Dr. Dean DeLuke has served patients in Schenectady, reconstructing mouths and lives at the former St. Clare’s Hospital.
Now, the 59-year-old is moving on and planning to pass his knowledge on to others, accepting a teaching position at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. He is to start in July.
“I certainly look forward to this next phase,” DeLuke said Thursday. “I hope to impact a lot of students, who in turn will impact a lot of others.”
DeLuke, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, recently took the position of professor in VCU’s Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. DeLuke is to work in both the School of Dentistry and the School of Medicine. He will also see patients.
Locally, DeLuke has served as chief of dentistry and oral surgery at the former St. Clare’s, co-chairing the Cleft Palate Program. He’s also done some teaching through St. Clare’s, as well as lectures.
Cleft palates are a separation in the roof of the mouth; cleft lips are a separation in the upper lip.
DeLuke’s efforts, and the program’s efforts, have been profiled in The Daily Gazette over the years. In 1999, DeLuke spoke about the Cleft Palate Clinic, a bi-monthly effort involving a team of professionals from different specialities who tend to the various needs of the patients.
DeLuke called it enjoyable and gratifying to watch the children grow up into adulthood, with the majority living entirely normal lives.
In 1990, DeLuke’s work helping a Colonie teen through reconstructive surgery was featured. The teen credited the surgery with improving his appearance, along with correcting other problems, and making him feel better about himself.
Such work improving people’s lives is what DeLuke said drew him and his family to the profession. DeLuke followed his father, Dr. Dominick J. DeLuke, into the field.
“It does make such a difference in someone’s outlook, and it can be life-changing,” Dean DeLuke said.
DeLuke’s work spans patients from young to old, through reconstruction and dental implants.
DeLuke graduated from St. Michael’s College, Columbia University and Union Graduate College. He is married with a grown daughter.
DeLuke has also written numerous scientific papers and is a novelist. He published an award-winning novel, “Shedrow,” which set in part in Saratoga Springs.