Dean Emeritus Allan Formicola Wins Gies Award
On Mar. 20, 2017, Allan J. Formicola, DDS, dean emeritus of the College of Dental Medicine (CDM), will receive a William J. Gies Award for outstanding achievement as a dental educator at a ceremony in conjunction with the American Dental Education Association’s (ADEA) Annual Session and Exhibition in Long Beach, Calif.
Named after Columbia biochemist and CDM co-founder, the award honors individuals and organizations that exemplify the highest standards of vision, innovation, and achievement in dental medicine. CDM and its faculty have received two previous Gies Awards, given by the ADEAGies Foundation, the philanthropic arm of ADEA.
“As dean for nearly one quarter of the school’s 100-year history, Dr. Formicola made a lasting impact not only at Columbia but within our field,” said Christian S. Stohler, DMD, DrMedDent, dean of the College of Dental Medicine and senior vice president of Columbia University Medical Center. “We are honored that he continues his important work here, most recently by authoring a seminal text chronicling our school’s 100-year history.”
During his deanship from 1978 to 2001, Dr. Formicola oversaw a number of critical advances to the school’s educational, patient care, and service work. Driven by the college’s founding principle that oral health is inseparable from overall health, he led the charge in restructuring the predoctoral curriculum and expanding the Presbyterian Hospital (now NewYork Presbyterian) residency programs, which now include oral and maxillofacial surgery, pediatric dentistry, and general dentistry.
In collaboration with the late Dr. James McIntosh, former director of Harlem Hospital’s dental service, he helped shift the focus of CDM’s dental service from primarily emergency care to comprehensive oral health care. The affiliation he forged with Harlem Hospital also led to the creation of the Harlem Hospital-Columbia Postdoctoral Residency Program in 1988, which allows underrepresented minority residents in dentistry to complete postdoctoral specialty studies at Columbia.
To expand the school’s service work, in 1995 he helped create the Community DentCare Network to offer care to underserved patients. DentCare now provides patient-centered dental services through six school-based clinics and a mobile dental center that reaches communities throughout Northern Manhattan. “Building this alliance between school-based preventative dentistry, neighborhood primary care practices, and professional training sites was a team effort between the school, the community, and partnering foundations,” said Dr. Formicola. “The work we began helps the school serve vulnerable and underserved populations while training future oral health care professionals.”
Though he has undertaken many roles throughout his distinguished career—most recently he chronicled the school’s 100-year history in a 2016 book although he began as a periodontist in private practice—Dr. Formicola is a teacher at heart. “It’s such a privilege to work in a space where knowledge is constantly being created,” said Dr. Formicola. “And it is inspiring to be surrounded by students who will ultimately shape the future of oral health care. So to be honored for my part in guiding future generations is truly rewarding.”
Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, among the first university-affiliated dental schools in the United States, was founded in 1916. As part of a world-class medical center, the school trains general dentists and dental specialists in a setting that emphasizes the interconnection between oral health care and overall health for both individuals and communities. The school supports research to advance personalized, evidence-based oral health care and contribute to the professional knowledge base for future leaders in the field. In its commitment to service learning, the school provides dental care to underserved communities of Northern Manhattan and also engages in dental and oral health care capacity-building initiatives abroad. Its faculty has played a leadership role in advancing the inclusion of oral health programs in national health care policy and has developed novel programs to expand oral care locally and in developing countries. For more information, visit dental.columbia.edu.
Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, preclinical, and clinical research; medical and health sciences education; and patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and State and one of the largest faculty medical practices in the Northeast. The campus that Columbia University Medical Center shares with its hospital partner, NewYork-Presbyterian, is now called the Columbia University Irving Medical Center. For more information, visit cumc.columbia.edu or columbiadoctors.org.