Edward L. Salerno, MD, FCCP, a nationally recognized, board-certified pulmonologist and critical-care specialist, has joined Northern Regional Hospital to provide medical leadership for the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and all pulmonary programs – including the Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, a planned outpatient Pulmonary Care Clinic, and an expanded Sleep Medicine program. Dr. Salerno’s comprehensive experience includes more than 15 years of pulmonary/critical-care medicine in a variety of clinical settings, including Hartford Hospital, a major teaching hospital in Hartford, Connecticut; and, more recently, Millennium Physicians, an independent physicians’ group in Naples, Florida.
“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Salerno to our medical staff,” said Chris A. Lumsden, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer of Northern Regional Hospital, in announcing the appointment. “His extensive knowledge and experience in pulmonary and critical-care medicine will permit us to further enhance and expand our patient-care capabilities in those areas; as well as treat and more efficiently transition respiratory-distressed patients as we, along with all hospitals across the nation, continue to see significant surges in patient volume due to the current COVID pandemic.
“We look forward to working with Dr. Salerno as we continue to achieve our mission priority of providing access to high-quality care for all patients,” added Lumsden.
Dr. Salerno is eager to join his colleagues at Northern Regional Hospital. “During my recent visit, I was immediately impressed with the sense of community and camaraderie among the hospital staff – all of whom help one another so that patients get the best possible care,” he said. “I’m also excited about the hospital leadership’s vision for expanding its pulmonary programs and services, including the use of advanced testing to measure airway inflammation and exploring the need for an in-house sleep program to further address the epidemic of sleep apnea.”
Having treated scores of patients with COVID and respiratory-related complications from COVID, Dr. Salerno is adamant about the need for people to follow the CDC-recommended guidelines for protecting themselves and others – which include wearing face masks, maintaining social distancing, self-quarantining as appropriate, and getting vaccinated. “We need to work together to confront this pandemic,” he says. “When it comes to the vaccine, I try and educate patients on the science of it – so they understand and trust that it is safe and effective. I will get it.”
Dr. Salerno began his higher-education journey at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York – where he graduated cum laude in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy. “As an undergrad, I was pre-med and, when I had to pick a major, everyone else chose biology or chemistry, but I wanted something that would really interest me, which was philosophy,” says Salerno. “I’ve since learned that having that background has helped me in one aspect of my work – which is helping families deal with very difficult end-of-life decisions that oftentimes arise in the ICU. In an intensive-care environment, it’s especially important for physicians to remember they have two patients: one, in the bed; the other, family members sitting beside the bed who need guidance and support.”
On the heels of his undergraduate studies, Salerno enrolled in medical school at St. George’s University School of Medicine, in Granada, West Indies. “It was a great experience. The program required students to use their newly-acquired clinical skills to reason and think through a problem, rather than rely on computers and databases,” said Salerno. “It also opened my eyes to the dramatic differences between American and third-world medical care. Here, we’re privileged and have everything such as CAT scans, MRIs, etc. There, patients who were admitted had to bring their own bed sheets, and their families have to wash and care for them.”
Following his graduation from medical school in 2000, the newly minted doctor returned to the States to pursue advanced medical training at Hartford Hospital and other healthcare facilities affiliated with the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. After completing an internship and three-year residency program in internal medicine, he served as Chief Medical Resident at the 938-bed acute-care Hartford Hospital. He then completed a rigorous three-year fellowship program in pulmonary/critical-care medicine at the University of Connecticut Health Center. “I appreciate pulmonary as a medical specialty because you need to incorporate more than one organ or one system into the equation when treating patients with pulmonary conditions or patients who are critically ill,” explains Dr. Salerno.
For Dr. Salerno, pulmonary hypertension (PH) has always been an area of special interest, from both a clinical and research perspective. “When I began my fellowship program, PH was considered a young field of therapeutics. In 1996, we had one or two drugs to treat pulmonary hypertension; now we have 15,” he explains. “During those early days, the medical community worked together to manage patients and help determine new ways to treat the disease. Those focused efforts proved fruitful and helped change the lives of PH patients – whose life expectancy after diagnosis has increased from six months to more than 20 years.”
Dr. Salerno’s approach to treating his patients is to follow the “First, do no harm” principle while always maintaining a focus on patient safety. “I always strive to do the right thing by my patient using evidence-based medicine, and to always be honest with them about their options,” he says. “I make sure I treat patients with kindness and that patients feel they can trust me; and that, no matter what, I will have their back.”
Dr. Salerno is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine, Critical Care Medicine, and Sleep Medicine, and is a Fellow in the American College of Chest Physicians. He also holds membership in several other professional organizations and societies, including the American Thoracic Society and the Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Association. Dr. Salerno has earned many honors and awards (including the Aldo Bellucci Excellence in Teaching Award and the Maxwell O Phelps Award for Scholarship); and he is a contributor to numerous research studies, abstracts and retrospectives, many of which have been published in peer-reviewed academic journals.
Raised in New York’s Manhattan, Dr. Salerno’s path to becoming a physician was initiated, in part, by carefully observing the activities of his father, a family physician. Although he had a brief flirtation with becoming a musician with Broadway shows (as a teen, he played drums and percussion with a rhythm-&-blues band), the young man’s focus quickly returned to medicine when he entered college. Nowadays, Dr. Salerno has taken up the study of the saxophone and finds himself listening to lots of jazz, as well as all other forms of music. In fact, he is affectionately called a “Renaissance man” by those who know of his tripartite fondness for medicine, music and philosophy!
Dr. Salerno and his wife, Mary, a former corporate executive who has transitioned into real estate, are enthusiastic about becoming part of the extended Mount Airy community. As part of their combined family, the Salernos frequently enjoy the company of two daughters (Erin and Kristen); a son Eddie, and two young grandchildren – five-year-old Benjamin and 16-month-old Landry.
Dr. Edward Salerno will serve patients at the Northern Cardiology office located at 708 S. South Street in Mount Airy. For more information about making an appointment with Dr. Salerno, call 336-783-8998.
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