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Eastman Institute for Oral Health / About Us / Message from the Director

A Message from Dr. Eli Eliav

Dr. Eli Eliav

Many find Spring to be a time of renewal and fresh starts. At Eastman Institute, we are excited about a few fresh starts of our own. Our cover story and the research we’re doing are great examples. We’ve established the Department of Oral and Craniofacial Sciences, which replaces the Center for Oral Biology. We’re pleased to welcome Thomas Diekwisch, DMD, PhD, PhD to lead the new department. With his leadership skills and significant accomplishments in program development and recruitment, I’m confident in his ability to direct our research priorities and strengthen collaborations throughout the Medical Center and University. We’re grateful that Xianghong Luan, MD, an outstanding scientist, mentor and collaborator, has joined the department and is Dr. Diekwisch’s first faculty recruit.

You’ll read about the work we’re doing to better identify, treat and prevent the debilitating effects of Early Childhood Caries. Thanks to Drs. Dorota Kopycka Kedzierawski and Jin Xiao and their teams who are doing exceptional work in this area. The collaborations they’ve established with experts throughout the university and others promises continued innovation. Dr. Yanfang Ren led his team to reveal a promising new approach to treating dental pain without opioids (p. 9).

We’re eternally grateful to our part time faculty, who selflessly give their time and talent to enhance our residents’ education. This issue, we talked to Dr. Andre Shenouda and Dr. Dimitrios Papadimitriou, who have taught at EIOH part time ever since they graduated from the EIOH Periodontology Residency Program (p. 10).

This year, we’re celebrating another milestone. While our founder George Eastman believed in the importance of, and using social services for patients, it’s been 30 years since we officially began incorporating social workers to help both patients and residents. (p. 12) Our social workers are invaluable resources for our patients, and are one of many examples of our commitment to them and the community.

For 106 years, we’ve been helping people gain access to dental care they otherwise wouldn’t receive. We feature four such patients, who, because of their significant medically complex conditions, were able to receive exceptional care by our specialists (p. 18). We’re proud to continue serving our region in this manner, as well as train the next generation of specialists and equip them with skills and experience to continue the momentum.

We’re delighted to welcome two new Foundation Board members, EIOH alum Dr. Edward Chappelle, Jr. and Thomas Richards, former Rochester mayor and community leader (p. 16).

Our faculty continue to demonstrate strong leadership in their respective fields, and many have been recognized with awards and elected in leadership roles. The Periodontology and Pediatric Dentistry residency Programs were named the best in the U.S., according to Universities. com 2022 rankings.

We are deeply saddened by the passing of Dr. William McHugh, who was Eastman’s third Director and served from 1970-1994. He is well known for spearheading Eastman Dental’s relocation to the University of Rochester Medical Center campus at the current location, which proved integral to the merger (p. 34).

We extend our sincere appreciation and gratitude for your ongoing support, and look forward to sharing more new beginnings soon.

Ever Better,
Dr. Eliav signature
Eli Eliav, DMD, MSc, PhD
Professor & Director, EIOH
Vice Dean for Oral Health, School of Medicine & Dentistry
Vice President for Oral Health
University of Rochester Medical Center