This past month, the Journal of Clinical Orthodontics announced NESO resident Dr. Moataz Elmahdy from the University of Rochester as the winner of the 2017 Eugene L. Gottlieb JCO Student of the Year Award.
Seventeen students from schools across the United States competed in the two-stage, months-long competition judged by members of the JCO editorial board. Dr. Elmahdy is the second Student of the Year award winner after Dr. Krystian Jorosz of Rutgers University won the inaugural competition last year.
The competition itself was held in two stages, with the first stage requiring each nominee to submit a complete report for a case he or she worked on, two letters of recommendation and a personal essay. Finalists were then given materials from an unpublished case and asked to write a complete treatment plan, including all possible alternatives, in a two-week time frame. A wide panel of JCO board members then voted for the ultimate winner.
According to the press release from the JCO, the competition and award grew out of the JCO’s central mission to specialize in the clinical side of orthodontics.
“We believed there was a gap in student recognition,” said JCO Editor Dr. Robert Keim. “Almost all of the awards were for research, which is of course important, but no one was rewarding clinical excellence. We thought we were the perfect vehicle to address that gap.” Dr. Keim went on to recognize our NESO resident Dr. Elmahdy, stating, “We are proud to have Dr. Elmahdy represent us and the orthodontic community as the second winner of the award. Our specialty’s future is in good hands.”
We had the recent honor of sitting down with Dr. Elmahdy to learn a bit more about his experience with this competition and what this award means to him:
NESO: First off, after all the time and work you put in, how did you feel when you found out you won?
Dr. Moataz Elmahdy: I was elated when I received the news; I was literally jumping up and down in our resident’s room. It’s an outstanding accomplishment, and it’s an honor to be acknowledged among my esteemed colleagues.
NESO: Can you briefly explain to us the basis of your clinical case and what you think made the case and treatment plan worthy of this award?
Elmahdy: The clinical case was a 16-year-old female with a skeletal Class II discrepancy and skeletal mandibular asymmetry. She was treated surgically with a Lefort I and an asymmetrical BSSO preceded by bicuspid extraction for orthodontic decompensation. The care she needed was complex and demanded a multidiscipline approach, and I honestly believe the reason this case qualified for the second and final round is that it was a teamwork approach by Eastman residents and faculty.
The treatment was initiated by my predecessor, Dr. Timothy Calnon, who developed a detailed and well thought out treatment plan. I was able to treat the patient under the guidance and supervision of Dr. Ed Sommers, one of our venerable faculty members. The magnitude of care and precision provided helped set the stage for me to be able to achieve a successful final result. It was such an incredible feeling to help provide life-changing treatment for such an amazing individual.
NESO: What do you think was your biggest takeaway or the most beneficial thing you learned from this competition?
Elmahdy: It truly was an enormous learning experience for me. The two-stage process taught me a great deal – the initial phase gave me a greater appreciation of how much work and minute detail we place in treating our patients. The second phase was an individual assignment for the participant. As a result, I performed an extensive research and review of the literature in order to develop multiple treatment plan options that addressed all areas and objectives. Through this process, I learned that there are multiple ways of approaching a treatment plan with successful results.
NESO: What advice would you give to residents entering this competition next year?
Elmahdy: My main advice would be to put in as much time and effort as possible – it’s an invaluable learning opportunity and worth all the time and dedication!
Thank you for your time Dr. Elmahdy. As Dr. Keim so eloquently stated, know that the entire membership of the Northeastern Society of Orthodontics is undoubtedly proud to have one of our very own residents representing us and the orthodontic community as the winner of this prestigious award! We wish you all the best in your future career!