Eastman Institute for Oral Health Director Eli Eliav, D.M.D., Ph.D., along with past Eastman directors yesterday accepted the coveted William J. Gies Award for Achievement among academic dental institutions, during a formal ceremony at the American Dental Education Association Conference in Long Beach, California.
The award is considered the profession’s foremost recognition for individuals and organizations that exemplify the highest standards in oral health and dental education, research and leadership.The Gies Awards for Vision, Innovation and Achievement in Academic Dentistry and Oral Health are given by the ADEAGies Foundation and named after dental education pioneer William J. Gies, PhD, who published a landmark report that established the importance of dentistry as an essential component of higher education in the health professions.
As Eastman Institute for Oral Health, part of the University of Rochester Medical Center, marks its 100th year serving the community, the award recognizes its extensive track record of achievements, such as being the key safety-net provider for the Greater Rochester area, while delivering world-class graduate education and performing valuable oral health research.
Since George Eastman established the Rochester Dental Dispensary in 1917, the Institute has maintained and expanded his original mission by designing, implementing and sustaining successful community-based oral health initiatives, such as school-based programs using mobile units and community health centers, teledentistry, and clinics for patients with special needs and complex diseases.
As the largest provider of preventive and restorative oral health services in Upstate New York, with about 190,000 annual patient visits, EIOH’s multi-disciplinary approach to oral health and community service programs provide an educational environment for residents, who return to their home states and countries with advanced skills and replicate Eastman’s model of community service. Also, in an effort to meet an increasingly critical need, EIOH has introduced new advanced interdisciplinary education programs in Geriatric Dentistry and Special Needs Dentistry to train the next generation of dentists to care for individuals with complex medical conditions.
These programs have driven part of Eastman Institute’s research toward an understanding of dental caries--a major challenge in underserved and high poverty populations--and has led to important discoveries in prevention, including the use of fluorides and of sealants. Other EIOH research initiatives have made significant advancements in understanding salivary gland damage from cancer treatment, oral microbiology, chronic and orofacial pain, and abnormal skull development. Eastman Institute also manages one of six U.S. regional centers that are participating in a $67 million, seven-year NIH grant involving practice-based research.
Other achievements include building the area’s only dedicated urgent dental care clinic, a custom-designed SMILEmobile designed to treat adults with special needs and medically complex conditions, and establishing treatment rooms within UR Medicine’s Complex Care Center, Rochester’s first primary and dental practice dedicated to patients with chronic childhood-onset conditions. This allows dentists, physicians and nurses to work collaboratively in real time, greatly benefitting this unique patient population.
Most recently, Eastman Institute has established a program to attract, develop, and retain dental faculty through loan repayment and faculty development activities.