The Premier 2024: NFMMC Celebrates a Century of Excellence in the Spirit of the Roaring ’20s!

October 23, 2023

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — For a milestone 20th year, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC) is set to host its annual black-tie event, The Premier, on January 20, 2024, at the Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino. Echoing the spirit of the Roaring 20s, this year’s “Gala of the Century” theme commemorates NFMMC’s 100 years of unwavering service.

As the evening promises to be a mix of nostalgia and aspiration, its purpose goes beyond mere celebration. This year’s event proceeds support Memorial’s Women’s Health Services, which aims to improve healthcare, promote economic growth, and optimize medical spending in the Niagara region.

Every year, The Premier also honors individuals who have made a lasting impact and continue to make a difference in the Niagara community. The event’s 2024 honorees include:

Rev. James J. Maher, C.M: Father Maher, the esteemed 26th president of Niagara University, has been chosen to receive the distinguished Nancy Gara Spirit Award. This award honors the late Nancy Gara, a respected banking executive and former board member of NFMMC widely admired for her enduring optimism and steadfast commitment to community service.

Since taking on the leadership role at Niagara University in 2013, Father Maher has been instrumental in spearheading various transformative initiatives for the betterment of Niagara Falls. In addition to his responsibilities as president, he serves as a trustee at DePaul University and is an active member of its Academic Affairs Committee. His commitment to fairness in labor and education is evident from his roles in the University and Collegiate Executive Committee of the Fair Labor Association and his significant contributions to the Global Alliance for Workers and Community. He also fulfills responsibilities as a provincial consulter for the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission.

Zubair Shaikh, MD FACP: Dr. Shaikh is the director of the hospitalist program at NFMMC and an essential part of NFMMC’s medical team. Dr. Shaikh is a graduate of B.J. Medical College at the University of Pune, India, and holds a master’s in Exercise and Movement Science from the University of Oregon. His distinguished post-graduate experiences encompass roles at revered institutions, including Good Samaritan Hospital, which is affiliated with Johns Hopkins University. A former assistant professor at the Medical University of the Americas (Nevis, St. Kitts & Nevis, West Indies), where he was a two-time winner of the Outstanding Professor Award, Dr. Shaikh is board-certified in Internal Medicine and a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.

Alicia Scott, DNP, NP-C: A key member of NFMMC’s hospitalist medical team since 2006, Dr. Scott has made significant impacts in areas that include the Cath Lab and Stroke Center. Beyond her clinical contributions, she’s a dedicated community health educator, often addressing local health fairs and community gatherings about stroke awareness and prevention. Dr. Scott earned her Doctorate in Nursing Practice from Daemen College and possesses a prestigious certification from the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Co-chairing the 2024 event are Brian and Karen Oakley of Lewiston, NY.

Maryalice Demler, television journalist and news anchor for WGRZ, once again returns to emcee the event, with The Downtown Band serving as the headline entertainment for the evening. Lauded as the “Best Live Band in Tennessee” and ranking among the top U.S. party bands, The Downtown Band’s résumé includes performances for royalty and legends, including the Prince and Princess of Monaco, and sharing the stage with legends Elton John and Sting.

Due to the event’s overwhelming popularity, Premier 2024 tickets are expected to go quickly. For ticketing, sponsorship, and donation inquiries, contact 716-278-4605 or email Sean.Dwyer@nfmmc.org<mailto:Sean.Dwyer@nfmmc.org>.


Founded in 1895, Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center (NFMMC) has a long tradition of serving the Niagara community. NFMMC’s hospital and primary stroke program are accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Health Care, and its primary care network is accredited by the National Committee for Quality Assurance. Memorial’s inpatient services include a cardiac/stroke unit, a medical–surgical unit, an ICU, a Labor and Delivery unit, and an Adult Inpatient Psychiatry unit, the only one of its kind in Niagara County. Memorial serves as a Center for Community Health by operating five primary care centers, a large outpatient adult mental health clinic, a Health Home, and several innovative community-based services.   Thanks to a partnership with Catholic Health, Kaleida Health, and Erie County Medical Center, NFMMC operates the only cardiac catheterization laboratory in Niagara County. Memorial is also home to the Golisano Medical Oncology Center, which operates in collaboration with Roswell Park Comprehensive Care Center.

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