Hirschberg Named President of American Association of Endodontists
Craig S. Hirschberg, chair of the Department of Endodontics at Rutgers School of Dental Medicine (RSDM), has been elected as the president of American Association of Endodontists (AAE), which represents specialty endodontics in North America.
“Getting involved in organized dentistry, whether it's on a local, state, national, or even international level is a worthwhile pursuit,” said Hirschberg. “It’s really great to have colleagues that you can collaborate with all over the country and the world.”
Hirschberg received his DDS from New York University and his certificate in endodontics from RSDM, then called New Jersey Dental School, in 1983. “What I love most about endodontics is [that] it's very diagnosis intensive, and there can be some real mysteries when it comes to diagnosing patients’ pain,” he said. “I love these diagnostic puzzles.”
He joined AAE when he started his endodontic training in 1981. But it wasn’t until the mid-2000s that he became active in organized dentistry; his mentor and then-chair of RSDM’s Endodontics Department, Gary Hartwell, got Hirschberg involved in committees and educator workshops. In 2012, he got nominated to AAE’s Board of Directors as District II Director, which encompasses Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York. “That's when things really sort of snowballed,” Hirschberg said. He was nominated as a trustee of the Foundation for Endodontics. He was nominated to AAE’s Executive Committee as AAE’s secretary, and then received the nomination as vice president, putting him in line to become the AAE president.
While most of AAE’s projects are set into motion years before any president reaches office, Hirschberg, in his new role, plans to appoint a special committee between AAE and its European counterpart, the European Society of Endodontology (ESE). His goal is to update the diagnostic terminology used internationally in clinical settings, research, academic institutions, journals, and textbooks. Most endodontic research is published by AAE’s Journal of Endodontics and ESE’s International Endodontics Journal. “It really makes sense for the quality of research that we're speaking the same diagnostic language,” he said. He is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Journal of Endodontics.
Besides the AAE, Hirschberg is a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics. He was the 2013 American Dental Education Association (ADEA)/AAE Foundation Scholar in the ADEA Leadership Institute. He serves on ADEA's Legislative Advisory Committee and the American Dental Association's Dental Admissions Testing Committee. He is a fellow of the International College of Dentists as well as the American College of Dentists.
Hirschberg’s teaching career at RSDM started in 2001. Initially, he taught one day a week, but he gradually increased his commitment, becoming a full-time faculty in 2009. He has been the chair of the Department of Endodontics since 2013.
“A message I have for our grads is that if they could find a way of teaching, even half a day per week, they are doing a real service to the dental profession,” he said. “The satisfaction of teaching is its own reward. I would encourage people to teach, get involved, and be a mentor.”