About Dr. Elliot Feinberg
About the Life of Dr. Elliot Feinberg
Dr. Elliot Feinberg practiced dentistry in Scarsdale from 1948 to December, 1999. His lifetime accomplishments are too numerous to count, and he has touched the lives of many—patients and dentists alike. He was an expert in the field of prosthetic reconstruction who completed thousands of full mouth cases that are documented with photographs. He was a clinical professor for both NYU and Temple Universities and the author of a textbook [Full Mouth Restoration in Daily Practice] that was a best seller in at least four languages. He was always been eager to share his knowledge and help others. A highly experienced and dynamic lecturer, he regularly gave courses all over the country. As a measure of thanks for this dedication, the Ninth District Dental Society (Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess, Orange and Putnam Counties) bestowed on him in 1976 its highest award—the D. Austin Sniffen Medal of Honor. In 1998 Dr. Feinberg received the Dental Society of the State of New York’s highest award—the Jarvie Burkhardt award, which recognizes outstanding service to mankind through Dentistry.
Education was the focus of Dr. Feinberg’s career right from the start. After graduating from NYU School of Dentistry in 1945 and serving as a Captain in the United States Army Dental Corps, Dr. Feinberg met his mentor, Dr. I Franklin Miller. Dr. Miller inspired him to a lifelong pursuit of idealism and continuing education, which ultimately led to teaching. Dr. Feinberg became the first instructor to present a course for the Ninth’s CE program. The resulting acclaim proved that continuing education could be successful in a suburban environment. In order to bring top speakers to the Ninth District Area for group study, Dr. Feinberg founded the Ninth’s Restorative Conference and served as its chairman for more than 10 years.
In 1957, Dr. Feinberg began offering two courses a year for the Ninth at no honorarium. These courses–a course in fixed bridgework and a course in precision attachment partial dentures–were on the Ninth’s CE roster until 1997. He was assisted by his students–and close friends–Elbridge Devine, Samuel Jacobs, Jr., and Edward Feinberg. Unique in the profession, the courses featured live demonstration of his techniques on patients. Often the patients were given substantial discounts that enabled them to have sophisticated Dentistry that they would otherwise be unable to afford. Participants were also treated to lectures created from a library of more than 100,000 slides. In order to provide continuing education for the graduates of these courses, Dr. Feinberg founded the Westchester Academy of Restorative Dentistry, a Ninth District affiliated study group charted by the state of New York in 1965. The Academy has over 100 members that meet several times each year.
Relatively late in his career, Dr. Feinberg became active in organized dentistry’s “political” arena. Former ADA, DSSNY and Ninth District President Abe Kobren was the catalyst for his involvement. He also received encouragement from the late Max Goldstein and Bill Mercier. Dr. Feinberg served the Ninth as a committee chairman, board member, officer and president (1980). For many years he served the Ninth as chairman of the Past Presidents Committee, ensuring positive relationships among Ninth members and staff and with state society officials. At the state level Dr. Feinberg held every type of position. During his six year tenure as treasurer (1989-1994), he shaped DSSNY’s financial policies and vastly increased its reserve fund. He continued up the ladder of the Executive Committee and served DSSNY as president in 1997. Dr. Feinberg made such on impact on the state society that he posthumously received the Distinguished Service Award last June. For much of his career Dr. Feinberg raised awareness of the importance of EDPAC, Dentistry’s voice in the state legislature. He continually reminded his colleagues that they had a duty to support lobbying efforts critical to their own futures.
“The real advantage of continuing education”, Dr. Feinberg once said, “is the ability to do Dentistry better and quicker with the least amount of problems. Continuing Education is the key to enjoyment in Dentistry”.
EF Some thought on My Father’s Passing
Some Thoughts on My Father’s Passing
By Edward Feinberg, DMD
The past few months since my father’s passing have been filled with reflection—alone, with colleagues, friends and patients. I still hear his voice in the office, although he is not physically there, and I feel his presence with every job well done. Now that he is gone, I have profound appreciation for the special relationship that we shared. He was my mentor, my idol, my partner, and my friend.
I learned so much from my father. I learned something from him every day that we practiced together over the past 22 years. I attended every one of his courses—lectures for various dental societies, in-office demonstration courses in prosthetic dentistry, and seminars for his academy. Even though I knew most of the material “cold” (I was there every day), there was not a single presentation where I did not learn something! Every lecture featured different cases, the likes of which can be seen nowhere else. These cases were documented in a library of more than 100,000 slides dating back to 1950. My father developed sound and simple techniques for advanced prosthetic dentistry, and even invented instruments to facilitate those techniques. I am awed by the depth of my father’s accomplishment. He was—without question—a true genius.
But there was much, much more that I learned from my father than how to do incredible dentistry. He shaped my core values. He was the most idealistic person I ever met—always striving for perfection, never settling for what he knew in his heart could be done better. I saw him remake impressions, castings—whole cases–that 99% of his colleagues would have been happy to accept. From him I learned to be my own “worst critic” and to strive for my fullest potential in all my endeavors. He was a difficult taskmaster with high demands and even higher expectations. Although he never expected more from me than he expected from himself, it took me a long time to come to grips with his tough exterior. When I discovered his secret—that he really was a pussycat wearing a lion suit—our relationship blossomed. My father was–without a doubt–the most dedicated individual I have ever met. Even in the last stages of illness, he practiced high quality dentistry with Herculean effort. All he ever wanted was to practice the profession he loved.
