Henry Maurice Goldman: Dental Educator and Pioneer

By Dr. Robert Goldman

Dr. Henry Maurice Goldman’s dream to advance dentistry beyond a trade into a biological science materialized because of his foresight and unremitting hard work. His sacrifice was only overshadowed by his dedication and irrefutable energy. As Dr. Goldman’s nephew, my insights were developed as one of his students. I followed in his footsteps and trained as an oral pathologist and periodontist. I spent many years training and practicing in these fields, but I was extremely fortunate to reap the benefit of his tutelage. I rendered as objective a story as was possible in “Henry Maurice Goldman: Dental Educator and Pioneer” because I wanted to channel his thinking in a manner that would characterize his stream of consciousness. This book is the result of all the thoughts and decisions he possessed to make the dental profession more than it was and to leave it as self-perpetuating with the future advances that would come from the research and teaching programs he initiated. The continuing education and formal training programs today are the end result of so many of the practitioners whose educational development sprung from this source.

Dr. Henry Maurice Goldman’s story is worth the time for all dentists to read — he was the man who brought dentistry into the modern era. The dental profession’s foundation had already been set long before he was born. However, like Arnold Palmer in golf, Albert Einstein in physics and Nicola Tesla in electricity and technology, Dr. Goldman coordinated all of the existing intelligence in the dental profession before World War II and gave it relevance. He served as the dental chief of the Armed Services Institute of Pathology in Washington, D.C. as an Army captain in the war. During this time, he realized that periodontal health was the foundation to optimal dental health in general. He linked dental and systems medicine, and embodied their mutual dependence in laying the grassroots of specialty education.

In the early 1950s, the dean at the University of Pennsylvania asked him to start a graduate periodontal training program, which gradually became one of the premier programs in periodontal prosthesis. In 1958, Dr. Goldman returned to his hometown, Boston, where he started the Department of Stomatology at Boston University. His mindset, however, was concentrated on something that would spring the dental profession into a much more coordinated relationship with all the dental specialties. Thus, after much effort and dedication, he built the first and only dental school for graduate specialty education. In 1963, the Boston University School of Graduate Dentistry opened up with Dr. Goldman serving as its first dean. But, make no mistake — he was the brains and brawn behind its birth and development. As a researcher and practitioner, his own pilot efforts in oral biology, oral medicine, oral pathology and periodontology fields enabled all the then-existing ADA-recognized specialties to come together under one roof for advanced training with its underpinnings based in the biological sciences. The integrative approach to specialty training matured under his leadership, and gradually through his worldwide reputation, dentists came from around the world to train at Boston University. This resulted in a tree of well-trained specialists in all dental fields who in turn initiated their own programs throughout the United States and countries far and wide. Thus, Dr. Goldman took what were mostly apprenticeships and small university training programs, and significantly expanded them under one roof so there was a steady rise in the number of dentists with enhanced training returning to their homes all over the world. The result is that dentists today pretty much owe their education to this growing wave of educators that blossomed from Boston University. Today, the school is now eponymously named for him as the Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine at Boston University.

Dentists and lay people alike can appreciate the coordinated efforts that went into the development and maturation process of dental education with its unique twists and turns as it grew into the monolith that it is today. Reading this book, you can see its origins as Dr. Goldman’s ambitions became solidly defined and palpable as Boston University grew and influenced so many countries around the world. Teachers today somehow are linked directly or indirectly to the medical center he grew in prestige and reputation. Reading this book would be beneficial for all dentists and lay people who would like to understand the educational origin of their dentists.

Please go to http://robertallyngoldman.com/ for more information on the book.

Thank you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: