them come to the conclusion that is best for them. From this foundation, patients can derive a higher level of investment in maintaining their own health and rely on an enduring and trusting therapeutic relationship.

Naomi Gauthier, M.D., Pediatric Cardiology

Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
CHaD at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital

The quote that sticks with me most comes from the oath we took upon graduating from medical school, the Oath of Maimonides (some schools use this one, others use the Hippocratic Oath). Maimonides was a physician and philosopher from the Middle Ages and part of the oath reads:

“May I never see in the patient anything but a fellow creature in pain. Grant me the strength, time and opportunity always to correct what I have acquired, always to extend its domain ... Today he can discover his errors of yesterday and tomorrow he can obtain a new light on what he thinks himself sure of today.”

It impressed upon me that, even in ancient times, practicing medicine was seen as both a promise to uphold the humanity and compassion of medicine and keep the patients’ needs first and foremost, but also to uphold the “practice” of lifelong learning, adapting, and questioning ourselves and our field to find ever better ways to help people become well.

Adela de Vera, M.D., Pediatrics

Monadnock Community Hospital, Peterborough

“Cure sometimes, treat often and comfort always.” — Hippocrates

A lot of pediatrics is reassuring the parents. They leave the office without a prescription, but with the assurance that  their child is healthy and will weather whatever condition is ailing them. Giving a medicine to take does not always help. But showing the parents a lot of compassion and care gives them the knowledge and comfort that all is well.

Jeffrey Lockhart, M.D., Cardiovascular Disease

Concord Hospital
Concord Cardiology Associates

As a physician, I have been particularly influenced by passages from the wisdom literature in the Old Testament. Three phrases from the Book of Job, a man intimately familiar with intense physical and emotional pain and shame, immediately come to mind as being influential in my career: “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble”; “If a man dies, will he live again?”; and “I know that my redeemer lives.” Job asked all the big “why?” questions we try to ignore as we treat patients and deal with the limitations of our finite natures in solving the “whats?” and “hows?”. Job received few specific answers, but his discourse has helped me realize that there is a creator God, and a purpose behind all that we experience. For me, the cognitive dissonance aroused by the beauty of human beings, the angst they face, and my own many daily shortcomings are reconciled at the foot of the cross through the suffering love of Christ.

David J. Finley, M.D., Thoracic & Cardiac Surgery

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon

“There is the best treatment, and then there is the best treatment for the patient.”

Too often physicians are focused on the best treatment for a disease and forget that they need to be focused on the best treatment for the patient. By learning your patients’ wishes, needs, concerns and goals, we as physicians are better able to support and treat our patients. Treating a patient successfully is helping them choose their treatment and providing them with the best care that meets their needs. In this way you are making sure that you are giving the best treatment for the patient.

Dale Vidal, M.D., M.S., Plastic Surgery

Executive Director, Multi-Specialty Clinic at
Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital

“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” — Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou’s quote has long resonated with me as it summarizes my passion to help my patients truly thrive, not just survive. Her words also serve as a reminder to bear compassion for the suffering of my patients.

Ana Stankovic, M.D., Nephrology

Parkland Medical Center, Holy Family Hospital Center for Kidney and Metabolic Disorders

“Be calm and strong and patient. Meet failure and disappointment with courage. Rise superior to the trials of life, and never give in to hopelessness or despair. In danger, in adversity, cling to your principles and ideals. Aequanimitas!” — William Osler

I love helping patients, slowing the progression of diseases and curing illnesses by practicing evidence-based medicine. Being a good doctor means being a good listener, having a compassion to help others and a lifelong passion for continuous learning. To have all these qualities, I try to be strong, determined and hard-working.

Alice Rocke, M.D., General Surgery

Littleton Regional Healthcare

I always remember something an instructor told me. That while this may be routine for us every day, for our patients surgery is a major life event. Coming to see a doctor can be fraught with fear and anxiety, so we need to take time to be kind — there’s always time to be kind.


Mark Conway, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., Obstetrics & Gynecology

St. Joseph Hospital
SJH OB/GYN, Merrimack

Listening is the most important skill for any medical care provider (even surgeons). I’ve found over the many years of my practice that if you truly listen to the patient, they will generally tell you what is wrong with them. Just as important, as a provider, you have to understand what the patient’s expectations and concerns are concerning their condition. Only by listening can you help craft a plan of care that works for the patient.

