The Dr Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund Inc announced the recipients of the 2014 Shils Awards at the Shils Fund Dinner in Philadelphia on October 29. The awards, named after the late Dr Edward B. Shils, recognize individuals, organizations, and programs that influence the dental community and the public oral health arena.

“Each year we host this event, we are increasingly proud to expand the pool of recipients to include truly outstanding members of the dental community, whose creativity, vision, and tenacity have pushed the boundaries and horizons for oral healthcare,” said Steve W. Kess, president of the Dr Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund’s Board of Directors. “Ed, an entrepreneur and educator of the highest caliber, would be proud of these individuals, whose pioneering work embodies Ed’s indelible memory of passion and tireless commitment to fostering growth, breaking new ground, and embracing challenges as opportunities.”

Serving as the executive director of the Dental Manufacturers of America and the Dental Dealers of America for almost 50 years, Shils earned six degrees, including three doctorates, from the University of Pennsylvania, where he became a full professor and chair of the management department at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He was also instrumental in establishing the Wharton Entrepreneurial Center, an institute dedicated to the academic study of entrepreneurialism.

The Shils Awards are broken into three categories: the Shils-Meskin Award, the Shils Award, and the Special Recognition Award. Bruce Donoff, MD, DMD, Dean of Harvard School of Dental Medicine, received the 2014 Shils-Meskin Award, named after Shils and Lawrence Meskin, DDS, PhD, a renowned dental educator and former dean of the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine. Donoff was recognized for his leadership on numerous expansive initiatives that incorporated oral health into overall healthcare issues, and for fostering professional education and international relationships that have led to public-private partnerships and benefited colleagues, the dental profession, Harvard, and the public.

“Bruce’s decades of service place him on the highest rung of leadership in the dental profession for the 20th and 21st centuries,” said D. Walter Cohen, DDS, chancellor emeritus of Drexel University College of Medicine and Co-chair of the Shils Awards Committee. “His research, renown throughout the oral health industry, and his use of his position to advocate on behalf of the many constituencies of the dental community make him such a well-deserved recipient of the Shils-Meskin Award. Bruce’s accomplishments, along with the other award winners, call attention to the high-watermark of achievement set by the best in the field.”

This year’s Shils Award winners, who receive a monetary prize, were comprised of academics, clinicians, and private sector organizations:

  • 3M ESPE, the dental division of 3M Corporation, received the award for its support of the American Dental Association‘s (ADA) Gives Kids A Smile® program (GKAS), which provides free oral health services to children and adolescents through the 3M NASCAR race series.
  • Linda Niessen, DMD, MPH, MPP, dean of Nova Southeastern University’s College of Dental Medicine, was recognized for her advocacy of the importance of oral health for seniors and for her research into geriatric dentistry and oral health public policy.
  • Irvin Silverstein, DDS, a San Diego-based periodontist, was cited for his mentorship of students in the UCSD Pre-Dental Society (which exposes undergraduate students to the profession of dentistry) and for helping place pre-dental students, dentists, other professionals, and pre-professional students on US Navy ships to conduct humanitarian outreach activities.

Special Recognition Award recipients included:

  • Dr Horst-Wolfgang Haase publisher of Quintessence Publishing Co Inc, received the award for global education and publishing work in the oral health community.
  • Marc Rothman, DMD, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon, was honored for his work as chairman of the Alpha Omega Foundation Inc (AOFUS), which funds dental health, education, and research worldwide.
  • Jeffrey Parker, CEO of Sarrell Dental Center, a non-profit that treats the dental and optical needs of Alabama children and youth ages 1 to 20, was recognized for transforming the center into a 14-clinic organization.
  • Dr Tracy Garland, Program Director of the National Interprofessional Initiative on Oral Health (NIIOH), received the award for leading NIIOH’s formation and attracting, retaining, and growing its philanthropic support.