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Dr. Lester H. Schiff is retiring after 19 years as chief of staff of Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Health Center.

Dr. Domonic F. Falsetti has been appointed the new chief of staff.

Schiff, who has spent 53 years in medical practice and 48 years affiliated with St. Mary's, will be honored at a farewell reception from 2 to 4:30 p.m. March 9 in Conference Rooms 723 A&B of the hospital.

"Dr. Schiff has been an integral part of the history and accomplishments of Mount St. Mary's for almost 50 years," said Angelo G. Calbone, president and chief executive officer. "As a pediatrician and a humanitarian, he has also touched the lives of countless children, their mothers and their families with his skill, compassion and wise understanding. We will miss his wisdom and enthusiasm, and wish him well in his retirement."

Schiff's years of dedication will be remembered through a new painting of the pediatrician and one of his young patients that will hang in the lobby of EmStar, the hospital's new emergency department. The portrait was presented to Schiff and his wife, Mimi, at the hospital foundation's inaugural Signature Event, ER Extravaganza, in June.

Schiff is a graduate of the University of Chicago, Amherst College and the University at Buffalo School of Medicine. He served his residency at Children's Hospital in Buffalo and at the Children's Medical Center in Boston. In 1952, he joined the medical staff of St. Mary's as a pediatrician.

Schiff has served in various leadership positions at Mount St. Mary's. He was appointed chief of pediatrics in 1957, assistant chief of staff in 1980, chief of staff in 1982 and medical director in 1989, when he retired from practice.

Falsetti graduated from UB Medical School in 1958. He was appointed to St. Mary's medical staff in 1966 and became chief of surgery in 1991. He served as president of the medical staff from 1997 to 1999 and is a member of the hospital foundation.

A fellow in the American College of Surgeons and American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons, he is also a member of the American Medical Association and Medical Society of the State of New York.

"We are pleased and privileged to have someone of his experience and proven track record," Calbone said.

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