Elizabeth Angelakis, M.D., Diagnostic Radiology

Catholic Medical Center
Southern NH Radiology Consultants, Bedford
CMC Breast Care Center, Bedford

“Make miracles happen.” My daughter’s skating team, Ice Mates, cheers this before taking the ice. To them, it’s about performing their best in perfect synchronization. In breast care, the miracle happens when we find cancer at the earliest moment to give a woman her best chance at survival and successful treatment. Inspiration comes from being part of the breast care team, “making miracles happen,” for every woman, every day.

Muhammad Mirza, M.D., Pulmonary Disease

Elliot Hospital

Nothing can be more satisfying than helping someone achieve health-related quality of life. I could not imagine doing anything else other than medicine. From the moment I worked with my mentor, Dr. Conetta, I knew I wanted to be like him — a pulmonologist.


Anthony Salerni, M.D., Neurological Surgery

Lakes Region General Hospital
Advanced Orthopaedic Specialists, Gilford

As doctors, we learn the technical aspects of medicine from other doctors. However, some of our greatest lessons have always come from patients. I will never forget what former NBA star, Bill Walton, wrote after having his function-restoring back surgery: “I learned a long time ago that minor surgery is when they do the operation on someone else, not you.” This has helped me keep in mind that any surgery is always a foreign and often frightening experience for patients, and while surgery is often unavoidable, surgeons should endeavor to consider all reasonable alternatives.

Amit Kumar, M.D., Allergy & Immunology

Southern New Hampshire Medical Center
Southern New Hampshire Asthma and Allergy, Nashua

“The beauty of science is that it does not claim to know the answers before it asks the questions. There is nothing wrong with not knowing. It means there is more to learn, and as I have said before, ignorance bothers me far less than the illusion of knowledge.” — Lawrence Krauss

They always say that the Latin for doctor is “to teach.” I’ve always taken this to heart. Thus, when I started in practice several years ago, I asked that a white board be placed in all of my examination rooms. When I am discussing a topic or lab, I like to go up to the white board and write things out for a patient in an effort to simplify things. I have always felt that if the patient better understands their disease, they leave with a sense of empowerment that in turn allows them to better manage their condition. But there are times when I see something so complex or rare, that the white board remains empty and I am reminded how humbling being a physician can be. This forces me to look up things in medical journals and at times seek the counsel of my colleagues or experts within the field. But therein also lies the beauty of medicine. The medical field is constantly advancing due to new technology and research. As physicians we are constantly growing, learning and evolving. What I learn from every encounter and every case gives me a better chance of having something valuable to put up on a future patient’s white board.

Roderick Bruno, M.D., Hand Surgery

Portsmouth Regional Hospital
Access Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics, Portsmouth and Exeter

I come to work every day for the challenges and possibilities that come with the profession. I love working with a team of physicians that provide high-level care without having to travel to a big city.

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Top Doctor Event sponsors

Our annual Top Doctors awards reception is held each April and is invite-only.

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Top Doctor Photos

2017 Top Doctors reception

2017 Top Doctors reception

The 2017 Top Docs reception was held on Thursday, April 6 at the Bedford Village Inn. Congratulations to all of this year's winners! Photos by Wendy Wood

Top Docs Awards Reception 2016

Top Docs Awards Reception 2016

The 2016 Top Docs reception was held on Tuesday, April 5 at the Bedford Village Inn. Congratulations to all of this year's winners! Photos by Wendy Wood

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about castle connolly and the selection process

Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. is a healthcare research and information company founded in 1991 by a former medical college board chairman and president to help guide consumers to America's top doctors and top hospitals. Castle Connolly's established nomination survey, research, screening and selection process, under the direction of an MD, involves many hundreds of thousands of physicians as well as academic medical centers, specialty hospitals and regional and community hospitals all across the nation. Castle Connolly's physician-led team of researchers follows a rigorous screening process to select top doctors on both the national and regional levels. Its online nominations process – located at www.castleconnolly.com/nominations - is open to all licensed physicians in America who are able to nominate physicians in any medical specialty and in any part of the country, as well as indicate whether the nominated physicians is, in their opinion, among the best in their region in their medical specialty or among the best in the nation in their medical specialty. Careful screening of doctors' educational and professional experience is essential before final selection is made among those physicians most highly regarded by their peers.  The result - we identify the top doctors in America and provide you, the consumer, with detailed information about their education, training and special expertise in our paperback guides, national and regional  magazine “Top Doctors” features and online directories.

Doctors do not and cannot pay to be selected and profiled as Castle Connolly Top Doctors.

Physicians selected for inclusion in this magazine's "Top Doctors" feature may also appear as online at www.castleconnolly.com, or in conjunction with other Castle Connolly Top Doctors databases online and/or in print.

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