A Promise Fulfilled: TAU's New Postgraduate Dental Clinics Lay Cornerstone Thursday, June 14, 2012
Rothstein-Williamowsky Clinics will care for Tel Aviv's families and train Israel's dental specialists
Prof. Ilana Eli, Prof. Joseph Klafter, and Ben Williamowsky
Celebrating a season of renewal for the Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine, the cornerstone was laid for two new Rothstein-Williamowsky Postgraduate Clinics on Thursday, June 7, 2012, during Tel Aviv University's annual Board of Governors Meeting.
The new clinics, fitted with state-of-the art equipment in new operating suites and renovated treatment rooms, will provide sophisticated training for tomorrow's Israeli dental professionals and a quality care center for patients from the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. The Special Care Clinic will serve children with physical and emotional disabilities and others with special needs, and the Advanced Dental Care Clinic will provide specialty treatment in prosthodontics, periodontics, and endodontology.
Jon Gurkoff, Prof. Ilana Eli, Steven Kess, Danielle Martin, Ben Williamowsky, André Amiach, Dr. Marc Rothman, and Dr. Allen Finkelstein
The campaign to fund the clinics is a joint initiative of the Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity, which was instrumental in the School of Dentistry's founding four decades ago, and American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Dr. Marc Rothman, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who is chair of the Alpha Omega Foundation, and Steven William Kess, Vice President for Global Professional Relations at Henry Schein, Inc., co-chair the $2.7 million campaign.
The international oral care industry is a philanthropic partner in the effort, led by Henry Schein, Inc., the world's largest provider of health care products and services to office-based dental, medical and animal health practitioners. Chairman and CEO Stanley Bergman calls the new clinics "a crucible for the creation of new techniques" that illustrates the power of public-private partnerships.
Continuing a legacy
The clinics, part of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine, are named in honor of two passionate leaders of the effort to revitalize the School of Dental Medicine — the late Ralph Rothstein and Dr. Ben Williamowsky. Speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Williamowsky thanked all who have supported the project, and noted that the clinics would stand in "blessed memory" of his dear friend Ralph Rothstein, whom he called a "driving force" behind the project.
Danielle Martin and Ben Williamowsky
Dr. Williamowsky said he was grateful for the support of his family; the Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity; and the Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Dental Medicine, which is the only other dental school in Israel. He also expressed his gratitude for the commitment of TAU President Joseph Klafter, Dean Ilana Eli and the faculty of the Maurice and Gabriela Goldschleger School of Dental Medicine, and American Friends of Tel Aviv University's Chairman Jon Gurkoff and CEO Gail Reiss. "Every administration has been dedicated, but none as much as Prof. Klafter, who said emphatically that the dental school is here to stay."
Dr. Williamowsky was accompanied by his granddaughter Danielle, which Jon Gurkoff noted was a testament to the continuity of commitment from generation to generation. "The next generation will take care of what you have started today," said Gurkoff, himself a second generation supporter of the university.
Return to excellence
Following a long-time admissions freeze, The School of Dental Medicine opened its doors to 52 new students this academic year. "Now we can turn our aspirations towards the future," said Prof. Eli, the Head of the School. Seen as emblematic of the Dental School's revival, the clinics are an important leap forward in an era of change, she noted, with the hope that future generations will be inspired by their present efforts: "We will start with the task of rebuilding the school, and the effect of our labors will be felt for years to come."
Moving forward, the School of Dental Medicine will return to its rightful place as a center of excellence, said Tel Aviv University President Prof. Joseph Klafter, a partner in solving Israel's shortage of dental specialists, exacerbated by a recent law mandating free dental care for children through the age of 12. The Rothstein-Williamowsky Clinics represent a significant resource for modernized training and expanded treatment capacity that the country desperately needs.
"With your commitment and help," President Klafter told a packed room at the ceremony, "we are restoring the School to its rightful position as the best academic and professional center for dentistry in Israel."
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