Ear, nose and throat surgeon Dr. Orville Dave Palmer runs the ENT Department at Harlem Hospital and Metropolitan Hospital and performs 15–20 surgeries a week. Also, weekly he does one to two facial reconstructions.
“I like the combination of ENT and facial construction,” he says. “And the satisfaction is in the results and impact you’re making on people’s lives.”
Educated at the medical school in Jamaica, Dr. Palmer did ENT residencies in England, Scotland and Wisconsin and a plastic and reconstructive surgery residency in Texas before becoming full time faculty at Harlem Hospital and Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. He also has an MPH from Columbia University. He has been in medicine for 31 years.
The doctor is a full-time assistant clinical professor in the Department of Otolaryngology at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Why did he choose medicine?
He says, “In Jamaica, I had an older sister with a heart problem. She had surgery when she was 21 and died when she was 26; she basically stayed in the hospital that whole time. I became aware of the inaccessibility of good health care. I wanted to bring health care to my family and my community.
He pursued his specialty, inspired by a family friend who was an ENT doctor.
Dr. Palmer is listed in the “Top Black Doctors” in Network Journal. He has given numerous lectures and published articles in medical journals on his areas of expertise.
From 2001, Dr. Palmer has been doing volunteer medical service in St. Kitts and Jamaica with the organization Doctors on Call.
Twice monthly, he travels to Annotto Hospital in St. Mary, Jamaica to perform ENT surgeries and give medical lectures.