Local physician will lead national group

Andrew Coates chosen by organization that supports universal care

By Cathleen F. Crowley
Albany Times-Union, Thursday, February 9, 2012

ALBANY – A local physician and activist was chosen as president-elect of Physicians for a National Health Program, a national organization of 18,000 doctors who support universal health care.

Dr. Andrew Coates, 49, was selected to lead the group by PNHP's executive committee last month. His one-year term starts in 2013.

"We still need real health reform in this country," Coates said. "We still need health care that will provide comprehensive and necessary care for absolutely everyone."

Coates, who often shows up at peace rallies and health care protests in a bow tie and fleece jacket, is director of medical services at Capital District Psychiatric Center, medical director at Albany County Nursing home and a member of the executive board of the Public Employees Federation.

Coates, who is board certified in internal medicine and hospice and palliative medicine, is also a Times Union blogger.

"Andy is a fabulous person who is committed to social justice and that includes health care for all and it includes adequate income and housing and food," said Dr. Richard Propp, a retired doctor who founded the Capital District Alliance for Universal Health Care. "Basically, he is someone who is fighting on all levels for everybody."

Coates founded the region's chapter of PNHP about 10 years ago with Dr. Paul Sorum, a family doctor in Latham.

Sorum said, "He has a very good vision of what a just society should provide in the way of real health care access."

The United States should model its health care system on countries like Canada, Taiwan, New Zealand and England, Coates said.

"What doesn't work is private health insurance," he said.

Coates was raised in Greene County and attended Hamilton College. He has a master's degree in history from SUNY Albany and a medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He trained at Bassett Healthcare and teaches at Albany Medical College. He lives in Delmar with his wife, Lori Coates, and their three children.

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