In the Salvatore family, dentistry runs deep.
Dr. Richard Salvatore Jr.’s grandfather was a dentist. So too was his aunt and his uncle. His other aunt was a dental hygienist. And his father, also a dentist, is Dr. Salvatore’s partner in his Malta practice.
But when Dr. Salvatore was a young man, he wasn’t so sure he wanted to be like everyone else in his family – until he enrolled in the WSWHE BOCES New Visions Health program.
The one-year program, as taught by Lisa Hart, BSMT, MSEd, opened his eyes up to all the possibilities in the medical world.
“I was always interested in medicine,” said Dr. Salvatore, relaxing on the comfy leather couch in his office lobby. “But I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go in.”
New Visions Health convinced him that dentistry was his passion too.
“I helped me because I got to experience everything in medicine,” said Dr. Salvatore. “We spent time in the OR and the ER (at Saratoga Hospital). I saw surgery. I spent time exploring veterinary medicine and dentistry. I had a lot of one-to-one time with different physicians. Speaking with them helped convince me that dentistry is what I should be doing.”
The class, offered in Wesley Health Center in Saratoga Springs, arranged for high school seniors to work directly with patients at the long-term care facility. Dr. Salvatore, then a student from Ballston Spa High School, thrived on the direct hands-on experience.
“It was also a resume builder, helping me to get into college,” said the dentist who attended Northeastern University in Boston and then the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. “When I got to college, I had already taken anatomy and physiology. So it helped me that way too.”
Not surprisingly, Dr. Salvatore, who now also practices with his wife, Dr. Vera Salvatore, would recommend New Visions Health to any student considering a career in medicine. Both, along with Dr. Salvatore’s father, Dr. Salvatore Sr., are mentoring New Visions students. Needless to say, Dr. Salvatore Sr. is thrilled that his son joined him in the family practice.
“I’m very proud of him, very, very proud,” said his dad.
So too is Mrs. Hart who still sees Dr. Salvatore after all these years.
“She’s a patient,” said the dentist, flashing his wide and bright dentist smile.