Salerno Medical Associates: A Family Legacy of Care

Salerno Medical Associates: A Family Legacy of Care


613 Park Avenue in East Orange is the
office of Salerno Medical Associates. It may seem like just another building on
this wide urban street, but it’s a building rich in history. A symbol of one family’s
dedication to the community they have chosen to support for nearly a century.
“You’re looking at a 19th century building that houses a 21st century
practice. My father purchased the building, Alfonse Salerno, in the early 1950’s as his first home office. It was also the home for my grandparents. And, in fact, my grandmother was to face that greeted patients for many years as they
came through the doors. My father continued to maintain his
presence here for 59 years. My mother’s also a physician, she continues to
practice part time, she was one of the first female physicians in Newark. So
it’s more than just an office, it’s more than just brick and mortars. It’s about
history, it’s about tradition, it’s about our family taking care of your family.” Salerno Medical Associates became a
leader and advocate for the health and well-being of the increasingly urban
community of East Orange and surrounding areas. “During the sixties, during the race
riots, when Newark was burning and on fire, many businesses, many doctors chose to lead the area, never to come back. But my mother and father stayed during the riots, and more importantly, after the riots to be part
of the healing and rebuilding of the city and its people.” In the 1970’s a new generation was born who chose to carry on the family business
into the 21st century. “Growing up as an only child, I used to go with my parents
on hospital rounds, house calls to both of their offices, and just see how to
interacted with people. It’s something you don’t learn from a textbook, it’s
something you just inherently see and develop and that was what was instilled in me.
And so to me, it’s about compassion to the patient, it’s about commitment and
sacrifice that I saw my parents do every day of my life, not because they had to but because they
want to.” Dr. Alexander Salerno, a former United
States Air Force captain, chose to not only establishes practice here, but to
take it to the next level, to meet the evolving needs of the community it
serves. “When I joined my mom’s practice, and then eventually incorporated my
dad’s practice, we formed Salerno Medical Associates in 2001. Initially, it was a
primary care practice, but looking at changing community needs, we gradually
expanded on the services and today it’s a one-stop shop. You can see a cardiologist, a pulmonologist, a gastroenterologist, a podiatrist, women’s health, preventative
care, chronic care. It has over 50 employees, it operates six days a week,
it serves over 10,000 active patients.” In addition to expanding services, Dr.
Salerno has also kept some long-held traditions intact, including Salerno
Medical Associates house call program, which is one of the longest running
programs of its kind in the area. Now called CHOP or Community Health Care
Outreach Program, its services not only homebound seniors but also has expanded to address the needs of those with mental health issues. In 2010, Dr. Salerno launched the Urban Healthcare Initiative Program, or UHIP, to
address the growing disparity in healthcare outcomes in the urban
community through education outreach programs. He and his team reach out to the
community through local churches, community centers, even barbershops. “I
looked at Salerno Medical Associates to really take it to the next level, not be
a follower but be a leader. In the old days, medicine was focused on treating
problems, today medicine is about preventing problems. So we shifted the
paradigm from reactive medicine to proactive medicine. As my dad used to
say, a pound of prevention is better than a ton of treatment.” The building underwent major renovations between 2005 and 2007, building on the legacy of his family’s
vision. “You know, when you walk in through that door, you’re not in your typical
medical, sterile, medical office. I want it to be inviting, I want it to be
comfortable, I want it to be welcoming, because it’s stressful enough to go to a
doctor’s office. So my concept is I want it to be a home.” Salerno Medical
Associates has received numerous accolades over the years including being
recognized by United Healthcare as a top healthcare metrics provider and earned the highest ranking for stellar care in a Horizon piloted patient-centered medical
home program. But the real testament to the practice is the people. Generations of families have made
Salerno Medical Associates their primary care provide. “I’ve been coming here for 36 years. Three generations of my family has come
here. And I keep coming because his concern is his patients. And I wouldn’t go
anyplace else.” “It’s an honor to be trusted to take care of the lives of people. At
the end of the day, I want SMA to be a continuation of what my mother and
father started. Where it’s still about passion, about holding a patient’s hand,
about listening, about talking and about connecting with the community.”

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