A great humanitarian, my father often went to the “edge of hell” to help a colleague, friend, or patient. He helped patients who desperately wanted, but couldn’t afford his dentistry; and many of them became demonstration models for his prosthetic courses. He shared with colleagues innovative techniques and concepts openly, honestly and unselfishly. Most of his teachings returned little or no honorarium. Never once did he refuse a plea for help, and often he imparted guidance on an individual basis. My father always felt an obligation to help others because he was helped by his teacher, Dr. I. Franklin Miller; and he thanked Dr. Miller at every one of his courses. My father was also inspired by former ADA, DSSNY and Ninth District President Abe Kobren to become involved organized dentistry; and he continued his involvement until the day he died. “People who love dentistry and do great dentistry must play an active role in what is happening in the political arena of dentistry”, he often said.
I am overwhelmed by how much one individual can impact the lives of others. In the months since my father’s passing, I have read hundreds of letters that were sent to the office during and after his 55-year career. They are all letters of profound gratitude—thank you, Dr. Feinberg, for revitalizing my career, for giving me such beautiful dentistry, for enriching my life. Even the sympathy cards contain handwritten letters of gratitude! These letters have given me great comfort, and I am profoundly grateful.
I am glowingly proud of my father and I celebrate his rise to incredible accomplishment from humble beginnings. He has proven that there is no limit to what can be achieved as long as there is desire, continuing eduation, and persistence. My father willed himself to become a “dentist’s dentist”—and as a result, he became a godsend to many and a role model for generations to come. How lucky I was to have known him, to have worked with him, to have learned from him and to have become inspired by him. I will carry his spirit in my heart forever.
About D. Elbridge Devine
About Dr. Elbridge Devine
Dr. Elbridge Devine was one of the original founding members of the Academy. He served for many years as Vice President and as a Director. Dr. Devine taught courses through the Academy with Drs. Elliot Feinberg, Sam Jacobs and Edward Feinberg for over forty years.
Dr. Devine was born in Mount Vernon, NY and attended the Pelham schools. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and received his dental degree in 1945. Following dental school, he served for two years in the US Navy Dental Corps and opened a dental practice in New Rochelle in 1948. Dr. Devine served as an Attending Dentist at the New Rochelle Hospital Medical Center for over 40 years.
In addition to dedicated service to the Academy, Dr. Devine devoted a great deal of his spare time to the Ninth District Dental Association. He served continuously on several committees for more than 45 years—Bulletin, Dental Health, Dental Practice, Ethics, Public and Professional Relations, Program, Restorative Conference, Professional Education and Practice Transfer Committees. He also chaired the Dental Practice Committee and served on NYSDA’s Council on Dental Practice. In September of 1994, Dr. Devine received the Ninth District’s highest honor—the D. Austin Sniffen Medal of Honor.
About Sam Jacobs
Dr. Sam Jacobs will be Sorely Missed
By Edward Feinberg, DMD
It is hard to imagine life without Dr. Sam Jacobs, Jr. (“Sam”, “Dr. J.” or “D.J”, as he was often affectionately called). He was always there, giving support and ready to help. Sam was someone who commanded respect. A quiet presence, he did not speak often. But when he did, his words were important and to-the-point. He had a warm, friendly smile and a great sense of humor.
Sam lived by ideals, and he continually strived to better himself and others. He devoted a great deal of his time to our Westchester Academy of Restorative Dentistry, and he assisted Elliot Feinberg in teaching the Academy’s courses in fixed bridgework and precision attachment partial dentures that were given thought the Ninth District Dental Society. Sam was the Academy’s secretary-treasurer from the organization’s inception in 1965 until 2002.
Before embarking on his dental career, he served in the US Army and was stationed in Berlin. He received a degree in chemistry from the University of Miami and spent 8 years as a practicing chemist before entering dental school at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating in 1962, Sam returned to his hometown of Yonkers and established a dental practice that he maintained for nearly 40 years.
Several dental organizations aside from the Academy owe a great deal to Sam. He served the Ninth District Dental Society as president (1990), as chairman of the Relief Committee, and as Bulletin contributor. He represented the Ninth on the New York State Dental Association’s Board of Governors and served as a delegate to the American Dental Association. He was just as much of a fixture in the Ninth District as he was in the Academy–he rarely missed a meeting! In 1997, Sam received the Ninth’s highest award, the D. Austin Sniffen Medal of Honor.
In addition to serving the profession, Sam believed deeply in community service. He was a perennial Elder of the South Presbyterian Church in Yonkers and a long-time member of the board of the Yonkers YMCA. He served as president of the Yonkers Dental Society and as president of the YMCA (1996). Sam had such a deep desire to help others that he even spent a vacation as a dental clinic volunteer in St. Lucia.
About Ellis Disick
Ellis Disick: the Ultimate Professional, Colleague and Friend
By Edward Feinberg, DMD
Upon graduation from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 1971, Dr. Ellis Disick began his career practicing with his father in White Plains. In 1976 he became an adjunct instructor at the Mount Sinai General Practice Residency Program and later served on staff at the White Plains Hospital Medical Center for over ten years. Subsequently, Ellis served as Assistant Clinical Professor at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine and as a Director of the Westchester Academy of Restorative Dentistry. Ellis was a fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry and an evaluator for Clinical Research Associates.
Dr. Disick was an excellent writer and he wrote articles for such publications as JADA, The Ninth District Bulletin and The New York Times. He was a role model of professionalism, and projected that image to students, friends, patients and colleagues.. “We come out of dental school with a handpiece in one hand and stethoscope in the other”, he once said. “Then, somewhere along the way, the influences of self-promotion, hucksterism and commercialism get their grip on us in the name of marketing and, to a greater or lesser degree, the professionalism slips away. Every practicing dentist has to filter what he or she wants to project as his or her image. The pressures of private practice are too great to reject all forms of communication with the public…I have contended that to be treated like professionals, we must act like professionals. The rest should eventually fall into place.”