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One Family, Four Generations of Care

If you ask a young child what they want to be when they grow up, it’s not unusual for the response be the same career as one of their parents. It’s less often that dream comes to fruition.

Again.

And again.

And again.

Starting with his great-grandfather, Dr. Andrew Ditto is a fourth generation Meritus Health (formerly Washington County Hospital) family physician.

“I knew from an early age what I wanted to do,” Ditto said, as he sat in an empty classroom used by the Meritus Family Medicine Residency Program.

Ditto’s father, Allen Ditto retired in 2019. His retirement meant that a 97-year-long run of medical care by the Ditto family came to an end.

Until now.The Doctors Ditto

After graduating from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 2009, Andrew Ditto went to UNC Chapel Hill for residency. Afterward, he forged a path different than his father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

Ditto began his career in the summer of 2012, in Arizona with the Indian Health Service. However, it was the impact that his experience in residency had on him that influenced his next career move.

“Residency was probably the best three years of my life; it’s really where you learn to become a doctor,” Ditto said.

The residency program at Meritus drew him back to the area. With his move back home, the decades-long care by Dr. Dittos in Hagerstown began again.

Ditto began at Meritus in January 2022. Hired as a teaching doctor, he splits his time between the residency program and Meritus Family Medicine Robinwood.

In his role with the residency program he supervises resident physicians when they are seeing patients at the hospital.

“Being part of a long-line of family doctors, it’s a tradition that I’m proud of,” he said. “My dad cared for so many people in this community. He truly gave his heart and soul for so many people, and I’m really proud of him.”

As a teaching doctor, Ditto’s impact reaches not only his own patients, but the patients of his students.

Currently, the Meritus Family Medicine Residency Program has 17 resident physicians. This June, the inaugural class will graduate.

Family medicine residents have the opportunity to receive instruction from dedicated faculty as well as a wide diversity of medical specialists.

“This program is designed to open doors and recruit new doctors who will, hopefully, stay in the area,” Ditto said.

The father of two children, ages 2 and 4, Ditto said when it comes to the career aspirations of his children, their answers vary depending on the day – something expected at that age.

So, will there be a fifth generation of Dr. Dittos in Hagerstown?

Only time will tell.

Read more about the Meritus Family Medicine Residency Program: https://bit.ly/35LaoaC