The longer I am in practice, the more I realize that the education we received through Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Harvard Medical School far surpasses that of most post-graduate dental and medical schools. We took for granted having our own cubicles in the clinic and small class sizes for our pre-clinical and clinical training. However, what made Harvard School of Dental Medicine world class is that we were exposed to the finest minds in the world, most of whom treated us like we were part of their extended families.
So many professors made a difference in my training, such as Drs. Sobel, Norris and others, that I will not try to name them all. Most of them made it their mission to facilitate our success as dentists as well as mold us into people that would make a difference in the world around us. My entire life is better because of the impact Drs. Hollenberg and Guralnick have on my values and outlook on life. The four and a half years of research that I completed with Norman Hollenberg, MD, PhD at Harvard Medical School made a huge financial impact on my education but also allowed me to hone my deductive reasoning skills to research basic medical science, cardiology and radiology. Through Dr. Hollenberg I was even able to procure two coveted National Institute of Health post-graduate fellowships during my fifth year at HSDM. Walter Guralnick, DMD also presented me with opportunities that would not be available at most other dental schools. In the summer between my fourth and fifth years at HSDM (1987), Dr. Guralnick arranged for me to complete a one-month externship at Shanghai #9 Hospital in China. Since leaving HSDM, I have continued to lecture at scientific meetings and returned to basic medical science research while I was a medical student at Columbia School of Physicians and Surgeons. I have made multiple medical missionary trips at home and abroad and have set up Darien Cares to address the needs of underserved children in Connecticut with facial deformities. My desire to pursue research and medical missionary opportunities was fortified by the concern and encouragement of these two remarkable men.
This past summer, my son, Malcolm Newmark Hamilton-Hall, and I returned to Shanghai #9 Hospital and Dr. Guralnick’s friend, Dr. Qui Wei Liu, now the Chair Emeritus at Shanghai #9 Hospital. I have maintained my friendship with both of my mentors, Dr. Hollenberg and Dr. Guralnick. I credit HSDM for giving me the opportunity to have these two remarkable men and amazing role models, as well as countless professors at the medical school and dental school, in my life. Each one has made a difference in how I think, how I practice dentistry and medicine, how I treat my patients and how I appreciate my family and friends. The professors at Harvard School of Dental Medicine fostered a global outlook on medicine long before it was in vogue to do so.