When Dr. Stephen Altomari (’99) graduated with his pre-med degree from PCC, he couldn’t foresee practicing dentistry on the beaches of Africa or running the largest military dental clinic in Germany—all before starting his own 1,500 patient practice in the United States! All he knew when he received his diploma was that he wanted to serve.
After graduating from PCC, he joined the U.S. Army, participating in the military’s Health Profession Scholarship Program, a branch of the military designed to help fill critical healthcare roles such as dental, veterinary, and general medicine for Soldiers stationed in the United States and overseas.
During his four years of active service, Dr. Altomari was deployed to Angola, Africa, with the last active MASH unit. He recounted that this experience taught him that “Professionalism does not have to be compromised because of circumstances. God’s grace allowed me to perform world-class dentistry in a tent on foreign nationals on a beach utilizing a head-mounted flashlight.”
He also served as the officer-in-charge of the Schweinfurt Dental Clinic, the largest military dental clinic in Germany. While there, he was promoted to this position as a Captain, a position usually given to a Lieutenant Colonel. Under his command, the clinic dentally prepared an entire brigade of Soldiers for a year of combat.
“With a lot of teamwork and with God’s help, we were able to deploy our Soldiers at 100% dental readiness,” he said. “God may have put me in a position for which I didn’t feel fully prepared, but I trusted Him, worked hard, and did my best always.”
Dr. Altomari credits his early training for his outlook on serving. “I am so glad I chose PCC during my formative years, and I am grateful for God’s leading there,” he said. “The spiritual growth and academic challenges I encountered at PCC still shape my perspective today.” One of Dr. Altomari’s beliefs that he learned in college and practiced in the military is that “position does not supersede personhood.”
“When I looked into the eyes of the newest Army private, I understood that this soul not only needed our Savior but also needed me to treat him with all the skill and carefulness that I would someone of my own family,” he said.
Dr. Altomari carried this perspective from his active-duty military service into private practice at Integrity Family Dentistry. “While I was still stationed in Germany, I received a letter from my childhood dentist asking me to join him in his practice,” he said. After working with his childhood dentist for almost seven years, he felt confident enough to start his own practice. Maintaining his high sense of integrity with each client, he watched as the Lord grew his active patients to over 1,500.
“After all I’ve been through with PCC, dental school, the Army, and private practice, I am able to draw upon a multitude of experiences to help guide future decisions,” said Dr. Altomari. “We have the ability to help God’s people through dentistry and have even led people to a saving knowledge of Christ in our office! Without God in my life, I couldn’t imagine doing anything I do on a daily basis.”