Thursday, April 24, 2003
By CHERYL SQUADRITO MOSKOVITZ
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
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
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
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,