"Treat Patients Like Family," Eastman Institute Graduates Advised
For the first time, Eastman Institute for Oral Health joined the University of Rochester’s School of Arts, Sciences and Engineering and the School of Medicine and Dentistry for the Master of Science Commencement Ceremony. Five Eastman graduates received the MS degree in Dental Sciences. The MS degree was approved by the New York State Education Department in 2016.
They are among the 73 people from 45 different countries who received their degrees and certificates for completing their advanced, specialty training in various programs. The candidates entered the room in a processional to the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” song, held this year at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel.
“Life can be compared to a fast flowing stream,” said Dr. David Levy, Eastman’s Medical Director and Chief Quality, Compliance and Safety Officer, longtime faculty member and who provided the convocation address.
“As we get older, it seems to be ever faster. At times like this, on very special occasions and celebrations, there is an opportunity to slow down that flow of life and even metaphysically stop it, jump out of that stream onto a rock and assess where all of us have come from, and try to get a glimpse of where all of us may be headed.”
Following some humorous jabs at non-memorable graduation speeches with trite messages, like ‘never stop learning,’ and ‘be the change you wish to see in the world,’ Dr. Levy passed on some advice he’s followed since he received it during his first year of dental school.
“Take time for yourself, to pursue interests and hobbies seriously,” said Dr. Levy, who has been an active part of the lives and careers of hundreds of residents. “I have seen too many of my contemporaries say that professional life has been everything to them and then can’t imagine what they’ll do after retirement.
“Spend time and develop your own personal interests,” he continued. “Spend the time and devotion to cultivate them so you find true enjoyment. It may be hard for you to imagine right now but one day professional activities will diminish and may even cease after retirement, then what will you do. Now is the time to prepare for that eventuality.”
Dr. Levy (Pedo ’77, MS ‘81) embodies everything Eastman was founded on: excellent clinical care and community service. He served as the dental director of a pediatric dental clinic in an underserved area of rural Maine, as well as three urban dental clinics in Rochester. He provided dental care to the children of migrant workers on a mobile van, and maintained a private practice for more than 30 years.
Treat patients like family, Dr. Levy also advised the graduates.
“Treat them ethically and with kindness and empathy,” he encouraged. “When life pressures are on your mind, and those will occur, remember the most important focus is that patient at the end of your fingertips.”
Confident in the graduates’ future success, Dr. Levy closed by wishing the graduates much happiness and good health.
“Finally, the group of us who can trace back to these special individuals have carried a tradition, the symbolic baton, from those historical individuals,” he added. “As a representative of your teaching faculty, I am passing on that baton to you who are being honored and awarded certificates today.”
Before the trainees received their certificates, many awards were given to deserving faculty, staff and residents.
The Director’s Award was presented to Dr. Ross Tallents An Eastman Institute alum, Dr. Tallents was appointed faculty in the Orthodontics Department after completing his residencies in General Dentistry and Prosthodontics.
He was promoted to Professor, Departments of Orthodontics, Temporomandibular Joint Disorders and Prosthodontics and will have served in this capacity from 1993 until he officially retires at the end of December this year.
He was the Program Director for the TMD program since its inception and has only recently stepped down. Dr. Tallents has educated numerous students, published more than 150 journal articles and book chapters, and presented lectures nationally and internationally. He has been a leader in the field of TMD and has played a significant role, not only in the education of TMD Fellows, but also guiding orthodontic residents over his tenure.
Dr. Sharon Elad was awarded the Bejan Iranpour Award, for excellence in clinical education.
Her credentials as a teacher, clinician and clinical scholar are considerable. Dr. Elad is internationally recognized and respected as an academic oral medicine specialist. An expert in diagnosing and managing patients with oral manifestations of complex systemic diseases and conditions, she has always taken time with residents to carefully explain how she manages these cases.
Residents regard her highly as a teacher and mentor and describe her as extremely professional, helpful and unfailingly punctual. She is the course leader of the Medical-Dental Interrelationship, Oral Diseases and Pathology, and Advanced Oral Medicine courses. She has mentored numerous students, most notably in the GPR program where her didactic and clinical supervision has been extensive, and crucial to their education in hospital dentistry and treating medically compromised patients.
She sets high standards and is as demanding of herself as she is of others to ensure high quality, evidence-based care.
Each year, the Dentistry faculty and residents are given the opportunity to nominate part-time faculty who give a great amount of personal time and understanding to those involved in our educational programs. This year’s recipients are Dr. Gerry Rosen and Dr. Mohamed ‘Bobby’ Baig.
Dr. Gerry Rosen
The longest standing faculty member in the Pediatric Dentistry Department, Dr. Gerald Rosen, is an expert in behavior and practice management, he has mentored multiple generations of pediatric dentists throughout the past 50 years, and has been instrumental in the history of the Pediatric Dentistry Division.
