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Our New Podiatrist: Dr. Harry Cotler

By Kelley Lane for Seward City News –

Dr. Harry Cotler, of Soldotna, will be serving our Seward Community on a recurring basis with his podiatry clinic operated out of Providence Hospital every 4-6 weeks. He plans to be back in Seward the last week in January, likely Wednesday, January 25th. Dr Cotler was in Seward Wednesday of this week, which provided an opportunity to talk in person about his ties to Alaska, his medical training and his love of Seward and the Kenai Peninsula.

Harry Cotler began his medical career in Miami, Florida, where he practiced out of downtown and lived in nearby Fort Lauderdale. Damages caused by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 caused him to close his office and reevaluate where he wanted to rebuild his life and practice. He was looking for somewhere with License reciprocity and settled on Alaska, as a place of opportunity.

Just five weeks later, he was on the road, headed northwest, crossing the United States and taking the Alaska Marine Highway out of Bellingham, Washington. He had never been to Alaska before, but was eager for the adventure and the beauty that awaited him. As fortune would have it, he ended up spending a month in Anchorage, staying with family friends, researching and seeking a place to settle. Cotler had grown up on a farm in New Jersey, enjoyed being around livestock and having space to be outside. He was encouraged to explore the Kenai Peninsula for its natural beauty and spaciousness. “All it took was that one drive between Anchorage and Soldotna,” explained Dr. Cotler. The natural beauty – the mountains, the drive along Cook Inlet, the striking Kenai River. All of these convinced him that Soldotna was the place to start a new life. By October 1st of 1993, he had settled in Soldotna and by November had opened a private practice along the highway.

Dr Cotler began serving Seward more than a decade ago, by providing care to Elders at Wesley Nursing Home, the predecessor to Providence Mountain Haven. He is grateful to once again have the opportunity to serve the Seward community, as he loves being around the beauty of Resurrection Bay and the town itself. “I will see everybody from pediatrics to geriatrics” and I have a “conservative approach” said Dr. Cotler, meaning that he seeks all other treatments prior to recommending surgery. He’s been practicing since 1987 and has been an Alaskan for more than 23 years.

Dr Cotler lives in Soldotna with his wife of fifteen years, Lisa, their teenage athlete son, Seth and their two golden doodle dogs. The family loves being outside, and being part of their Soldotna Community. Lisa loves the arts and practices in the forms of sewing and painting. Seth participates in the high school sports of hockey, soccer and track. Says Dr Cotler “We have the ability and the luxury to have the beauty of Alaska every day, while others spend thousands for that opportunity once in their lifetime.”

Dr. Cotler can be reached through his website: and at 907.260.FOOT (3668) to schedule an appointment for his next Seward Clinic day, which will likely be held on Wednesday, January 25th.

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