BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Two outstanding University at Buffalo
innovators in dental medicine have recently been honored by
national organizations for their contributions to dental
John Eisner, DDS, PhD, associate professor emeritus, has
received the Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry's
(ACFD) Distinguished Service Award.
Roger Triftshauser, DDS, UB '61, has received the American
Student Dental Association's (ASDA) 2012 Paragon Award.
Eisner is described by Bruce Graham, dean of the University of
Chicago's College of Dental Medicine, as "the only colleague who
had a truly transformative impact on dental education. He has had a
remarkable career filled with innovative and progressive
The impact Eisner had was on the development of information
management systems that have been used in admissions and
course/student evaluations in dental education.
Eisner started his career as a professor of community dentistry,
but began taking on administrative roles, especially in information
technology, first at Dalhousie University in Canada, and then,
starting in 1989, at UB.
In a 2009 interview, Eisner recalled that when he was associate
dean for information resources in 1993, Louis Goldberg, the UB
dental school's former dean, asked him to develop a program that
would streamline the school's admissions process.
"I told him we could write a program just for UB and I could do
it in about six months," remembered Eisner, who was also chairing
an information technology advisory committee for the American
Dental Education Association. "But I knew that other schools were
also facing the same challenge, so I asked the dean if he would
mind if, instead, we wrote an industrial-strength version that we
could then sell to other schools."
In 1995, the company sold three copies of AdMIT through a
non-profit organization that was run through the UB Foundation; the
following year, it sold six.
After that, Eisner said, "sales went through the roof."
In 2009, there were "more than 200 admissions software
customers, not just at dental schools but in other health
professions schools," he said.
The ACFD Distinguished Service Award is not conferred annually,
but only when a member has made a contribution of sweeping
significance to the field of dentistry.
Eisner has also been honored with the 2009 UB Faculty
Entrepreneur Award and recognized in 2002 by the State University
of New York as being an outstanding inventor at UB in the
Triftshauser, an orthodontist and 1961 UB dental school alumnus,
was nominated for his award by Richard F. Andolina, a UB dental
student set to graduate in 2013 and current president of the
Andolina describes Triftshauser as "a life-long friend and
mentor, a game changer in dentistry."
At UB's School of Dental Medicine, Triftshauser was responsible
for involving the American College of Dentists (ACD) in
implementing a course on ethics that is now part of the freshman
introductory curriculum. On Ethics Day, as it is now known, he and
his colleagues from the New York State Dental Association (NYSDA)
and the ACD take a day to interact with the freshman class and
lecture on dentistry's core ethical values.
A Batavia resident, Triftshauser and his colleagues return to
Buffalo to address all dental school classes in an evening lecture
and open forum to discuss the tripartite system of organized
dentistry and the importance of membership in the American Dental
Association (ADA), the American Dental Political Action Committee
(ADPAC) and state PACs.
Triftshauser's relationship with the ASDA began when he was vice
chair of the ADA's Council on Government Affairs in the early
1990s. He later served as a member of ADPAC, which he chaired from
2009-11, and was able to interact with students on a national
In addition to mentoring dental students and participating in
dental organizations, Triftshauser has served in his own community
as a member of the board of education, a county legislator and an
advisor to former New York State Gov. George Pataki.
Triftshauser says, "It is an individual decision as to how
involved anyone will be. It's more challenging now than ever to
find time and if you do not have time to be involved, stay educated
on the issues and always advocate membership."
ASDA Executive Director Nancy Honeycutt says Triftshauser's
"passion for the profession is contagious and he commands respect.
He continues to be a role model for all of us."