Widely known for his smile and colorful matching socks and tie, Dr. Rosen’s calm and respectful demeanor provide residents the trust and support to tackle challenging clinical situations.
HIs feedback is honest and insightful, while making residents feel like a colleague rather than a student. Always emphasizing to put the patients’ feelings and interests as a primary goal of dental practice, his commitment to improving the dental health of children is genuine and admirable.
Dr. Baig practiced dentistry for several years in India before graduating from the Eastman Prosthodontics program in 2012, and AEGD a year later. Has been active within EIOH since that time, fulfilling many different responsibilities.
As an associate clinical professor in General Dentistry, Dr. Baig is a very skilled prosthodontist who lectures nationally and internationally on many topics involving dental implants, removable prosthodontics and fixed prosthodontics. He also holds faculty appointments at the University of Toronto and Mount Sinai Hospital, in addition to private practice in Toronto.
He makes a weekly trip to Eastman to work with the residents in the AEGD Program on Fridays and Saturday. Dr. Baig brings many new ideas to the program, is very thorough and has the ability to find simple solutions for complex problems. He has been a key player for the growth of the General Dentistry Program, using his clinical expertise, his teaching ability and desire to help others.
The Shaffer-Devries Award for Excellence in Administrative Operations or Clinical Service was awarded to Rita Cacciato, who began her career at Eastman 19 years ago as a dental hygienist. Today, she is a human subject research coordinator managing multiple research projects at Eastman, and the Northeast regional research coordinator for the National Dental PBRN.
Oftentimes, the studies are complex and involve understanding the details of large clinical trials, including human subject protection issues, protocol development and site training, study implementation, data management, and coordination with multiple sites.
With a wonderful sense of humor, she helps residents in many ways, including helping them develop their research protocols and ensure they meet scientific and regulatory standards. She maintains high standards, coordinates the faculty scientific review and is able to move a complicated process with grace and persistence. Always willing to take risks, Rita does more by extending herself way beyond what’s expected, and to make herself and the people around her succeed.
Basil G. Bibby Fellowship Award
Basil Bibby who served as the second director of the Eastman dispensary between 1947 and 1967 strove to lead and help early investigators into productive and meaningful careers.
He encouraged young people to think and to participate in research with the realization that research caused one to focus attention and foster thinking. Dr. Yenisey Valdez Torres and Moustafa Roshdi El Metwalli Youssef were chosen for this award.
Stanley L. Handelman Fellowship Award
Training future leaders in dentistry is at the core of the Eastman mission. Dr. Stan Handelman, widely known as the Father of Postdoctoral General Dentistry, established a Fellowship fund to provide support to students and residents interested in pursuing a dental academic career. To date, more than 100 Eastman alumni, faculty and friends have contributed to the fund.
This award is not given out each year, but only when an exemplary resident or student, such as this year’s awardee, Dr. German Obando, who has been identified as truly embracing the spirit of the Handelman fund.
Another Handelman Award recognized Drs. Othman Alkhateeb and Hassan Alzamil for their performance during the program of going beyond the expectations and demonstrating excellent skills in leadership, ethics, initiative, and communications, as well as showing an interest in enhancing other residents’ experience at EIOH.
This year, a new award was given on behalf of the American Academy of Periodontology, who awarded Dr. Tal Rapaport the Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring Award.
American Association for Dental Research – Rochester Section
Each spring, a special event highlights research projects completed throughout the year. Out of 35 poster presentations, a team of judges selected five to receive scientific merit awards.
Basil G. Bibby Award
Outstanding scientific merit among presentations by non-degree candidates.
Dr. Elena Bedilo won for her poster titled, “ Distribution of Pediatric Dentists Accepting Medicaid in New York State.”
Dr. Mackenzie Butcher won for her poster titled, “Bacterial Threshold Corresponding to Caries Development in Early Childhood Caries.”
Michael G. Buonocore Award
Outstanding scientific merit among oral and poster presentations by degree candidates.
Dr. Naema Alkhars for “Oral Candida Colonization in Infants with High Risk for Severe ECC.”
Mr. Andrew Bischer for “ Stress Regulation on Rhamnose Biosynthesis in Streptoccus mutans.”
Gerald N. Graser Award
Outstanding clinical case series and/or case reports that describe original, innovative and/or evidence based clinical treatments.
Dr. Kristen Frantz won for her work in “ Multidisciplinary Approach to Treatment of Severe Malocclusion and Congenitally Missing Lateral Incisors”
Dr. Adriana Parra Barillas won for her work in “Long Term Treatment for Ankylosed teeth in the Esthetic Zone.”
William H. Bowen Award
Outstanding scientific merit among poster presentations by candidates in postdoctoral programs.
Dr. Linda Rona Wang Lam’s poster covered “ Multicomponent Coaxial Elctrospun Fiber Scaffolds for Guided Tissue Regeneration Using Emogain.”