The Huntington athletic fields were only the beginning for Dr. James Paci. “I was initially drawn to a career in medicine through my exposure to the team physicians at Huntington High School. As a child spending many days on the Huntington football sidelines, I noticed there were always three people who were seen as the leaders on game day. Everyone listened when they spoke; the athletic director, the head football coach, and the team physician.”
After graduating from Huntington High School in 1995 with top academic honors and as a three-sport captain, Dr. Paci received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and was a member of the varsity football team. He continued his education at the Chicago Medical School. He received his medical degree and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, where he was Chief Resident from 2008-2009.
Today, Dr. Paci is the Director of Orthopedic Surgery at Orlin and Cohen Orthopedic Group and Sports Medicine for Suffolk County and is an Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. He is a board-certified sports medicine orthopaedic surgeon specializing in the care of athletes and disorders of the shoulder, elbow and knee. Dr. Paci is the head team physician and medical director for the New York Riptide, NLL professional lacrosse team, and Farmingdale State College, and an orthopaedic consultant for many high schools on Long Island, including Huntington High School.
“My career allows me to combine many of the things I enjoy most. I have been able to stay involved in sports at all levels. It also allows me to teach, conduct research and collaborate with others to come up with creative solutions to help patients achieve improved outcomes,” remarked Dr. Paci. “Above all else, my career allows me to help those in our community return to doing the things they love. There is nothing better than that.”
Prior to joining Orlin and Cohen, Dr. Paci was a member of Stony Brook Orthopaedic Associates and an Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics within the Stony Brook University School of Medicine. During that time, Dr. Paci was a team orthopaedic physician for the Stony Brook University Seawolves. He has also served as a team physician for the New York Lizards (MLL), Long Island University, Dowling College and Suffolk County Community College and as an orthopedic consultant for the Premier Lacrosse League.
Dr. Paci completed an orthopaedic sports medicine fellowship at the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI) in Birmingham, Alabama, where he received the 2009-2010 award for excellence in clinical research. In Birmingham, Dr. Paci was the team physician for Huntingdon College and assisted with the care of athletes from the University of Alabama, Auburn University, and the Washington Redskins football team.
Dr. Paci currently performs clinical and biomechanical research at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research at Northwell Health. He holds national and international patents and has introduced multiple surgical innovations worldwide. He was recently recognized in 2021 and 2022 with the prestigious Castle Connelly’s Top Doctor Award.
When asked about being this year’s HFEE community honoree, Dr. Paci stated, “I am humbled and honored to be this year’s HFEE honoree. The HFEE organization sets the bar for giving back and supporting the educational mission of the Huntington School District. Being a class of 1995 graduate, I cherish the education I received in the Huntington Schools, which set the course of my academic and athletic careers. The lessons learned inside the classroom, hallways, locker rooms, gymnasium, and athletic fields have been invaluable throughout my career and life. HFEE has given the educators in Huntington an incredible level of support to be creative and expand the learning opportunities for Huntington’s students.”
On behalf of HFEE, we thank Dr. Paci for his time, compassionate care, and dedication to the Huntington community and school district.