Dr. Giuseppe Palermo: Central Florida Humanitarian
By Central Florida Humanitarians // October 28, 2014
ABOVE VIDEO: From the very outset of Dr. Giuseppe Palermo’s practice in our community, he distinguished himself as a physician whose focus was on finding therapeutic solutions for his patients regardless of their ability to pay.
“Any time we had a patient referred to him that had no insurance it did not matter to Dr. Palermo, he always treated them.”
In 1993, after spending six years in New York completing his internal medicine residency and hematology/oncology fellowship, Dr. Giuseppe Palermo was weary of the impersonal nature of the people of the Big Apple and homesick for the warmth and friendliness of the people of his hometown, Gibellina, a small town in the mountains of central Sicily.
He had family in both Brevard County and the Miami area, and was in a quandary as to where to settle and set up practice.
He attributes his decision to settle here in Brevard County to an encounter with a Rockledge K-Mart employee during a trip to the Space Coast to visit his cousin, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tony Lombardo.
Dr. Palermo relates that, after living in New York City, it was a “culture shock” to walk into a store where he was greeted with graciousness and genuine affability.
Initially thinking that he was being “taken for a ride,” he soon found that his K-Mart experience was not a fluke, and that our community offered the genial, engaging attitude of his homeland for which he and his family were looking.
Another very strong draw for Dr. Palermo to make his home here was the opportunity to work with Dr. Edward Knight, one of the Space Coast’s oncology pioneers.
From the very outset of Dr. Palermo’s practice in our community, he distinguished himself as a physician whose focus was on finding therapeutic solutions for his patients regardless of their ability to pay.
Rapidly integrating himself into the medical community, making himself available as a speaker at both educational and fundraising events, and donating his band, “The Doctors,” to provide music at multiple events, it became evident that his heart was every bit as big as his Sicilian smile.
After working with Dr. Knight and then later Dr. Isaac Esseessee, one of his professorial mentors from New York, through 2008, he joined Cancer Care Centers of Brevard, which was founded by another Central Florida Humanitarian, Dr. Silas Charles.
Marta Fiol, the Marketing Manager at Cancer Care Centers of Brevard, said, “I met Dr. Palermo when he came to Brevard in the early 90’s when he joined Dr. Knight. Any time we had a patient referred to him that had no insurance it did not matter to Dr. Palermo, he always treated them. This went on for years and is still true today.”
WORKS TIRELESSLY TO ENSURE FUNDING FOR PATIENTS IN NEED
Dr. Palermo’s inspiration is his patients and his motivation is to be able to do more for cancer victims, whom he says, “are facing a terrible disease that challenges not just survival, but sometimes even more devastatingly, quality of life.”
“He works tirelessly through his practice and the Cancer Care Center Foundation to ensure funding and support for the management of individual patients in need,” said Fiol.
“He is not a high profile fund raiser and is humble to a fault, but works diligently behind the scenes to find ways and resources to minimize the cost of state-of-the-art therapeutic modalities for patients who are uninsured or under-insured and can not afford the frequently very expensive treatments.”
Through his work with drug companies and the Foundation, Palermo provides hope for patients and their families, and is committed to minimizing the need for patients to travel away from home for the latest and most effective cancer treatment.
Of the many needy patients that have benefited from Dr. Palermo’s efforts to provide prohibitively expensive treatment, Fiol says, “Patients claim they are still alive, against all odds, because of Dr. Palermo. He has a way of providing for patients that is unique because of his compassion for them and passion to find a way to procure the most effective therapeutic solution.”
Dr. Palermo also loves to teach. Although time is always a challenge in a busy oncology practice, he has frequently carved out the time to teach healthcare students.
His students range from pre-med students from Florida Tech who shadow him, to third and fourth-year medical students from various med schools, to whom he introduces the art of interviewing, examining and counseling cancer patients and their families.
It’s evident that his teaching philosophy is perfectly aligned with his life’s work when he says, “It is critical for our young colleagues to develop empathy, focus on improving their communication skills, especially the ability to listen, and understand that as physicians our highest priority is to first and foremost understand and meet the needs of our patients.”
ABOUT THE 2014 CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN AWARDS
The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards were created to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that dedicate their Time, Talent or Treasure to help people in need locally – and around the world.
This year, more than 30 deserving humanitarians will be honored during the Gala, which will be held Thursday, Nov. 6 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, with the festivities beginning at 6 p.m.
“Over the years, our editorial team has had the distinct honor and pleasure of identifying and featuring the many members of our community who give back so much and are dedicated to reaching out and helping others, here and throughout the world, in a multitude of ways,” said Maverick Multimedia Editor-In-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo.
“We remain firmly committed to identifying and telling those stories and providing a timely media platform to recognize Space Coast and Central Florida residents’ altruistic contributions on a regular basis in our magazines, as well as SpaceCoastDaily.com,” said Dr. Palermo.
This inspiring and compelling event is sponsored by M.H. Williams Construction, Brighthouse Networks, Health First, Brevard Physicians Network, Clear Choice Health Care, First Choice Medical Group, Knudson Brain & Spine Law Injury Office, Florida Pain Institute, Sangiv Patel, DDS, PA, Brevard Geriatrics, Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine and SpaceCoastDaily.com
BELOW MAP: The 2014 Central Florida Humanitarian Awards will take place Thursday, Nov. 6, 2014 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, located at 200 Rialto Place in Melbourne, Florida.