Sebastian Pavone, the principal of Eastern Medical Centre, puts his heart and soul into his job.
The son of an Italian potato farmer of Gembrook, Dr Pavone obtained a bachelor of science at Monash University, two years later starting his medical training in Tasmania where he graduated in 1982. But he missed his home and so returned to Victoria after his intern year to join a practice in Melbourne. “I looked for an area with a large Italian population to take advantage of my fluency in a second language.
“After looking at the percentage of Italians in each suburb, I found that Dandenong had a 35 per cent Italian-speaking population, with no Italian doctors so I knew Dandenong would be the perfect place to open up my practice.” Dr Pavone was determined to get to know the community and to make them aware of his cultural background and his new practice so he went around to each house with a fellow who delivered the winemaking grapes to a lot of the Italians and introduced himself.
“I got to know all the families and within about six weeks, I had a practice up and running that would normally have taken 12 months to develop,” he said.
Dr Pavone has now been at Eastern Medical Centre for more than 30 years and also works widely in and around Dandenong including the emergency department at Dandenong Hospital, assisting with operations. He was one of the founders of the only private drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in Dandenong at the Pine Lodge Clinic and the Emergency Department at South Eastern Private Hospital.
Dr Pavone has a wonderful relationship with all his patients and says his job is really worthwhile because of the gratitude he gets from his patients he doesn’t expect it from.
“After more than 30 years of being a GP, you feel like you’re part of a lot of families. I still see a lot of those people I delivered grapes to many years ago. They were very welcoming to me when I started in Dandenong and I feel a deep sense of obligation to look after them as best I can as they get older and sicker.”
Dr Pavone says having a multiethnic practice is very important because “illness and disease are often culturally bound”.
“When you can personally relate to the cultural backgrounds of families, you understand the nonmedical issues that may come with the illness.”
The Eastern Medical Centre is dedicated to the ongoing health of its patients.
The friendly and welcoming doctors and staff are happy to assist their patients and are all fluent in languages other than English…