American University of Beirut

Division of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics celebrates two decades of distinction

​Safa Jafari Safa,​​​​​​​​​​​​

The Division of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics celebrated the 20th anniversary of its founding on October 1, 2021. The event, which included a series of presentations by faculty, alumni, and residents, celebrated past achievements of the division and launched its third decade of presence and service.  

Presentations were made at the ceremony by head of division, Dr. Joseph Ghafari, and full-time faculty members Anthony Macari, Ramzi Haddad, and Kinan Zeno; in addition to current residents and Dr. Nabil Barakat on behalf of part-time faculty members. Video recordings of each graduating class were also played and various alumni participated online and in person.

The division was founded in October 2001 in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery. This came 61years after the closure of the AUB dental school (1910-1940) which was the first in Lebanon and the region, and was rated a “Class 'A' school ranked on the same level with any class 'A' schools in the United States of America," as stated by AUB President David Stuart Dodge in 1926.

Dr. Ghafari is a graduate of Saint Joseph University, Harvard University, and the University of Pennsylvania where he had been a professor of orthodontics. With the vision to build a new advanced scholarly and clinical model program that offers a combined three-year masters and residency, Ghafari recruited a body of teachers later described by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) as “excellent." They soon set a high bar for the admission of residents, graduates of Lebanese and international dental schools, who must pass a multifaceted examination to be accepted.

“In 2011, we celebrated our 10th anniversary with the motto: 10 Years Old and Growing," said Ghafari at the ceremony. “We have grown to adulthood with proven stellar performances, an international status, and worthy recognitions. Yet the most important source of satisfaction comes from the values we lived and nurtured with our patients and each other regardless of the occasional fallings, the bad odds. Our motto for today's anniversary is: 20-Year Journey: Making the Odds." 

The master's in orthodontics program was rated as “second to none" among all American orthodontic programs by the examiners of NYSED on three site visits (2013, 2016, and 2018). Consequently, NYSED approval was extended until 2026 before the renewal cycle.

“The division exemplifies the elite global standards that we achieve in AUB's Faculty of Medicine and our Medical Center, indeed across the whole university," wrote President Fadlo Khuri in the President's Perspective (February 2020) under the title “Hidden Gem in Medicine."

With an acceptance rate of less than 10 percent of residency/master's applicants, and a genuinely international intake, the division graduates top students in a field with major impact on oral health and wellbeing. It generates world-class research that interfaces with other medical disciplines, as well as engineering, basic sciences, public health, genetics, and nutrition.

“We pride ourselves at graduating residents trained with the latest technology and completing extensive clinical requirements combined with innovative and frontline research, rated as 'superb' by NYSED examiners," said Dr. Kinan Zeno, who heads the digital applications programs.

In addition to NYSED, the program is one of only a few non-US educational programs to be recognized as an American Dental Association Continuing Education Program provider. It has also received nearly 60 local, regional, and international awards that were presented to faculty members and residents for distinguished achievements or earned at scientific competitions. Further accomplishments are measured by the wealth of publications in international peer-reviewed journals, presentations at universities, and scientific meetings worldwide.

“The distinct position of our dental program as an entity in the Faculty of Medicine, unlike the traditional model at a dental school, has allowed us to steer a multifaceted inter-professional outreach with other faculties at AUB," said Associate Professor Anthony Macari. “These collaborations have yielded advances in our respective fields, some of which are internationally recognized." ​


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