Something to Smile About: Two EIOH Residency Programs Named Best in the U.S.

Jun. 22, 2022
Periodontics faculty teaching a group of residents
Dr. Elli Anna Kotsailidi, Periodontology assistant professor, discusses a patient case with residents.

The Periodontology and Pediatric Dentistry Residency Programs at the University of Rochester’s Eastman Institute for Oral Health are the best in the United States, according to 2022 rankings and reported by Becker’s Dental & DSO Review.

"This recognition is another outstanding example of how our faculty and staff work so thoroughly and diligently to provide exceptional training for our residents," said Eli Eliav, D.M.D., Ph.D., professor and director, Eastman Institute for Oral Health. “Among the different criteria used is the diversity of the student body and faculty, which we are very proud of.”

The ranking is determined by weighing a variety of metrics and algorithms using the latest and most robust U.S. government data sets, specifically the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and College Scorecard, according to its website.

Portrait of Dr. Jack Caton
Dr. Jack Caton, chair Periodontology

The Periodontology and Pediatrics Residency programs are among EIOH’s 10 advanced and specialty programs where dentists from 96 countries have traveled for training. All 10 programs are fully approved by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, the sole agency to accredit post-secondary level dental education programs and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. A team of Commission-appointed peers conduct regular, in–depth site visits to evaluate all educational and administrative aspects of each program.

In the Periodontology program, residents benefit from using the latest technology to learn how to conduct a fully digital workflow for implant rehabilitations and laser procedures, perform advanced techniques like extensive horizontal and vertical ridge augmentations, dental implants and perioplastic surgeries.

“We have talented faculty who are dedicated to providing a first-class education, allowing us to attract excellent residents,” added Dr. Jack Caton (Perio ’73, MS ’73), chair, EIOH Periodontology, “and we have strong support from leadership.”

“We have an excellent collaboration with Prosthodontics and Orthodontics, which allows residents to treat very complex cases in a comprehensive way,” said Dr. Alexandra Tsigarida, program director for Periodontology. “They go through rigorous training on IV sedation, which makes them eligible for full licensure upon graduation.”

Dr. Wong teaching a resident in the OR
Dr. Cynthia Wong (right) teaches residents in the operating room each week.

Dr. Sean McLaren, chair, Pediatrics Dentistry, agrees that it’s quality faculty members and their dedication that set the EIOH programs apart.

“Everyone here is committed to EIOH and giving the residents a high quality education, as well as their own professional development,” said Dr. McLaren (GPR ’03, Pedo ’06, MS ’19, MBA ’22).

Early adapters of online education before Covid, the Pediatric Dentistry Division is comprised of several faculty who have earned their master’s degree in education at Warner’s School of Education, and as a result transformed the program’s instruction and evaluation. Residents receive extensive clinical training to treat a wide range of patient populations including children in underserved communities, with medically complex and other special needs, and in the operating room.

As Dr. McLaren soon begins his new role as Chief Quality, Compliance and Safety officer and the director of the Office of Quality Improvement and Compliance, he is passing the baton to fellow alum Dr. Cynthia Wong (Pedo ‘13, MS ‘15), the department’s program director who was named interim chair of the department.

Dr. Mapes supervising a resdient
Dr. Oriana Mapes supervises in the EIOH Pediatric Dentistry Clinic

Dr. Wong credits the success of the program in part to the recruitment process, which aims to pursue candidates not only for their academic achievements, but who share compatible values.

“Also, collaborations with our colleagues throughout the medical center benefit residents immensely,” she added. “For example, EIOH pediatric dentistry residents worked with hematology-oncology residents to help increase awareness and management of painful oral sores that patients undergoing cancer treatment frequently experience.”  

Founded in 1917, Eastman Institute for Oral Health at the University of Rochester Medical Center, is a world leader in research, post-doctoral education and clinical care, and is consistently ranked in the top 10 of NIH/NIDCR funding.