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Thursday, April 24, 2003

By CHERYL SQUADRITO MOSKOVITZ
Courier-Post Staff
VOORHEES

Dr. Robert Binder hasn't seen patients in more than a year, but that didn't stop his osteopathic colleagues from naming him Physician of the Year for 2003.

"I guess it was a lifetime achievement award. It was totally unexpected," said Binder, who is an honorary member of the medical staff of Kennedy Memorial Hospitals-University Medical Center.

Binder has practiced medicine from the ground-floor office in his Voorhees home for 38 years until a heart attack forced an early retirement just over a year ago.

An active jazz musician and car enthusiast, Binder has been the township physician for decades, consulting with officials and giving physicals to the police and firefighters.

His good works hadn't gone unnoticed by his peers in the New Jersey association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons, the group that honored him.

Frank Cagliari, the association's executive director, said the group wanted to honor a traditional family doctor and Binder fit the bill.

"His demeanor, his years of service and his commitment to education, put it all together and it's a nice little package," Cagliari said.

During the association's awards ceremony earlier this month, Binder
performed with the band and sang part of his acceptance speech. 
"I've never seen a doctor enjoy his party from beginning to end. It really was his night," Cagliari said.

Binder's extended family and longtime friends were invited to the
celebration. "It was one of the pinnacles of my life," he said. "Besides getting married and the birth of my children."

He was thrilled to play with the band, too.

A trombone player in high school, Binder took it up again about 13 years ago. Now he's playing the congas, jamming on the trombone and scat singing - singing syllables to make a melody - with other jazz musicians in Philadelphia and performing about five nights a week. "If I had a choice between seeing a great show or playing a show, I'd pick playing a show. I love to perform," said Binder, who loves to scat sing.

Besides jazz, medicine and his family, Binder has other interests, most notably cool cars.

He's the proud original owner of a 1957 Corvette, a black sporty convertible he bought new just after he married his wife, Harriet.

He also has a blue Chevy El Camino, two late-model white Chevy Caprices and a Honda motorcycle. His Motor Trend and Car and Driver magazines share the same piles with The New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Binder has been a member of the NJAOPS House of Delegates for 36 years and serves as clinical assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine of the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Osteopathic Medicine.

He has been Township Physician and Director of Medical Affairs for Voorhees Township since the mid-1960s, and continues as police surgeon for the township.

He has also been an honorary member of seven volunteer fire departments in Voorhees and other nearby municipalities. Dr. Binder has provided physical exams for hundreds of newly recruited firefighters at no cost through the years.

Township Administrator Fred Mann said he was happy to hear that Binder won an award. Mann says Binder is also a member of the Voorhees Board of Health.

For many years Binder would give physicals to the police officers before hiring them. "He was always available to us when we needed a doctor's opinion," Mann said.

Connie Pfafman, a former patient living in Maple Shade, said Binder never rushed his patients. "Just talking to him lowered my blood pressure and made me feel better," said Pfafman, 66. Pfafman thought Binder was deserving on the award and said, "He's the best." "As soon as I met him, I liked him," Pfafman said.

She liked going to a family doctor who practiced in his home. It was like a social visit, rather than doctor's appointment, she said. "Dr. Binder spent extra time with his patients. He took all his time. He talked and listened, too."


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