Award-Winning Mentorship in Touro’s College of Dental Medicine Leads to Research Excellence

Dr. Jaffer A. Shariff’s Work with Students Recognized by the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR)

June 28, 2024
Dr. Jaffer Shariff
Touro College of Dental Medicine's Director of Research Dr. Jaffer Shariff received the American Association of Dental, Oral & Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) National Student Research Group Faculty Mentor Award at the organization's 2024 conference.

As the Director of Research at the Touro University College of Dental Medicine, Jaffer A. Shariff D.D.S, M.P.H, D.P.H, M.S. has guided more than 50 research projects to completion; organized and hosted the school’s research fair; and personally mentored dozens of students. In March, his work was recognized by the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) when he received the organization’s National Student Research Group Faculty Mentor Award.

“Research is not just a requirement; it serves as the catalyst for innovation and excellence in dental medicine,” stressed Dr. Shariff. “Students become pioneers, shaping the future of oral health with every discovery they make. Engaging in research equips TCDM students with the tools to become evidence-based practitioners, enabling them to make informed decisions grounded in scientific rigor. This foundation not only prepares them to excel as future general dentists but also lays the groundwork for success to pursue specialization with a deep understanding of the latest advancements in oral health.”

The combined aspects of research and mentoring have long been a thread in Dr. Shariff’s career, which began with dental school in his native India, continued with a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology at Tulane University, and concluded with a Dental Public Health residency in Columbia University where he also earned a M.S. in Periodontics and completed a Faculty Implant Fellowship.

“I realized early on that I enjoyed explaining things,” recalled Dr. Shariff who was a faculty member at Columbia University before joining TCDM. “My love for teaching came from that. When my mentors praised me for it, I listened to them. This led me to pursue a career in academia and research, where I’m able to guide students.”  

Dr. Shariff joined TCDM in 2021 from Columbia University. He sees his work not only in promoting evidence-based practice but also increasing Touro’s presence in the world of dental research.

“As we continue, more of our students are presenting at national and international conferences,” he said. “We’re spreading the word that not only do we produce top dentists at Touro, but we’re a leader in the world of dental research.”

Award-Winning Research by Students

Two recent projects overseen by Dr. Shariff have received national attention.

Jawad Tamimi, a member of the class of 2024, presented his paper, “Immediate Implant Placement and Immediate Provisionalization Using Digital vs. Conventional Fabrication Techniques with Bis-Acryl: Literature Review and Case Report” at the 2023 American College of Prosthodontists (ACP) Annual Meeting in October in San Diego. Tamimi examined the difference between fabricating a temporary tooth by hand versus fabrication through digital dentistry. He concluded that the results were similar, though the traditional process required more effort and skill from the dentist. For his work, Tamimi received a third-place prize in the category of Best Student and Resident Dental Research.

TCDM Research Society officers 2023-24, smiling and wearing dental scrubs in front of Touro logo
TCDM Research Society officers 2023-24
Back row, L-R: Wiam Ismail, Jawad Tamimi, Jordan Sahawneh, Dr. Jaffer Shariff, Anish Cheriyan, Andrew Sahawneh, Mullar Zakher.
Front row, L-R: Luke Whelan, Daniela Benzaquen Bar-Levav, Rachel Sebastian, Dean Guevarra

“Dr. Shariff assisted me and guided me,” said Tamimi. “He really pushed me to try to gather information from patients and taught me how to do actual research. He was a great mentor. Dr. Shariff is the kind of person where if you show an effort he will go above and beyond for you.”

Anish Cheriyan, another member of the class of 2024, authored “Impact of Socio-Demographics Status on Children’s Dental vs. Medical Health,” under Dr. Shariff’s guidance. Cheriyan’s research examined the dental care across socioeconomic levels in patients seen at the TCDM clinic. Surprisingly, he found that children at higher socioeconomic levels had worse teeth. While they haven’t discovered a reason for the discrepancy, Cheriyan is still gathering data.

“Dr. Shariff helped me brainstorm what I could do in research that connected to my passion for pediatric dentistry,” said Cheriyan who will spend the next two years in a pediatric dentistry residency at Woodhull Hospital in New York. “He helped connect me with other pediatric dentists and helped me learn how to speak in public. He gave me ample opportunities where I could present my research.”

Cheriyan presented his research at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) Annual Meeting, as well as at the American Academy of Dental Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD) - National Oral Health Conference (NOHC), where he was awarded 2nd place for his poster presentation in the Predoctoral Dental Student Merit Award for Outstanding Achievement in Community Dentistry category.

Cheriyan credited Dr. Shariff in helping him land his residency as well as having an impact on how he plans to practice dentistry.

“Everything in dentistry is evidence-based,” explained Cheriyan. “Dr. Shariff helps us digest all the research that’s out there and that helps us make reasonable clinical decisions.”