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The Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund Celebrates its 20th Anniversary

October 28, 2022
by The Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund, Inc.


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Annual Awards Ceremony Held at University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine Recognized ‘Innovation’ and ‘Partnership’ Award Recipients

The Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to the recognition and development of innovative and entrepreneurial leaders in oral health care and named after the late Dr. Edward B. Shils, held its annual Shils Awards ceremony on October 19th. The ceremony took place at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, which celebrated the Fund’s 20th anniversary, and presented awards to tenured health care professionals, and rising stars in the field of oral care innovation.

At this year’s event, The Dr. Edward B. Shils Entrepreneurial Fund presented the Innovation Awards, which recognize individuals, organizations, and programs that have made a significant impact on the oral health community and public health overall. This year’s recipients include:

  • Dr. Rena D’Souza, Director, National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, in recognition of her “Excellence in Research” for the completion of the landmark report on Oral Health in America and leadership in advancing the movement of scientific findings to user communities.
  • Dr. Wardah Inam, CEO, Overjet, Inc., in recognition of her “Excellence in Industry” for innovation and entrepreneurial role for advancing oral health.
  • Dr. Mark Wolff, Morton Amsterdam Dean Professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, received the “Cohen-Volpe Award,” given to those who made great innovative strides in the health care space and named after Dr. D. Walter Cohen and Dr. Anthony Volpe, two extraordinary leaders in oral health innovation. The award recognizes Dr. Wolff’s innovative approach to re-establishing the generational relationship between Hebrew University and University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, and for outstanding leadership on behalf of individuals and communities in need.
  • The Santa Fe Group received the “Special Recognition Award,” given to individuals, organizations or programs that have made significant positive impacts on the dental community, in recognition of celebrating 25 years of advocacy to improve oral health for the public, the profession, and research.

In addition to the Innovation Awards, Partnership Awards were announced, which continue Ed Shils’ legacy of encouraging young entrepreneurs and students to compete and foster innovation in the field of oral health. Sponsored by Henry Schein, Inc., DMG, Septodont, Bank of America, and DICE, the awards were presented to the following recipients, who submitted innovative oral health care product, business, community advocacy, and health equity ideas. Each received a $5,000 prize and were assigned a health care industry leader mentor to support project research and development:

  • The Future Developers Award, which honors an individual or organization in the early-stages of an innovative product or business idea that will have a positive impact on the oral health care industry, was presented to Robert Choe, DMD, MS, University of Maryland College Park: “U Cleaner – The Oral Superwash.”
  • The Young Entrepreneur Award recognizes an individual between the ages of 18 and 40 with an entrepreneurial spirit and who initiates extraordinary project ideas that have a positive impact on the oral health care industry and was awarded to Jonathan Elbaz, Baz Dental: “Oral Care. Updated.”
  • The Diversity Innovation Award honors an individual or organization developing innovative programs aimed at advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion for students in the health care industry and was awarded to Shane Janick, MPH, Executive Director, The Arc of Philadelphia: “Advancing Oral Health Through Student Education with Special Populations.”
  • The Emerging Transformational Leadership Award recognizes an oral health advocate who has been exceptionally proactive in the oral health community to benefit the public’s overall health and was presented to Angeliz Rivera-Concepción and Skylar McGaughey, UNC-Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry: “SOAR – Sonrisas saludables through Oral Health Action and Readiness Program.”

During the gala, the Shils Fund also presented a panel discussion, “Driving Innovation to Advance Oral Health,” featuring Stanley M. Bergman, Chairman of the Board & CEO, Henry Schein, Inc.; Dr. Rena D’Souza, Director of the National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health; Dr. Teresa A. Dolan, Chief Dental Officer, Overjet, Inc.; and Michael Monopoli, Vice President, CareQuest Institute for Oral Health. Panelists discussed the current oral health landscape and developing new innovative strategies and products to advance population oral health.

As a result of this year’s Partnership Awards program, and the positive feedback received, Shils plans to continue to offer the Partnership Awards in 2023, and will be actively looking for new sponsors. For young entrepreneurs and students interested to apply next year, please visit Shils Partnership Awards Program.


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: www.ShilsFund.org.


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