SALEM — Kent State University in Salem has unveiled a living memorial to the late Dr. Frank Apicella, who founded the radiology technology program on campus more than 40 years ago.
Members of the Apicella family were joined by Salem Regional Medical Center faculty, students, staff, advisory board members, graduate students and staff to honor Apicella’s dedication to his profession and providing educational opportunities locally.
Dr. Frank Apicella and his brother, Dr. Salvatore Apicella, first established an internal training program at what was then Salem Community Hospital and appointed the late Roy Bell as its initial medical director.
In 1981, the program was moved to the Kent State Salem Campus and became an associate degree program under the leadership of Roy Bell and his wife, Shirley, while Dr. Frank Apicella continued as the program’s medical director.
In 1994, Dr. Frank Apicella’s son, Dr. Peter Apicella, joined the team as a faculty member and eventual medical director, a role he continues to hold. He also serves on the Salem Campus Advisory Board and is a radiologist at Salem Regional Medical Center.
“(My father and uncle) had a vision for an educational program that would prepare local students with the knowledge and skills they would need to work in an X-ray department,” explained Dr. Peter Apicella. “We are fortunate that our Radiologic Technology program at Kent State continues to grow and attract quality students from across the area. Over the past 57 years, more than 1,000 students have achieved rewarding and fulfilling careers in radiologic technology, thanks to the quality education provided by all of us.”
As medical imaging technology has advanced beyond X-rays, so has the program at the Salem campus. In 1995, Dr. Peter Apicella worked with retired program director Ian Gibson to expand Kent State’s existing associate degree program into one that provided bachelor’s degrees in specialty areas such as computer technology (CT), nuclear magnetic resonance ( MRI), diagnostic medical sonography (ultrasound), radiation therapy and at one time nuclear medicine.
Ten clinical sites from around the area host Kent State students, providing them with invaluable experience in real health care settings.
Asa DeSanzo, a second-year radio engineering student at the Salem campus, spearheaded the effort to honor Dr. Frank Apicella, who died in August.
“Without Dr. Frank Apicella and his dedication to educating people in his community, we would not be here today and I would not be in this program.” she said. “I wanted to do something small so that we can always remember the impact of Dr. Frank Apicella and his family. This family goes on beautiful trips and seems to be surrounded by nature. The idea of planting this tree seemed appropriate. And even though it’s a small gesture, I hope it shows the community’s gratitude.
“If everyone in the world had just a fraction of Dr. Frank’s care and dedication, I believe remarkable things could happen.” she continued. “I hope this memorial serves as a reminder of what kindness, generosity and dedication can do.”