Shils Awards Recognize Dental Leaders

Dentistry Today


The Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund recognized clinicians, executives, and other dental leaders for their significant positive impacts on the oral health community and on public health during its virtual 2020 Shils Awards Ceremony on October 13.

The 2020 Shils Fund Innovator Awards were presented to:

  • Richard Valachovic, DMD, MPH, retired president of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA): In recognition of his “Excellence in Academia” for his successful stewardship of ADEA and his lifelong commitment to strengthening and expanding dental education in the United States and throughout the world.
  • Robert Ganley, former CEO of Ivoclar Vivadent: In recognition of his “Excellence in Industry” for outstanding leadership of Ivoclar Vivadent and its innovative research and product development programs to help the dental profession improve the quality of care for its patients.
  • Blake M. Warner, DDS, PhD, MPS, assistant clinical investigator at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research: In recognition of his “Excellence in Research” groundbreaking studies in the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center that is central to the COVID-19 pandemic and its mitigation.
  • Eve Cuny, RDA, MS, and Kathy Eklund, RDH, MHP, of the Organization for Safety Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP): In recognition of their “Excellence in a Nonprofit Organization Award” for their lifelong commitment to education of the dental community and OSAP, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was so honored to receive the Shils Fund Award with my good friend and colleague Kathy Eklund,” said Cuny.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, OSAP has responded by providing evidence-based education and assistance to dental teams and the dental industry. In the true spirit of the Edward B. Shils fund, OSAP has done this by being flexible, responsive, forward-thinking, and sensitive to the needs of the profession and the public we all serve. It has been a privilege to play a role in helping dentistry move forward safely,” Cuny said.

The Special Recognition Award, which acknowledges people and programs for their work to improve the oral health and well-being of others, was presented to Timothy L. Ricks, DMD, MPH, FICD, Rear Admiral (RADM), Assistant Surgeon General, Chief Dental Office, US Public Health Service, for his leadership and stewardship of creating an oral health collaborative for the public and private sectors of the oral health community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ricks’ selfless leadership helped facilitate the building of an innovative network between government agencies and public/private organizations for programs, information, and relationships that improved the oral health community’s ability to provide safe and effective emergency services at the most critical period of the disease’s impact on the country, the Shils Fund said.

“I was both honored and humbled by the Special Recognition Award presented by the Edward B. Shils Board of Directors,” said Ricks.

“To me, this was a group award to recognize and honor the many different dental organizations, state partners, and federal agencies that all came together at the beginning of this pandemic to form the COVID-19 Public-Private Partner Dental Coordination Group,” Ricks said.

“I am so blessed to be surrounded by such strong oral health advocates who selflessly and tirelessly work to improve the health of all Americans and am so appreciative to the Shils Fund to be included in this year’s awards program among many legends in oral health,” said Ricks.

The Shils Fund also awarded a second Special Recognition Award to Philadelphia FIGHT Health Care Centers for Philadelphia FIGHT Family Dentistry’s commitment to providing comprehensive primary oral and overall health services to neighborhood community residents in Philadelphia.

The Shils-Meskin Award was given to Dr. Michael Alfano, professor, dean, and executive vice president emeritus of New York University for his exceptional leadership and expertise as a researcher, educator, author, business executive, academic leader, and international thought leader for more than four decades.

The award is named after Shils and Dr. Lawrence Meskin, a renowned dental educator and former dean of the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine. Alfano knew and worked with both Shils and Meskin.

“The Shils Entrepreneurial Fund provides great inspiration and educational support to a broad variety of people from the academy, the corporate world, and the not-for-profit sector including special recognition for students,” said Alfano. “I am honored to receive the Shils-Meskin Award this year, two giants in the world of oral health.”

The Cohen-Volpe Award was given to Dan Perkins, owner and CEO of Aegis, for his championing of the importance of oral health in its own right and as part of its vital role in primary care for professional teams and the public. The award is named after Dr. D. Walter Cohen and Dr. Anthony Volpe, who were distinguished clinicians, researchers, and educators. Perkins knew and worked with Cohen and Volpe as well.

“I have never met anyone who matched Ed’s entrepreneurial zeal and enthusiasm to connect people,” said Stanley M. Bergman, presented and sponsor of the awards and chairman of the board and CEO of Henry Schein, discussing Dr. Edward B. Shils.

“He had an enduring quest for learning and a charismatic optimism that empowered everyone around him, especially young people. We should keep his vision clearly in our minds, his example strong in our hearts, and we should work together to expand the impact of the Shils Fund so we can pass Ed’s enduring legacy from generation to generation,” Bergman said.

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