Seven UBMD physicians named 2021 Unsung Heroes

Collage of headshots of UBMD Emergency Medicine's 2021 Unsung Heroes.

Headshots of UBMD Emergency Medicine 2021 Unsung Heroes

Published December 14, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has named seven UBMD Emergency Medicine physicians as 2021 New York ACEP Unsung Heroes for their dedicated clinical care.

“The past year has been incredibly challenging for emergency departments throughout the country due to COVID-19, and each of these award winners represent the very best in emergency medicine. ”
Professor and Chair of UBMD Emergency Medicine

As an unsung hero, this award recognizes those physicians who go “beyond simply being the embodiment of what it means to be an emergency physician,” according to the NY ACEP announcement. Those recognized are “deeply committed to the mission of the emergency department, their colleagues, co-worker and patients. The unsung hero is always willing to help a colleague – within the clinical environment or not. They are the trusted individual who is known to bring comfort and a smile to the faces of all those around.”

Awardees were nominated to the ACEP by their respective Emergency Department directors for consideration. UBMD Emergency Medicine physicians had more physicians recognized than any other hospital system or medical group in New York.

This year’s awardees are:

  • Scott Belote, MD
  • Samantha Bordonaro, MD
  • Jennifer Caldwell, DO
  • Andrew J. Eckert, MD
  • Christopher Schwarz, MD
  • Mark Sieminski, MD
  • Kyle Westerholt, MD

In addition to providing care throughout Western New York, these physicians are faculty members at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, teaching medical students and residents and researching to improve emergency care.

“The past year has been incredibly challenging for emergency departments throughout the country due to COVID-19, and each of these award winners represent the very best in emergency medicine,” said Robert McCormack MD, MBA, president of UBMD Emergency Medicine and professor and chair of Emergency Medicine at the Jacobs School.

The following includes more information on the 2021 Unsung Heroes, including excerpts from their nominations.


Scott Belote, MD
Assistant Clinical Professor, Jacobs School
Wyoming County Community Hospital

Dr. Belote has worked for many years in the field of emergency medicine throughout Western New York. He is currently employed with UBMD Emergency Medicine. Scott is an excellent physician who always stays up-to-date on current medical practice and consistently works on improving his practice despite being an experienced veteran in the field. He has worked administratively for the group in the past and currently is in charge of all physician scheduling for the UBMDEM Community Division, which is close to 40 physicians. I have not met a person in the group that does not commend Scott for doing an excellent job with both patient care and scheduling for this dynamic group, which is one of those complex tasks that often times goes unnoticed and unrecognized but would be lost without.


Samantha Bordonaro, MD 
Assistant Clinical Professor, Jacobs School
VA Medical Center, Buffalo

As the Medical Student Clerkship Director for the University at Buffalo’s Department of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Bordonaro is responsible for educating and guiding the next generation of emergency medicine physicians. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, local hospitals were suddenly forced to pause medical student rotations. Her reassuring manner helped concerned medical students adjust to the unexpected changes in their curriculum. She quickly developed high-quality, distance-learning opportunities. As conditions improved, she worked to return students, safely and efficiently, back into the local emergency departments. In recognition of her outstanding support of medical student education, she was awarded the Louis A. and Ruth Siegel Awards for Excellence in Teaching. This award is especially meaningful because it is bestowed by a committee of medical school students.


Jennifer Caldwell, DO 
Assistant Clinical Professor, Jacobs School
Erie County Medical Center

Dr. Jennifer Caldwell has quickly established herself as a leader in our Emergency Medicine Residency program and currently serves as an Associate Program Director. She has helped to develop innovative educational programs in simulation and ultrasound that have benefited both the residency and the department as a whole. Dr. Caldwell’s positive “get it done” attitude permeates throughout the emergency department during even the most challenging of circumstances. Her outstanding clinical care, in addition to teaching and willingness to step up in any situation, makes her an exceptional role model for our resident physicians.


Andrew J. Eckert, MD 
Assistant Clinical Professor, Jacobs School
Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital

Andrew loves coming to work for every shift and he shows it. He always shows up to work with a smile despite an over-crowded ER facing him. Andy has excellent bed side manners and his patients often express their happiness with his care and demeanor. His clinical skills are excellent and his is eager to care for the sickest of patients to help them through the health challenges they face. Dr. Eckert puts the patient first and always advocates for those he cares for. Throughout the pandemic, Andrew has been an excellent and supportive colleague to work with. Western New York is lucky to have such a nice, empathetic and talented young physician caring for the population. He has a long, bright and prosperous future, and I am glad to say that Andy Eckert is my friend and partner.


Christopher Schwarz, MD 
Assistant Clinical Professor, Jacobs School
Eastern Niagara Hospital

Dr. Christopher Schwarz is a dedicated emergency medicine physician with a bright future. Dr. Schwarz is an advocate for everyone in the department: physicians along with nursing staff, support staff and our EMS partners. His willingness to help in whatever way possible, along with his easy-going manner, is greatly appreciated by colleagues and patients alike. He is approachable and naturally puts others at ease, helping to foster stronger relationships among everyone who works in the ED. His demeanor keeps the department calm even during the most chaotic of times. As one of our department’s primary night docs, Dr. Schwarz has formed a bond with the night staff, who truly see him as a friend in addition to a leader of the department.


Mark Sieminski, MD 
Assistant Clinical Professor, Jacobs School
Buffalo General Medical Center

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges to the health care system. Dr. Mark Sieminski has provided invaluable leadership in response to these challenges as the Associate Emergency Department Director at the Buffalo General Medical Center in Western New York. In an effort to mitigate emergency department overcrowding, Dr. Sieminski led initiatives such as the Provider-in-Triage programs, ensuring patients are seen quickly and efficiently during times of increased demand. He is always willing to advocate for the patients, nurse staffing and hospital flow. He is an excellent bedside teacher for the residents and medical students because he leads by example and engages in every aspect of a patient’s care.


Kyle Westerholt, MD 
Assistant Clinical Professor, Jacobs School
DeGraff Memorial

Dr. Kyle Westerholt is one of those emergency physicians you always hope is on the schedule with you. Even in the beginning of his residency, he was quickly known as someone who is always there to help his peers out, provide a quick joke and a laugh, share stories of his interesting travels, and be a shoulder to lean on. He is adored amongst the nursing staff, environmental service workers, patient care assistance and everyone in the department who he goes out of his way to get to know. He’s often found going out of his way to help patients and his own colleagues. Dr. Westerholt is the physician that you call when your family member needs help and you need someone you can trust to care for them.

About UBMD Emergency Medicine

UBMD Emergency Medicine provides emergency medical care to patients across Western New York. All physicians are certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. Our team also consists of nurse practitioners and physician assistants. UBMD Emergency Medicine is part of UBMD Physicians’ Group, the largest medical group in Western New York with more than 550 physicians in 18 medical practices, treating patients, conducting research on top medical needs, providing research-guided care, and teaching the next generation of doctors. UBMD is the clinical practice plan of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo. Our team treats patients at Erie County Medical Center and hosptals throughout the Kaleida Health System.