Americo A. “Savy” Savastano, M.D. (1906-1987), one of the world’s most renowned surgeons, served as Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at Rhode Island Hospital. Born in Orchi, Italy on November 28, 1906 to Carmine and Luigia (Vendettuoli) Savastano, Americo and his family moved to Rhode Island when he was nine years old. He graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 1928 and received his medical degree from Harvard School of Medicine in 1932.
As a recognized specialist in sports medicine, Dr. Savastano organized orthopedic clinics nationally and internationally, most notably in Russia, Israel, and Canada. As the U.S. team physician for the 1967 Pan American Games, Dr. Savastano was cited by the American College of Sports Medicine in 1968 for his leadership in the field. He also served as the primary consultant for the University of Rhode Island’s conferences about “Medical Aspects in Sports.”
Dr. “Savy” served for many years as medical consultant to his beloved alma mater, the University of Rhode Island, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1959. He was a member of the Rhode Island Board of Regents for Education, and a member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. He was also an inductee into the local Gridiron Hall of Fame for his treatment of local football injuries.
Dr. Savastano was an exemplary role model for all immigrants. He journeyed by boat from his family’s little hill town outside of Naples, Italy when he was but six years old. Family friends had made the journey before him and settled in Providence’s Federal Hill. According to his son Jeffrey, his father would learn English as a student in the Rhode Island public schools. He eventually received his medical degree from Harvard University in the midst of the Great Depression. He married Alda Winfield and they became the parents of Alda Crouchly and Jeffrey Savastano.
Dr. Savastano was an early inductee into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame (1970) after which he joined the Hall’s Board of Directors. From 1978 through 1986, he served as Hall of Fame president. He died in April 1987 at the age of eighty.