Dr. Robert B. Shira


Dr. Robert B. Shira

Butler, Pennsylvania — 1910-2002

The First Living Inductee

Dr. Shira was born on December 2, 1910 in Butler, Pennsylvania. In 1912 his parents and four children moved to Dewey, Oklahoma. His early education was in the public schools in Dewey. He received his D.D.S. degree in 1932 from Kansas City Western Dental College and was selected as a member into the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Honor Dental Fraternity.

The first 6 years of his professional career he practiced in Dewey and Pawhuska, Oklahoma. In 1938 he was one of twelve dentists selected from 350 applicants into the U.S. Army Dental Corps. He was commissioned as a First Lieutenant on June 30th, 1938 at Barksdale Field, Louisiana. In 1940 he was promoted to Captain and ordered to the Panama Canal Zone where he served until February 1947.

In 1947 he was transferred to Letterman General Hospital in San Francisco , California as Chief of Oral Surgery. In 1947 he established the Army Dental Inter program and in 1950 he organized the Army Residency Training Program in Oral Surgery.

Following his tour of duty in San Francisco he was transferred to Walter Reed General Hospital in Washington, D.C. in 1954 and assigned the responsibility of Chief of Oral Surgery and Director of all oral surgery training programs. He was also made Chief of the Dental Services that operated three separate clinics and was responsible for training dental interns. In 1964 he received orders transferring him to Europe to serve as Dental Surgeon, U.S. Army, Europe, with headquarter in Heidelberg, Germany. He was in charge of all Dental Corps activities in Europe and Africa.

In November 1966 he was promote to Brigadier General and transferred back to Walter Reed Medical Center as Director of Dental Services. In September 1967 he was promoted to Major General and assigned as Deputy Surgeon General and Chief of the Army Dental Corps, responsible for all army dental activities worldwide. In November 1971 he retired after a distinguished military career of 33 years and was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal. During his exemplary military career he was also awarded the Legion of Merit with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.

Immediately following his military career he was appointed Dean of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. While serving in that capacity he was elected President-Elect of the American Dental Association and served as President in 1975-76. After eight years as Dean of the dental school he was elevated to the position of Senior Vice President and Provost of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. He served with distinction for four years and then requested to return to the Health Campus in Boston where he served as Vice President for Health Sciences. During his final two years with Tufts University he was special assistant to the President of the University. 1n 1996 he retired from Tufts University and returned to the Washington D.C. area.

Although his retirement brought to a close his active career, one that covered a span of 64 years, he has continued to serve. Dr. Shira served as President of the PFA and was instrumental in helping wit the formation of the Pierre Fauchard Academy Foundation. He has served as its President for the past several years.

He has held innumerable positions with many organizations. Some of the most significant ones are: President of the American Society of Oral Surgeons and the American Board of Oral Surgery: Chairman, ADA Council on Dental Therapeutics; Editor, Journal of Oral Surgery form , 1967-1993.

Dr. Shira has been recognized for his many contributions to the dental profession and has been the recipient of countless honors and awards. Some of the most notable were; Pierre Fauchard Gold Medal in 1969, Gies Foundation Award in Oral Surgery in 1974; The Thomas P. Hinman Achievement Award in 1976; The American Dental Association Distinguished Service Award in 1997.

His life personifies leadership, knowledge, vision, professionalism, dedication and duty and honor to his country.

The Pierre Fauchard Academy is privileged and honored to induct Dr. Robert Bruce Shira as the first living recipient into the PFA International Hall of Fame of Dentistry.

Dr. Robert Bruce Shira died on November 23rd, 2002 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.