Thursday, April 16, 2009

Doctor Practices Steps For Dancing Contest


By Guy D’Astolfo

Call her the dancing doctor.

Dr. Elena Rossi, a neonatolgist, is the chairwoman of pediatrics at St. Elizabeth Health Center and associate chairwoman of pediatrics at Akron [Ohio] Children’s Hospital-Mahoning Valley.

She’s also putting on a clinic as a ballroom dancer in an ongoing show sponsored by Cleveland television station WEWS-Channel 5.

“Cleveland’s Dancing With the Stars” is headed into its fifth round of competition, and Dr. Rossi and her professional dance partner, Raymond Cedeno of Fred Astaire Studio in Willoughby, have survived.

The show is not affiliated with the popular TV series “Dancing With the Stars,” but it is modeled after it. The show started with 11 couples, each one a pairing of a local celebrity — like Dr. Rossi — with a local professional dancer. One couple is eliminated each week in online voting (

Each round is held at a different location in the Cleveland area.

Dr. Rossi is a Youngstown native who now lives in Boardman. She was asked to represent Akron Children’s Hospital as a celebrity in the competition and jumped at the chance.

She is not only the only Mahoning Valley resident on the show, but — as a 50-something — she’s also the oldest participant.

Some of the other celebrities include former Cleveland Browns player Al “Bubba” Baker (eliminated in Week 2); Elizabeth Kucinich, wife of U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (eliminated in Week 4); Cleveland Indians mascot Slider (still in it); and a host of Cleveland-area TV, radio and political personalities.

Dr. Rossi and her husband became interested in ballroom dancing a few years ago and regularly go to dances. She’s also a fan of “Dancing With the Stars.”

“It’s a fun thing to do,” she said of the Cleveland competition. “The nurses are behind me. ...They have signs up in the hospital that say ‘vote for Dr. Rossi.’

“It’s a light-hearted thing,” she continued. “We deal with life and death every day. This is kind of fun.”

In addition to her work at St. Elizabeth’s and Akron Children’s, Dr. Rossi is an associated professor of clinical pediatrics at North East Ohio Universities College of Medicine.

She is also an ambassador for March of Dimes and vice president of the Touched by Nathan Foundation.

She and her husband, Donald Somers, have two children, Donald and Allyson, both in college.

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