Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists Bulletin Spring 2021 - 27

Portrait of a Professional

(2), the first girls born in the Righellis family in 90
years!
JN: How did you choose your practice location?
SR: I was very young (28 years) when I completed
my residency, not really equipped to just start a
practice. I had the good fortune of several oneday-per-week associateships with Drs. Jim Thurston, Leo Jaeger, Carl Kuhn, and Wayne Watson.
Mary Lou was working as an occupational therapist at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley. Over the
next two years, Mary Lou and I talked about our
future. Where was orthodontics going to take us?
Where did we want to live? Meanwhile, life was
good; we skied during the winter, backpacked

Spring 2021    PCSO Bulletin	

Spring skiing at Squaw Valley
during the summer, and spent six weeks in the
spring of 1974 in Greece.
In September 1975, I said " I am ready for the
next step. " A few years of associateships gave
me experience and some savings to begin a
practice in the Montclair district of Oakland,
California. We bought a home, opened the
doors of my practice, and had our first son, Zach,
all within that year!

Straty's son, Greg Righellis, with his family

Then came a challenge. Starting a practice with
no patients, rent to pay, and people to support.
After four months, I had seven patients under
treatment! I gave every effort to gain the trust of
the community by being available and introducing myself to the local dentists. I was very
fortunate that the doctors I associated with and
some of my teachers at UCSF made calls on my
behalf to the dentists they knew in the Oakland
area. That was very helpful!

Straty's son, Zach Righellis, with his two boys

I saw orthodontics not only as a career but also
as a way to do my share for the specialty and
hopefully to make a small contribution to the
profession as others had done before me. I chose
Oakland because of the proximity to San Francisco, the competence of the orthodontists in the
Oakland-Berkeley area, and the cultural diversity.
Inspired by my faculty mentors, I was eager to
find a teaching element in my life. I was offered
and accepted a teaching opportunity at UCSF,
in the undergraduate department for the first
couple of years and in the postdoctoral clinic a

27



Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists Bulletin Spring 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists Bulletin Spring 2021

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