Dr. Earl Karanofsky wins Dr. Ralph Silverstone Award

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_MG_9292editedDr. Earl Karanofsky is passionate about teaching! Whether it be in the clinic, on faculty committees, at fundraising events, he always takes the time to be involved and is very deserving of this year’s Dr. Ralph Silverstone Award. The award recognizes his outstanding contribution to the undergraduate teaching program.

Dr. Karanofsky graduated from McGill Dentistry in 1977 and went on to complete a two year GPR program at the Jewish General Hospital before beginning his teaching career and private practice. When he is not teaching or practicing he is probably enjoying his time doing one of his other hidden talents: photography, dancing (he is a self-admitted great dancer!) or directing the choir at the Shaare Zedek Synagogue. Dr. Karanofsky is a proud husband, father to three sons and grandfather to two granddaughters.

What is your role in the Faculty of Dentistry?

I am currently an Assistant professor in the Faculty and a Clinical Demonstrator DMD IV. I am also the elected member of the Faculty’s Executive Committee, representing the part time clinical staff.


What are 3 words to describe your role?

My role is to be a teacher, a colleague and a student. I’ve always said that as a teacher we are here to help our students learn, to learn with them and to learn from them.

You were recently awarded the Dr. Ralph Silverstone Award for your contribution to the development of the undergraduate teaching program. Congratulations! What does this award mean to you?

I was very humbled to be named this year’s recipient. We are all validated as educators by the feedback we get from our students, but with this award, the Faculty has formally acknowledged my efforts, and by extension, the efforts of my fellow teachers. Teaching in our Faculty is a team sport and we have a great team.

Why did you choose to become involved with the Faculty?

Actually, it chose me. The day I completed my GPR, I went to say goodbye to my course director who said, “free your schedule next Thursday, you start teaching next week”. That was the beginning of my academic career. Teaching has made me a better practitioner and I would encourage every graduate to consider doing the same.

What are the best and the most challenging parts of your position?

Seeing the growth in a dental student from the time we meet in their third year to their graduation and forging career long relationships is the most satisfying. The biggest challenge for me is to cram as much teaching as I can into a very short time. I never feel satisfied that I have done everything I wanted to come Graduation.

Did you have mentors to help you get to where you are today? How were these people influential to you?

Harry Skurnik, Mel Heft, Bernard Slimovitch, Sydney Silver, and Mervin Gornitsky were my mentors. I recognized quite quickly that these were the types of dentists I wanted to emulate. They stimulated and challenged me to succeed.

Has your teaching style changed over the years?

Technology has permitted me to interact and communicate in a much more exciting way than ever before. As for teaching style, I have always had a catch phrase that I use with students and that is to learn horizontally as well as vertically. Look to your classmates for exposure and explanation of things that do not cross your hands directly. We don’t have enough time to expose each of you to every clinical situation. The good news is that we remain students our entire career and learning does not stop with graduation.

What do you like most about working in the Faculty?

Without a doubt it’s the people. Our small size is also one of our biggest assets. We are a cohesive group that by our own interaction and accessibility are able to expose our students to an extremely broad spectrum of dental issues and therapeutics.

What has been your favourite project with the Faculty?

The Facebook and lunch time tutorials I administer have become a great way to stimulate debate and share ideas amongst the students and staff.

What is your proudest moment with the Faculty?

I am extremely proud to be on the platform party every year to watch our students convocate. As a teacher and a parent, it was an incredibly moving experience to be there when my son Robert received his dental degree.

What advice would you give to recent new teachers?

Treat your students as colleagues and don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”.

What is on your wish list for the next 10 years?

Being involved in dentistry in some capacity
Having more grandchildren
Winning a 6/49 jackpot

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