Gerard and Caroline Varlotta


Alumni Father and Daughter Share a Passion for Medicine

July 8, 2024

Caroline Varlotta (D.O. ’20) didn’t intend to follow her father’s footsteps into a medical career. But that’s where she landed, and Gerard “Rusty” Varlotta (D.O. ’83) couldn’t be happier.

“One of the proudest days of my life was the White Coat Ceremony when I put the coat on Caroline,” says Gerard, a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician at White Plains Hospital in Westchester, N.Y., who was misty-eyed as he remembered the moment. Equally touching was her graduation from the College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM). She is now a fourth-year resident at Mount Sinai Health System and will graduate in June.

The two recently collaborated on a sports medicine book titled Association of Ringside Physician’s Manual of Combat Sports Medicine (2022), a comprehensive manual “considered to be the bible of combat sports medicine,” Gerard says.

The collaborative work of 81 contributors was inspired by a father-daughter research project testing sensors in boxing gloves that could quantitate and record the impact that boxers experienced in the ring.

“I’ve always been interested in sharing knowledge and hearing what other people have to say to improve my knowledge,” Gerard says. “Seeing a deficit in the knowledge base of ringside physicians, I saw an opportunity to get people together from all over the country to share their expertise.”

But as editor-in-chief of the book, Gerard adds: “I bit off more than I could chew. So, I thought, ‘Well, I have a very bright young person I can rope into this.’ And Caroline was more than willing to help.”

Sharing knowledge is a thread running through Gerard’s entire medical career, starting with his classmates at NYITCOM. “Studying was a group effort because we didn’t want to leave anybody behind. We made sure nobody was going to fail.” And 37 years later, Caroline experienced the same strong camaraderie and philosophy of sharing knowledge when she attended the medical school.

She grew up surrounded by doctors and nurses—her father regularly brought preschool-age Caroline on rounds with him at the hospital. Despite this early exposure to medicine, she had first planned on a career in engineering. A serious hand injury, however, sparked Caroline’s interest in pain management and rehabilitation. She watched as surgeons and hand therapists worked together as a team to give her full recovery of function in her hand.

“I was drawn to osteopathic schools because of the holistic approach, caring for the whole person,” says Caroline, who will soon enter a one-year pain medicine fellowship in the Department of Anesthesiology at Mount Sinai.