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Dr. Armand D. Versaci

November 16, 1923 June 17, 2015
Dr. Armand D. Versaci
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Obituary for Dr. Armand D. Versaci

Dr. Armand D. Versaci of Providence passed away on June 17th at Tockwotton on the Waterfront in East Providence aged 91.
 
Born in Endicott, NY in 1923, he grew up in Schenectady, NY, son of first generation Italian immigrants. Dr. Versaci graduated from Union College, earning a BA in 1945 Phi Beta Kappa, and in 1947 was the first Italian American to receive a degree from Harvard Medical School. 
 
Dr. Versaci did his surgical internship at Roosevelt Hospital in New York City and residency at Albany Hospital. He served as Chief of Surgery at the United States Air Force Hospital in Valdosta, Georgia in 1952. From 1973 to 1990, Dr. Versaci was Chief, Department of Plastic Surgery, at Rhode Island Hospital. He also served at Women and Infants Hospital and was a consulting physician to the VA Medical Center in Providence. In his own words, he was proud to have performed “more than 20,000 surgical procedures” for Rhode Islanders. 
 
At Rhode Island Hospital, he and Dr. Richard Sexton co-founded the first residency program in plastic surgery in New England and helped established the program for plastic surgery at Brown Medical School. He considered one of his proudest accomplishments to be mentoring more than 60 plastic surgeons from across the globe. While at Brown, he created a plastic surgery exchange program with young surgeons from Italy. The Congress of Italian and American Plastic Surgeons facilitates exchanges and conferences among practicing plastic surgeons in Italy and the United States. In the course of his career, he gave numerous presentations and lectures in his field. During his service at Rhode Island Hospital, he began medical missions at the invitation of poor and underdeveloped communities around the world, an activity that absorbed his time and energy during retirement.
 
Dr. Versaci served as trustee on the Board of Directors of the Rhode Island School of Design and often provided free medical attention to artists in need, including well-known RISD luminaries like Dale Chihuly and Italo Scanga. With his wife, Nancy, who was Director of the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown, Dr. Versaci collected art. They developed and shared a love for 20th century Russian constructivist painting and modern art created between the wars and always enjoyed and supported local artists.
 
Dr. Versaci was an avid sailor and made many crossings between Barrington and coastal Maine, recruiting friends, family and medical colleagues for the trips. In the early years, without benefit of navigation electronics, he delighted in using compass and sextant to chart his courses through dense fog and weather.
 
Following retirement from his practice in 1996, Dr. Versaci organized and participated in over 60 charitable medical missions, in association with Physicians for Peace and Brown Medical School, in rural and underserved communities in Latin America, Europe, and the Middle East, specializing in treatment for burn victims. He established children's burn treatment facilities and trained doctors and nurses in Guatemala with Dr. Lourdes Santiso, and in Nicaragua with Mrs. Vivian Pellas, funded by the Association for Burned Children of Nicaragua.
 
In 1999, the Carter Family Charitable Trust established the Armand D. Versaci Research Scholar in Surgical Sciences Award at the Brown University School of Medicine that hosts an annual lecture in his honor. The biennial Versaci Lectureship was created by the Congress of Italian and American Plastic Surgeons in 2004.
 
Dr. Versaci is survived by his four children, Russell, William, Lisa, and Lori, as well as by nine grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, July 21st at 10:30 AM at Manning Chapel, 69 Brown Street in Providence, RI. A reception will immediately follow the service at the Brown Faculty Club. 
 
Gifts in memory of Dr. Versaci can be made to the Armand D. Versaci Research Scholar In Surgical Sciences Award - Brown University, Gift Cashier, Box 1877. Providence, RI 02912.

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