OMS Foundation welcomes new Director-at-Large
Peter Vellis, DDS
As a lifelong volunteer and philanthropist, military veteran, Beacon Oral Specialists partner and Charter OMSFIRE donor, Dr. Peter Vellis brings a wealth of experience to his newest role as Director-at-Large of the OMS Foundation. He also is a consummate storyteller. A frequent presenter for the Foundation at AAOMS Society and Caucus meetings in the New England area, he enjoys sharing with donors how they are helping to advance and protect the specialty.
“Though we may be far removed from residency or academia, we need to remember that education – the white papers, patient safety data and new information about anesthesia – is what protects our specialty,” he said. “The Foundation – and its donors – make this happen. As an OMS, I feel an obligation to support that work. I’m proud that Beacon supports the Foundation as a corporate OMSFIRE donor, but I am equally proud to support that work with my individual OMSFIRE gifts. And I’m truly honored to be asked to serve on the Foundation Board.”
Dr. Vellis discovered an affinity for medicine as a teen, working part-time at his family dentist’s office in Brooklyn, N.Y., and serving on the youth squad of BRAVO Volunteer Ambulance. He helped with blood pressure screenings and fundraising events at first, then rode the ambulance as a certified EMT. The grateful spouse of a patient the ambulance team transported opened his eyes to the power of philanthropy with a donation of much-needed cash, real estate and a $3 million bequest in her will. “She was our ‘BRAVO Angel,’ and we never forgot her,” he said.
He credits Drs. Kirk Engel, David Bitonti, James Swift and David Basi for steering his course toward oral and maxillofacial surgery and the U.S. Navy for subsidizing his education at the University of Minnesota and launching his career aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. His wife, Sonia Almeida, homesick for New England, circled an ad in AAOMS Today that precipitated a partnership with Drs. David Beanland and Robert Buxbaum at New England Oral Surgery Associates. NEOSA became the Foundation’s first OMSFIRE practice in 2020, and after NEOSA partnered with Beacon Oral Specialists in 2022, Drs. Vellis and Beanland signed on as individual OMSFIRE donors.
Like many of his colleagues in the specialty, Dr. Vellis is generous with his time and resources. He volunteered as a mock board examiner for the U.S. Navy for 10 years before becoming an ABOMS examiner in 2022. He serves on OMSNIC’s Advisory Committee and volunteers at Adelphi and Columbia Universities and at his children’s school. He classifies all his roles – as well as his new gig as a Foundation Director – as “paying it forward” in gratitude to everyone who offered opportunities and support to him.
“If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am. I’m honored and grateful to be able to offer my support to the people and organizations that helped me succeed,” he said.