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The Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund Honors Outstanding Innovators

Posted on Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to innovative leadership in health care and named after the late Dr. Edward B. Shils, held its virtual 2020 Shils Awards ceremony on October 13. The Shils Awards are given annually to recognize individuals, organizations and programs that have made significant positive impacts on the oral health community and the health of the public.

Dr. Edward B. Shils legacy lives on in elevating the contributions of the next generation. Because of his stewardship, scholarship, and encouragement of innovative business practices in dentistry, the Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund was established by the dental industry to recognize those whose contributions reflect a similarly enduring commitment to innovation in the field of oral health.

The 2020 Shils Fund Innovator Awards were presented to:

-Richard Valachovic, DMD, MPH, ADEA President (Retired) – In recognition of his “Excellence in Academia” for his successful stewardship of ADEA and your lifelong commitment of strengthening and expanding dental education in the United States and throughout the world.

-Robert Ganley, Former CEO, Ivoclar Vivadent, Inc., – In recognition of his “Excellence in Industry” for outstanding leadership of Ivoclar Vivadent, Inc. and its innovative research and product development programs to help the dental profession improve the quality of care for its patients.

-Eve Cuny, RDA, MS and Kathy Eklund, RDH, MHP, The Organization for Safety Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) – in recognition of their “Excellence in a Nonprofit Organization Award” for each’s 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 Eve. “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.”

Blake M. Warner, DDS, PhD, MPS, Assistant Clinical Investigator, National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research – In recognition of his “Excellence in Research” ground-breaking studies in the NIH Clinical Center that is central to the COVID-19 pandemic and its mitigation.

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 Officer, U.S. 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. RADM Ricks’ selfless leadership helped facilitate building 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 our country. "I was both honored and humbled by the Special Recognition Award presented by the Edward B. Shils Board of Directors," said RADM 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. 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." A second Special Recognition Award was received by Philadelphia FIGHT Health Care Centers, for the 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 named after Dr. Edward Shils and Dr. Lawrence Meskin, a renowned dental educator and former Dean of the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine and is given to those of great character and modesty in the face of renowned achievement and well-deserved recognition, was given to Dr. Michael Alfano, Professor, Dean & Executive Vice President Emeritus of NYU for his exceptional leadership and expertise as a researcher, educator, author, business executive, academic leader and international thought leader for over 4 decades. Having known and worked with Dr. Edward Shils and fellow Santa Fe Group co-founder, Dr. Larry Meskin, Dr. Alfano is uniquely qualified for this special recognition. "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 Dr. Alfano. I am honored to receive the Shils-Meskin Award this year, two giants in the world of oral health."

The Cohen-Volpe Award is given to those who have made outstanding contributions to dentistry or its allied sciences, and is named for two distinguished clinicians, researchers, and educators: Dr. D. Walter Cohen and Dr. Anthony Volpe. This year’s award was presented to Dan Perkins, Owner/CEO, 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 the professional teams and the public. In addition, Mr. Perkins close association with both Dr. Cohen and Dr. Volpe and hi appreciation and publishing of their important contributions, made him an ideal recipient of this special recognition award.

Presenter and Sponsor Stanley M. Bergman, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Henry Schein, Inc.—the world's largest provider of health care solutions to office-based dental and medical practitioners—delivered remarks about his personal relationship with Dr. Shils and the effect Dr. Shils had on so many people. “I have never met anyone who matched Ed’s entrepreneurial zeal and enthusiasm to connect people,” said Mr. Bergman. “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.”

Additionally, this year we had the special opportunity to recognize Ed Shil’s beloved wife of over 70 years, Shirley Shils, as she celebrated her 100th birthday.

About The Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund, Inc.

Friends and colleagues of Dr. Shils, who are also prominent leaders in the dental industry, founded the Dr. Edward D. Shils Entrepreneurial Education Fund in 2002 because they knew that Dr. Shils wanted to leave a legacy of entrepreneurship. In 2012, the Fund was renamed The Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund, Inc. and became a registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Through annual awards, partnerships and other branded events, the Fund honors the pioneering vision of Dr. Shils and helps foster inspiration and initiative in current and future healthcare entrepreneurs. For more information, please visit:

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