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A rare breed: Dr. Esposito

March 29, 2015

by Tiffany Pearson

Dr. Michael Esposito, 74, has been practicing medicine for 42 years and has an old-fashioned way of business.

“There are very few people my age working,” Esposito said. Most doctors work for 30 years and retire. Patients come in and talk socially with his staff, he said, a nicety that isn’t seen much anymore.

People like the small town, feel kind of approach. They like the way Esposito practices, said Barbara Principato, Esposito’s secretary for the last 25 years.

Dr. Esposito /Tiffany Pearson

Dr. Esposito /Tiffany Pearson

“Esposito is a rare breed. Patients do not feel like a number, like most doctor offices today,” Principato said. Many just want to practice medicine, but Esposito, is meticulous and thorough. He is detail-oriented, versed in every aspect of the business and he is good at what he does, she said.

Esposito  likes the sociability factor that comes from meeting new patients and forming relationships with them.

“Most doctors today type on a keyboard, I don’t like to do that,” Esposito said. “I am a more social person in regards to talking to people and that is the kind of practice I like.”

Esposito is an endocrinologist who treats patients that suffer from illnesses of the endocrine system which consist of the pancreas, adrenal, thyroid, testes, ovaries and pituitary glands. He is also an internist, who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases.

He arrives at work each day at about 8:30 a.m. and meets with new patients first thing. Those appointments can run up to 45 minutes, while longstanding patients may have a 15 or 20 minute visit. He figures he puts in about 60 hours weekly, including bringing work home and making house calls.

“Being a doctor, you feel like you are contributing to society,” Esposito said. It is a calling, like being a priest, he said. “I dedicate my life and make a difference in someone else’s.”

Despite, forming a bond with his patients, he never thought he would be a doctor.

“There were no medical people in my family,” Esposito said.

He was born in a poor family in Queens and wanted to be a science teacher. Then he was inspired by a friend who dreamed of being a doctor since he was a little kid.

“He always talked about the medical field, and since a doctor incorporates teaching in a way, I thought I’d give it a try,” Esposito said.

He graduated from Manhattan College in 1962 with a bachelor’s degree in science and came to Albany and trained under Dr. David Goodman, who once ran the Endocrinology Department at Albany Medical School. In 1970 Esposito started teaching there and still teaches once a week.

Esposito at his desk/Tiffany Pearson

Esposito at his desk/Tiffany Pearson

“Endocrinology, I felt was an interesting field because you can really help people out, in dealing with infertility and tumors. You can really make a difference in someone’s life,” Esposito said.

He is pleased he became a doctor in the short time he did because today it’s much more difficult for medical school graduates to find a job than it was back when he started working in 1973.

For the last 40 years, Esposito has been married to Joanne Esposito who takes care of his office’s payroll and has served on board of trustees at The College of Saint Rose for 20 years.

“He loves helping people and he loves the intellectual challenge of medicine and looks at his job as a calling,” his wife said.

He has a daughter, Amy who followed his path and practices internal medicine in New York City, but is finding it difficult.

“Today, when medical students graduate college, most of them have to join a group,” Esposito said. A lot of times, he said, they get let go because they are not keeping up and not seeing enough patients.

When he is not at his office, between 11 a.m and 12 p.m. he works out five times a week for an hour  at the YMCA on North Pearl street.  He has seven personal trainers whom he has met over the years, but mainly works out with one: Tom C0razzini, who he has known for 20 years and is also a patient of his.

“We do weight lifting,” Corazzini said. Esposito is in really good shape for a 74-year-old, Corazzini said.

“Most doctors can’t fit that into their schedule,” Esposito said.  “I’m not fat and that motivates my patients,” he said, “what I tell them to do, I do myself.”

He has been working out for 35 to 40 years and is popular at the YMCA.

“He makes friends easily,” Corazzini said. Everybody knows him at the gym, he said, and he has a really good sense of humor.

According to Corazzini, Esposito was suppose to retire at 70.

“I do not know how he keeps on going,” Corazzini said. “He gets up early in the morning and keeps on going.” All his patients seem to like him, he said.

Esposito’s office on the left/Tiffany Pearson

Esposito’s office on the left/Tiffany Pearson

Esposito’s office, at 614 Madison Ave., is in a brownstone that sits across from a bus stop, which is convenient for some of his patients.

“His office is small but he gives all his patients personal attention, and that is what they like,” said Principato.

He shares the office with Dr. Richard Ginsburg, who he hired 35 years go and has a staff of nine including one student from Saint Rose.

“Ninety percent of the students that worked here, worked out very well. Many stayed for a couple of years,” Esposito said.

“He puts everybody before himself,” Corazzini said. Some of his students at Albany Med are retired, and he is still going, Corazzini said, and he is devoted to his family and his patients. “He really is the most caring person I ever met.”

A lot of his patients have been with him for 30 or 40 years and now he tries to go to their wakes or funerals.

“I get up in the morning and say to myself, I could be doing this work without getting paid because I like it so much,” Esposito said. “I love being a doctor.”

He claims that he may cut back on his hours, but he has no plans to retire.

“Doctors today don’t do house calls.They don’t have close relationships with their patients,” Esposito said. “It’s very sad. I’m a dying breed.” -30-

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