The Contribution of Vincenzo Sellaro to Italian Americans Recalled at the Senate of the Republic

Among the contributions to improving the condition and reputation of Italians in America, not yet well remembered, is that of the Sicilian doctor Vincenzo Sellaro, co-founder of the first Italian hospital in America and of the Order of the Sons of Italy in America, now called the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America.

The figure of the Sicilian doctor, native of Polizzi Generosa, was recalled by TWS President Carmelo Cutuli, who was the founder and first president of the Rome Chapter of the OSDIA, at the Senate of the Republic during the press conference "Italian Americans Today. Over 100 Years of Friendship Between Italy and the United States", held on the occasion of the visit to Italy of the American leaders of the organization.

As recalled by past president Cutuli, "Dr. Vincenzo Sellaro was born in the second half of the 19th century in Polizzi Generosa, in the province of Palermo and, visibly endowed with great intelligence, he was encouraged by his family to continue his studies, culminating in a degree in medicine from the University of Naples. Immediately after graduating, Sellaro emigrated to the United States, settling in New York, where he completed courses of specialization at the Cornell Medical School thus obtaining a license to practice medicine in New York State, where he opened a private practice at 203 Grand Street in Manhattan's Little Italy."

He added: “It was here that Sellaro treated hundreds of Italian immigrants, often poorly assisted in city hospitals due to the language barrier between patients and medical and nursing staff. To remedy this serious inconvenience, Sellaro led a committee of bilingual doctors. One of the solutions he identified to overcome this drawback was to establish a hospital where Italian was spoken. Funds were raised, especially from Italian-American mutual aid societies in New York, and the Columbus Italian Hospital was built, completed in 1902, with Sellaro as head of gynecology. Subsequently, Sellaro joined the American Medical Association, where he conducted medical research, in addition to founding a school for midwives under the auspices of the New York Health Council."

Cutuli emphasized that "in 1904, Sellaro conceived the idea of uniting all Italian Americans into a single organization. His project took shape in June 1905 during a meeting called at his home, followed by other meetings until the establishment of the Sons of Italy, later called the Order of Sons of Italy in America, of which Sellaro became the first National President. In 1922, he was awarded a knighthood by the Italian government for the help given to the Italian-American community and for the founding of the Order of the Sons of Italy in America. In 1928, Governor Alfred E. Smith presented him with the keys to the city of New York in recognition of his medical and social contribution to the community."

“We are honored to receive, after years, the visit of President Robert A. Bianchi and the delegation of the OSDIA and Sons of Italy Foundation leadership. Relations with the Italian component of American society represent, at this moment more than ever, a vehicle of great importance for promoting the Italian language, art and culture and we will therefore continue to cultivate and develop this relationship of friendship, in order to strengthen ties with our compatriots in North America."

The Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America (OSDIA) represents the oldest and most established organization supporting American citizens of Italian descent, a community of reference for about 26 million Italian Americans. The organization has been present in Italy since 2020, the year of the foundation of the Rome Chapter which, among its activities, has promoted the birth of an additional Chapter in Palermo, named after the founder of the Sons of Italy, Vincenzo Sellaro.

The meeting at the Senate, moderated by Cristina Del Tutto, director of Radio Parlamentare, in addition to national president Bianchi and the past president of the Rome Chapter, Cutuli, was attended among others by Paolo Quattrocchi, co-founder and vice president of the Rome Chapter of the OSDIA; Justin Smith, administrative director of the OSDIA in Washington DC; Angelo Deiana, president of Confassociazioni; Gianni Lattanzio, president of Confassociazioni International.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Subscribe to ItalyUSA e-mail Newsletter