About 700 people from 25 countries and the same number of states heard from experts and specialists this weekend as Eastman Institute for Oral Health marked its 100th anniversary by hosting a scientific and educational symposium and Centennial Gala.
Among the 65 speakers spanning all dental specialties and research, was Dr. Steve Perlman, who shared how his life changed dramatically when Eunice Kennedy Shriver approached him after struggling to find adequate dental care for her sister, Rosemary Kennedy. They asked for his help in 1994. A Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine professor and longtime advocate of people with intellectual disabilities, Dr. Perlman changed his career path and founded the Special Smiles® program, in partnership with the Shriver family and Special Olympics. Dr. Perlman’s concerns about health disparities for people with disabilities prompted the research and studies that then became Healthy Athletes. The successful and growing program has helped thousands of Special Olympic athletes receive the care they need, as well as increase awareness among health care providers, and the public.
Another speaker, Eva Grayzel shared her story of how a misread biopsy led to a delayed diagnosis of stage 4 oral cancer, followed by surgery, radiation, and intensive treatment. Her powerful story, including how it affected her family and thoughts of suicide, moved and inspired her audience about the critical importance of oral cancer screenings, effective communication, and patient education.
Eighty post-doctoral residents, some who are pursuing PhD and master’s degrees, presented their research during the two-day event to several faculty, who judged each poster for different categories; winners will be announced at Eastman Institute’s graduation ceremony June 30.
Leaders from the George Eastman-founded dental dispensaries in Rome, Paris, London and Stockholm shared remarks about their long-term success and enthusiasm about partnering with EIOH for collaborative work among the five institutions.
Music, another love of George Eastman, was incorporated into the celebrations through the Eastman School of Music’s Saxophone Project, who composed a special fanfare in honor of EIOH’s Centennial, and played it, along with other tunes at a reception Friday evening, and at the Gala.
A new video, featuring EIOH’s educational and research excellence, was played for the first time during the formal program of the sold-out Gala, along with a video featuring patients with varying conditions, and how their lives changed for the better after treatment. Congratulatory remarks were sent from the president of the American Dental Association and the CEO of Henry Schein, the world’s largest provider of health care products to office-based dental practitioners.
An auction, dinner and dancing and alumni reconnecting had the ballroom at the Hyatt Regency buzzing till after midnight.
An Eastman Institute tradition is an annual soccer tournament played by faculty and residents from the Advanced Education for General Dentistry against the Periodontics and Prosthodontics Departments. This year was no exception, and the AEGD maintained its title after a feisty, Sunday morning game. Final score 6 – 3.
Upcoming renovations to the main Eastman building will add 15 dental units specially designed to treat patients with complex diseases will begin later this year, as well as plans to invest in basic and clinically oriented research. For more information, contact Bryan Winters at 585-275-2767