David Garber of Cumberland dental practice Goldstein Garber & Salama received the Thomas Evans Achievement Award from the University of Pennsylvania Dental Medicine Alumni Society on Friday, May 11.
The award honors Penn School of Dental Medicine alumni who have shown innovation, excellence and a lifetime of leadership in the profession of oral health care, both nationally and internationally. The recipient is considered a role model to be studied, a person who has inspired others in his profession to reach greater heights.
Garber, who earned degrees from Penn in 1978 and 1981, still goes nonstop as a valued member of the internationally recognized multidisciplinary educators known as Team Atlanta.
He received postgraduate training in periodontics and fixed prosthodontics from Penn. He served as a clinical professor in prosthodontics at Louisiana State University and in restorative dentistry at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He is a professor in periodontics and oral rehabilitation at the Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University.
The Thomas Evans Achievement Award marked a milestone for Garber. “Thomas Evans, for anyone who went to Penn, was a surreal figure — larger than life and the dentist in a horse carriage who treated and cavorted with the royalty of Europe. He was an ambition for a young student to aspire to, and once at Penn, students had the Thomas Evans notion of ‘second to none’ embossed on their frontal lobe.”
His wife, Barbara, daughter Karen and her husband, Matt, grandchildren Jake and Sara, and twins Mike and Jen and her husband, Sam, have always been Garber’s priority, and when he accepted the award, he thanked them first.
Born in Johannesburg, Garber served in the Rand Light Infantry before becoming a dentist.
Garber’s first award early in his career honored his teaching. He believes that education is one of the keys to success in life and that teachers can have a lasting impact on their students.
Motivated by family influences, when he left Philadelphia, he joined Ronald Goldstein in private practice in Atlanta.
“David has been and continues to be one of the most popular dental speakers on the worldwide lecture circuit for a very good reason,” Goldstein said. “His presence and manner of speaking is so easy and enjoyable to listen to, but the most professional and up to date, with not only his clinical experience, but also the tremendous amount of research and untold hours of preparation before each presentation, many times working even on the podium as he is being introduced. No one could have been a better choice to receive this prestigious award than David Garber.”
As their Atlanta practice expanded on the premise of interdisciplinary care, Goldstein and Garber brought in two more dual-degreed Penn graduates as partners: Maurice and Henry Salama.
Goldstein and Garber have been partners nearly 35 years, and Maurice Salama has been with them for 25 years. They are a family within the practice and outside work.
“David Garber, simply put, is an icon in the field of dentistry,” Salama said. Receiving the Thomas Evans Award “simply validates a career serving his profession and thousands of patients. … He has been a mentor, friend and consultant for my own growth as a person and professional.”
Garber is often asked why he doesn’t retire and enjoy life, but his work is his pride and joy. His involvement with online training site Dental XP has taken teaching and learning to a new level. He thrives on interacting with thousands of dentists around the world.