Dean Receives Shils-Meskin Award for Innovation in Dental Education

October 30, 2023

Christian S. Stohler, DMD, DrMedDent, dean of the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, was honored at the 2023 Shils Entrepreneurial Fund Annual Awards held on October 17 at the

Keith Drayer, president of the Shils Fund, presenting Dean Stohler with the Shils-Meskin Award

University of Pennsylvania. Dean Stohler received the Shils-Meskin Award, which recognizes innovation in dental education.

The awards, named for the late Dr. Edward B. Shils, who served as executive director of the Dental Manufacturers of America and the Dental Dealers of America for almost 50 years, are given to members of the oral healthcare community who advance innovation in oral health and its impact on overall health and empower the next generation of dental entrepreneurs. Through investing in and championing award programs, the Shils Fund recognizes outstanding individuals, organizations, and programs that positively influence the oral health community and public health.

Introducing Dr. Stohler, David Kochman, vice president corporate affairs and deputy chief of staff for Henry Schein, Inc., called the Shils-Meskin Award one of the highest honors bestowed by the Shils Fund.

“Dean Stohler is a leader and a futurist in oral health,” Kochman said. “He is a noted thought leader and champion of the importance of integrating oral health into overall medicine. He continues to advance the school’s stature and influence within the academic community while also championing programs to expand access to care to vulnerable populations.”

Accepting the award, Dean Stohler said that the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship embedded in the Shils Fund have helped to rethink dental education in order to create a new kind of workforce that is much better matched to the world in which we live.

“Dean Stohler’s unwavering dedication to advancing the field of dentistry is an inspiration to us all. His commitment to excellence, innovation, and patient care has truly set a standard for us to aspire to,” said Arthur Mateen, executive vice president of Bien Air and member of the Shils Entrepreneurial Fund. “The board of directors of the Shils Entrepreneurial Fund recognizes your achievements that continue to drive us forward in our mission to transform dentistry for the better."

Uri Hangorsky, DDS’74, who is a member of the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania Dental Medicine, said of Dean Stohler that “he has a great vision for dental education and under his leadership CDM maintains a very special character, specifically the integration of dental education with medical education.” Hangorsky said that under the dean’s leadership CDM has become known for encouraging students who want to continue their education. “A very high percentage of graduates choose postgraduate programs. CDM creates lifelong learners.”

The Shils Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to innovative approaches and entrepreneurial leadership to advance oral health. From dental student innovation competitions showcasing young entrepreneurs to the sponsorship of career development and mentorship programs for aspiring dental entrepreneurs, the Shils Fund cultivates innovation and enriches the next generation of oral health care leaders.