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The Chicago Society Announces 2022 Award Recipients at the 157th Midwinter Meeting

February 28, 2022
by Chicago Dental Society


The Annual Awards Recognize Scientific Excellence, Charitable Care and Community Impact

The Chicago Dental Society (CDS) has honored Dr. Michael DiTolla and Dr. George Zehak at the Keynote Session of the 157th Midwinter Meeting for their outstanding contributions to the dental profession. Dr. Michael DiTolla was presented with the Gordon J. Christensen Lecturer Recognition Award and Dr. George Zehak was presented with the Chicago Dental Society Foundation (CDSF) Vision Award in recognition of their dedication to academic and scientific excellence, volunteer services and overall commitment to oral health.

“Dr. Michael DiTolla and Dr. George Zehak are well-deserving recipients of the Gordon J. Christensen Lecturer Recognition Award and the CDSF Vision Award,” said 2022 CDS President Dr. Thomas Schneider Jr. “They both have made a significant impact on the field of dentistry throughout their respective careers, from Dr. DiTolla’s efforts to bring new technologies to the market and being named the ‘Most Effective Dental Educator’ to Dr. Zehak mobilizing dentists to provide free care to disadvantaged communities. We not only want to recognize those qualities and contributions but encourage others to follow in the steps of Dr. DiTolla and Dr. Zehak.”

The Gordon J. Christensen Lecturer Recognition Award is named in honor of Dr. Christensen’s many outstanding contributions to dentistry and the Midwinter Meeting.

Honoree: Dr. Michael DiTolla is the Vice President of Clinical Affairs and Communications at AEGIS Dental Network. He graduated from the University of the Pacific School of Dentistry and was awarded his Fellowship at the Academy of General Dentistry in 1995. After 15 years of private practice, Dr. DiTolla served as the Director of Clinical Education for Glidewell Labs for 15 years, providing him with extensive knowledge of the crown and bridge habits of American dentists. From 2006 to 2009, Dr. DiTolla led the clinical team that developed and delivered BruxZir Solid Zirconia to market, and in 2011, he received the “Most Effective Dental Educator” award in a nationwide survey of dentists. In 2015, Dr. DiTolla became the Director of Clinical Affairs for what is now Dentsply Sirona, and in 2021 he returned to private practice.  Dr. DiTolla is renowned for his entertaining lectures that blend humor and entertainment to engage attendees. He has provided more than 1,000 lectures to dentists worldwide, and his online videos have more than 15 million views.

The CDS Foundation Vision Award honors dedicated volunteers who generously support access to care programs and dental education for the underserved in their community, and practice the dental profession with integrity, honesty, and truthfulness with a commitment to protecting public trust.

Honoree: Dr. George Zehak operates his own private practice in Berwyn, Illinois, and is an adjunct faculty member at Midwestern University Dental School. Dr. Zehak has been extremely involved in organized dentistry throughout his career, holding membership and leadership positions with the Chicago Dental Society, Chicago Dental Society Foundation, Illinois State Dental Society, American Dental Association, Progressive Club and the Academy of General Dentistry. He also serves in an active role with the North East Regional Board, Commission of Dental Commission Accreditation and the Commission on Dental Competency Assessment and the Western Regional Examining Board. Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Zehak has held fellowships with the American College of Dentistry, International College of Dentistry, the Academy of Dentistry International, Pierre Fauchard Academy, Academy of General Dentistry, American Society of Osseous Integration and The Odontographic Society of Chicago, as well as a mastership in the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Zehak is also the recipient of the Life Long Learning Service Award from the Academy of General Dentistry and the Marshall A. Smulson Humanitarian Award. In 2021, Dr. Zehak delivered dental care to the Elgin, Illinois, community as Dental Director of the Heal Elgin Clinic, mobilizing senior dental students to provide more than $170,000 in procedures at no cost to more than 400 individuals in need.

The CDS Midwinter Meeting is one of the dental industry’s premier annual events – bringing together hundreds of exhibiting companies and thousands of attendees to create one of the largest exhibits of dental products and professional dentistry in North America. The Midwinter Meeting also connects attendees with the latest leaders and innovators in dentistry through top-tier continuing education courses that cover a range of topics and feature valuable hands-on workshops, lectures and live patient demonstrations.


About the Chicago Dental Society

Trust a Chicago Dental Society (CDS) dentist with more than just your smile. Talk with them and you’ll see their work is an investment in not just your oral health, but your overall health. They are current on the dental trends and technology through extensive CDS continuing education programs, including the Midwinter Meeting. Ranking among Chicago’s top 20 conventions, the CDS Midwinter Meeting – one of North America’s largest exhibits of dental products and professional dentistry – welcomes approximately 30,000 dental professionals each year and generates more than $32 million for the local economy (according to Choose Chicago). The largest local affiliate of the American Dental Association, the non-profit Chicago Dental Society represents dentists across the Chicago region. They’re your neighbors, friends and community anchors. Connect with the Chicago Dental Society at cds.org, where you’ll find our easy-to-navigate Find-a-CDS Dentist search tool. Or, connect on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

About the Chicago Dental Society Foundation

Guided by a belief that all families should have access to quality oral healthcare, the CDS Foundation has awarded more than $1 million to local dental clinics and programs that help get people the dental care they need. CDS members donate funds and time to the Foundation, and those resources are used to improve the public’s access to dental care programs and education. Specifically, the CDS Foundation provides: dental health care to low income residents at the CDS Foundation Clinic; grants to local non- profit organizations that provide access to care, and to the leading dentistry schools at universities in Illinois; programs to increase oral health literacy and access to care in our communities; opportunities for industries to support oral health; and accepts donations that honor or memorialize a loved one as enduring tributes that help further the mission of providing access to care.


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