News from the Colleges
Third Annual Dean's Colloquium Pairs Pulitzer Prize–Winning Book Critic Michael Dirda and NYUCD's Dr. Mark Wolff

From left, Dr. Michael Dirda, Dr. Brian Schmidt, and Dr. John Dolan

From left, Dr. Louis Terracio, Dr. Daniel Malamud, and Dr. Mark Wolff

Guests at the colloquium

From left, Mr. Stanley Bergman and Dr. Jonathan Ferencz

A slide from Dr. Wolff's presentation

In 2009, Dean Bertolami founded the Dean's Colloquium as an evening of dinner and discussion dedicated to bringing together major stakeholders in dental education, organized dentistry, and the corporate sector, along with selected NYU officials and external experts in a variety of areas to address the issue of what the NYU College of Dentistry can do that we are not already doing to make a meaningful difference in people's lives, especially people in the developing world.

In its first year, the colloquium featured remarks by Dr. John Howe III, president and CEO of Project HOPE, who spoke about a growing desire among people to volunteer, which led to a suggestion by Mr. Stanley Bergman, chairman and CEO of Henry Schein, that NYUCD implement a collaborative access to care model based on recruiting volunteer dentists who are members of the New York State Dental Association to join NYUCD's existing outreach infrastructure.

The following year, the colloquium featured a report by Dr. Mark Feldman, executive director of the New York State Dental Association and former president of the American Dental Association, on the progress to date of that model. The program also featured a presentation by Dr. Phil Borges, an orthodontist by training, who has documented indigenous and tribal cultures around the world for over 20 years in a series of award-winning exhibits, books, and multimedia projects, including “Bridges to Understanding,” an online program that connects youth worldwide through digital storytelling in order to enhance cross-cultural understanding and build a sense of global citizenship in youth.

Building on this distinctive approach of combining an intellectually inspiring presentation with updates on pragmatic approaches that NYUCD is taking to expand access to care, the 2011 colloquium began with recollections from Michael Dirda, Pulitzer Prize-winning book columnist for The Washington Post and former writer for The Washington Post Book World, on his reasons for pursuing a profession based on his love of reading. Dr. Dirda, who holds a PhD in comparative literature, was a boyhood friend of Dean Bertolami's. His discovery of books and his love of reading, he said, became his passport to the world, a strategy for transcending his humble origins and becoming comfortable in the wider world.

Following Dr. Dirda's remarks, Dr. Mark Wolff, professor and chair of the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care and associate dean for predoctoral clinical education, presented another kind of strategy for helping people to navigate the world more successfully. Dr. Wolff reported on the national oral health model developed by NYUCD for Grenada with the support of Henry Schein Cares and Colgate-Palmolive. In words and images, Dr. Wolff showed how sustainable oral health care could become a passport to a world of improved health and well-being for underserved populations around the world.