USC University of Southern California

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

Dean Avishai Sadan awarded Ellis Island Medal of Honor

sadan with Ellis Island medal of honor
Dean Avishai Sadan

Sadan is one of the select few Trojan Family members to earn the distinction.

BY JOHN HOBBS MA ’14

In early May, Dean Avishai Sadan MBA ’14 was awarded an Ellis Island Medal of Honor for his continued contributions to the dental profession.

“Dean Sadan exemplifies the Ellis Island Honors Society’s values of sharing his wealth of knowledge, unique talents and selfless generosity while maintaining the traditions of his ethnic heritage [and] embodying the American Dream,” said Ostrow Board of Councilors Chair Carol Gomez Summerhays DDS ’78 in a nomination letter. Summerhays earned an Ellis Island Medal of Honor in 2017 for her exceptional contributions to our nation.  

The Ellis Island Medal is meant to honor American citizens who have distinguished themselves within their own ethnic group while exemplifying the values of the American way of life.

A decade at the helm 

Sadan was born in Israel and earned his doctor of dental medicine degree at the Hebrew University Hadassah School of Dental Medicine. In 1994, he moved to the United States to pursue a prosthodontics residency followed by fellowship in esthetic and implant prosthodontics at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Dentistry. And, in 2004, he became a United States citizen. 

Sadan held faculty positions at Louisiana State University and Case Western Reserve University before becoming the dean of the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC in 2009. 

“A tireless and inspiring academic leader, Dr. Sadan has invigorated Ostrow with his vision, dynamism and energy,” Summerhays wrote in her letter.

Under his leadership, Ostrow has raised its research profile, consistently ranking among the top three private U.S. dental school for federal research funding; provided more than $42 million in dental services to nearly 72,000 patients, expanding its outreach to populations in need of access to oral health care; and raised more than $100 million during the Campaign for the University of Southern California, including the $35 million naming gift from Herman Ostrow — the largest single gift to any American dental school.

“While these achievements might have occurred on my watch, they are largely the result of the trusted advice, unrelenting work and unique vision of Ostrow’s leadership, faculty and staff,” Sadan said.

Commitment to students

Sadan has spearheaded numerous educational and curricular innovations, including an emphasis on providing students with unique keystone experiences using the latest technologies and treatment modalities. Additionally, he remains committed to working side-by-side with student clinicians, regularly supervising patient care on the clinic floor.  

Outside of USC, Sadan is an internationally renowned expert on biomaterials and esthetic and implant dentistry. He served as editor-in-chief of Quintessence International and Quintessence of Dental Technology. 

Past recipients of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor have included seven past U.S. presidents, three world leaders and several Nobel Prize winners.

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