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Irwin Mandel
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Irwin Mandel

Irwin D. Mandel, 89, of West Caldwell died May 26, 2011. He previously resided in Cedar Grove.

Dr. Mandel was Professor Emeritus of Dental Medicine of the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, from where he received his dental degree in 1945. He began as a research assistant at Columbia in 1946, and gave up his part-time private practice in 1968 to devote himself full-time to research and teaching. He founded and served as the director of the Division of Preventive Dentistry at Columbia, the first such department in the country, and also served as the founding director of the Center for Clinical Research in Dentistry and as the Dental School’s Associate Dean for Research before attaining emeritus status in 1992.

A past president of the American Association for Dental Research, his many awards include the first Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Dental Research from the American Dental Association (1985), the Award for Leadership in Periodontology from Tufts University (1971), the International Award from the University of Connecticut (1979), the Jarvie-Burkhardt International Award from the New York State Dental Association (1990), and the Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Public Health Dentistry (1991).

As part of Columbia’s 250th anniversary celebration, he was honored as one of the Columbians Ahead of Their Time and spoke at a symposium held at the Dental School. Author of over 225 scientific articles and 18 books or book chapters, he conducted pioneering research on the role of dental plaque in tooth decay and periodontal disease, and was also known for studies of salivary composition as it relates to dental disease and systemic disease. As a researcher, author, and teacher, he played a major role in shifting the focus of dentistry from repair to prevention. Until recently, he served as a consultant and research mentor on several projects. He was chief dental adviser to Consumers Union and its publications for nearly 50 years. He was also a consultant and spokesperson for the American Dental Association, associate editor of the “Journal of Dental Research,” and a grants reviewer for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. He was an active writer and reviewer for the Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health (2000), and served as the preventive dentistry consultant to NASA’s manned mission to Mars project.

He received the honorary degree of doctor of science (honoris causa) from Columbia in 1996. He also holds honorary degrees from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (1981) and the University of Gothenburg, Sweden (1994). He graduated from the College of the City of New York in 1942.

He spent two stints in the U.S. Navy Dental Corps, 1945-1946 and 1952-1954.

He is survived by his wife, Charlotte; two daughters, Carol and Nora; his son, Richard; his brother, Burton; and two grandchildren.

Arrangements were handled by J.L. Apter Memorial Chapels, Cedar Grove. Memorial contributions may be made to the College of Dental Medicine, Irwin D. Mandel Research Fund, 630 West 168 St., New York, NY 10032.

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