The 110th annual gathering of the American Association of Orthodontists, in Washington, D.C., this spring, showcases a bracing cast of Rochester expertise.
The alumni of Rochester’s orthodontic residency program, which graduates only a half-dozen candidates a year, form a tight network. Robert Bray ’75M (Pdc), ’76M (MS), the president of the 16,000+ member organization, called upon a host of fellow Rochester alumni to help him organize the event. They include committee general cochairs Natalie Parisi Bell ’95M (Pdc) and J. Anthony Quinn ’74M (Pdc), doctors’ scientific program cochair Stephen Kyrkanides ’95M (Pdc), ’99M (PhD), and local arrangements cochair Kolman Apt ’85M (Pdc).
Bray has also dedicated the conference to a couple of his Rochester mentors: Daniel Subtelny, who founded the orthodontics program at the then Eastman Dental Center, in 1955, and is the chair of the orthodontics division of the Eastman Institute for Oral Health, and the late Robert Baker, professor of orthodontics at the Institute for over 50 years, who passed away in October 2008.
“In professional school, there’s a lot of memorization,” says Bray. But professors like Baker and Subtelny “taught us how to think.”
Bray has plenty to think about at the helm of the profession’s major association, where he grapples with, among other things, the problem of insufficient access to affordable orthodontic treatment and the need for members to keep up with expanding technology and equipment needs.
That said, Bray exudes confidence in the field’s future. “I see nothing but upside,” he says.
Bray has a private practice, playfully named Brayces, on the South New Jersey Shore, where 40 percent of his patients are adults. “My youngest patient is three and my oldest is 83,” he says. “That’s a wide range of people to be able to help.”