Why would successful dentists take time from their practice or personal life to help Eastman Institute for Oral Health residents?
For Dr. Andre Shenouda and Dr. Dimitrios Papadimitriou, two EIOH Periodontology alumni who have been teaching a literature review class part time for more than 10 years, the answer is twofold.
“Any teaching is always rewarding and it’s important to give back because we received so much when we were there. I’m extremely grateful for everything I got,” said Dr. Shenouda (Perio ’10). “It’s rewarding to hear the comments about how much the residents appreciate it.”
For the class, which focuses on implants and other periodontal related current literature, faculty and residents read the selected articles and review them together during the bi-weekly class.
“It’s important to emphasize why the topic is pertinent,” Dr. Shenouda explained. “Does it help us better educate our patients or improve how we perform certain procedures? It encourages residents to ask a lot of questions, and the result is a dynamic interaction.”
“And selfishly,” he acknowledged, “it forces me to stay up to date. Many times you’re too busy to read the journals, but teaching this class helps me make the time.”
For Dr. Papadimitriou (Perio ’11), his childhood dream was to either work in the medical field or be a teacher. “This gives me the opportunity to do both,” he said. "It’s great to see the residents’ motivation and willingness to learn, and many times I feel I take more back than I give.”
Reflecting on the experience as an EIOH resident, Dr. Shenouda admitted he was skeptical about the program at first.
“But after you gain a little experience and wisdom, you realize how really good everything was, how thorough the teaching was, both clinically and theoretically,” he said. “And, how the training gave us the ability to thrive in private practice.”
“I think the training at Eastman not only changed me as a scientist, but it influenced my personality,” added Dr. Papadimitriou, who runs a private practice in the north suburbs of Athens, Greece. “Because the education was very hard—as it should be—but it also gave us the self-confidence to provide the patients the best, especially for very difficult procedures. Dr. Caton would always tell us ‘you’re a specialist, so you should be able to do that.’”
“Dr Caton would only accept for us to do things perfectly,” added Dr. Shenouda, who is one of three partners at a private practice in his native Montreal, Quebec, Canada. “From a very basic photograph to the most complicated surgery, and even speaking with other dentists. The experience didn’t just make us a good periodontist, but actually showed us how to have an integral role in the community we’re a part of.”
Dr. Shenouda has served in leadership roles for his local periodontist association and has taught part time in a GPR residency program.
Sometimes you don’t appreciate something until you’ve been given a different perspective. For Dr. Papadimitriou, that happened shortly after he graduated from EIOH.
“I went to Harvard on scholarship, and met a lot of people in Boston,” he recalled. “Only then did I realize my theoretical and clinical knowledge was very advanced in comparison. Jack and Carlo and all the faculty gave us the best they could. Through the different types of patient cases, the different techniques, learning the different technologies and materials, it allowed me to transfer all this experience and knowledge to practice at a very high level in my home country. Also, the variability of different faculty members teaching at the clinic and courses is one of the strongest part of the program.”
In 2019, Dr. Papadimitriou accepted an invitation from Dr. Carlo Ercoli, chair EIOH Prosthodontics Residency Program, to give a course for Eastman’s Implantology core course. When he hailed a taxi at the Rochester airport, he immediately recognized his driver—one of his patients when he was a resident at Eastman.
Excited to see each other again, they caught each other up and snapped a selfie. “Dr. P was always professional, kind and helpful,” Paramjit Sandhu recalled. “He would always go above and beyond.”
“They were great residents,” said Dr. Jack Caton, professor and chair, Periodontology Residency Program, about both Drs. Shenouda and Papadimitriou. “They have made an enormous contribution to our program for over 10 years. They are loyal faculty and my good friends.”
Even now, when Dr. Papadimitriou is confronted with a difficult clinical challenge, he thinks back to his time at Eastman. “I hear Jack’s voice reminding me I’m a highly trained specialist, and I immediately start thinking about optimal solutions,” he said.
“Drs. Shenouda and Papadimitriou are two amazing periodontists,” said Dr. Alexandra Tsigarida, associate professor and program director. “Our residents always look forward to their sessions with them—whether it’s online literature review or hands-on courses, and they are excited when they come and visit us. We can’t thank them enough for all their contributions to our department.”