The Good Doctor
For Domenick Sportelli (D.O. ’09), being featured as a guest on the CBS show The Doctors is a natural extension of his early career. “I grew up in front of the camera. When I was young, I modeled and acted in commercials and a few movies,” he says. Now a board-certified physician in adult and child psychiatry, Sportelli runs the New Jersey Center for Advanced Psychiatry and Behavioral Health. He believes that promoting mental health awareness is essential. “I want to help people know they can be treated for mental health and to decrease the stigma of mental illness,” he says. “It’s very misunderstood.”
Sportelli says that the Doctor Patient Continuum program (DPC) at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) helped shape him as a physician. “From the very beginning, the college created an incredible passion in me to understand, to further question, and to look at the big picture. It made all the difference in my training and who I am as a doctor and how I approach patients today,” he says. The DPC curriculum is case based, and from day one students are taught to treat patients “not as a chapter in a book or a multiple-choice test or lecture subject, but as a patient with a name, a face, and a body.” Sportelli adds that the approach “fostered intellectual curiosity and reminded you that you are treating a person.”
Sportelli has always been drawn to human behavior and the questions of what drives us and what makes us tick. But it was his NYITCOM classmates who predicted he would go on to be a psychiatrist. “I was resistant to it,” he admits. “But when I was a family medicine resident performing surgery and delivering babies, what fascinated me the most were the patients who had schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s. My friends were right. When I sat down with my program director, I said, ‘I have to follow my heart,’ and I applied for a psychiatry residency.” Sportelli sees osteopathic medicine and psychiatry as a perfect fit. “In osteopathic training, we look at a patient holistically, and in psychiatry, you have to have the mindset to treat the whole patient, examine their psychological and social background and their medical and genetic history.” One of Sportelli’s biggest concerns is the opioid epidemic and its devastating impact on communities in New Jersey, where Sportelli practices, and the country as a whole. He is passionate about helping families and their children during this crisis and adamant that there is need for prescriber education and accountability and family and patient
education. “This is preventable,” he says.