Staff Spotlight: One Foot Forward for Better Health; Meet Dr. Mario Rizzo
May 16, 2023
St. Anthony’s Medical Clinic – Whole Person Care is our Top Priority
Throughout the month of May, we will be shining a spotlight on St. Anthony’s Medical Clinic. The bustling clinic overlooking the Golden Gate Greenway provides primary and specialty care to those who need it most in the Tenderloin community, serving nearly 2,500 individuals and families through more than 9,000 visits annually. A critical component of St. Anthony’s broad portfolio of essential and life-changing services, the clinic focuses on patient-centered primary and specialty care, with an emphasis on dignity and access. As the hands below the safety net, the clinic serves a diverse population, with 91% of patients living below the Federal Poverty Level.
At St. Anthony’s Medical Clinic, the word is that Dr. Mario Rizzo’s foot treatments are magically effective to make most foot pain disappear, leaving his patients more than happy to return. We recently sat down with him to talk about what our Medical Clinic’s podiatry services really mean to the many struggling individuals and families in the community who depend on this essential health care.
You might say it was fate that brought Dr. Rizzo to us. The year was 1979, and he’d just taken over a small podiatry practice on Market Street, when one day, our very own Father Floyd walked in the door. “He was one of my first patients,” Dr. Rizzo enthuses. “We started talking, and I soon learned that Father Floyd came from St. Anthony’s, which had a community medical clinic. I was immediately drawn to the idea of it—and offered to volunteer. He said ‘OK, come on over!'”
And that’s exactly what Dr. Rizzo did. Right from the start, St. Anthony’s Medical Clinic seemed like the perfect place for him—the place where he could give back. “I had the gift of a strong family life, education and good health. Through my Catholic faith, I’ve been taught that if I have these things, I should help others, too. That’s why I joined St. Anthony’s and have stayed here so long.”
“It’s not easy to endure some of the conditions they face. But they come here with wonderful attitudes, so grateful for our care. And they are very generous, willing to share anything with others. To me, that’s a beautiful example of how to live.”Dr. Mario Rizzo
In Dr. Rizzo’s mind, what stands out most about the clinic is how fantastic and brave our patients are. “They have to overcome a lot,” he says. “It’s not easy to endure some of the conditions they face. But they come here with wonderful attitudes, so grateful for our care. And they are very generous, willing to share anything with others. To me, that’s a beautiful example of how to live.”
From a medical perspective, Dr. Rizzo treats a variety of conditions, whether seeking healing from pain, arthritic problems, or minor infections. “By taking care of the smaller things, it helps prevent bigger problems down the road,” he explains. “For our many diabetic patients, we do regular foot checks, and for patients with more serious issues, we’re able to refer them elsewhere. It’s a great system.”
Given his commitment to serving others, it’s little wonder Dr. Rizzo’s six adult children work in helping professions—nursing, teaching, social work, firefighting, even the priesthood. And with 17 grandchildren to dote on, Dr. Rizzo and his wife have no problem staying busy. Yet, even surrounded by such wonderful gifts, he never stops giving back. Thank you, Dr. Rizzo!
St. Anthony’s Medical Clinic provides primary and specialty care to the Tenderloin community, serving nearly 2,500 individuals and families annually. We are a safety-net clinic, with 70% of our patients living below the Federal Poverty Level. We focus on patient-centered primary care, with an emphasis on access and dignity. We also provide specialty services, including pediatrics, podiatric medicine, and behavioral health.
We invite you to be the change you want to see in San Francisco. Interested in helping build pathways to stability for those in need in our community? Donate online here. Sign up for a volunteer shift here.