One of a kind in dentistry
The Osteology Foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary next year. Kristian Tersar, Executive Director of the foundation and a long-standing team member, tells us about the beginnings, the development of the foundation and where it stands today.
Tell us, Kristian Tersar, how did it all begin?
The Osteology Foundation was founded in 2003 by Dr. Peter Geistlich, together with Geistlich Pharma and like-minded experts, as an international and independent non-profit organisation. Dr. Geistlich wanted the Osteology Foundation to be a platform that focuses on "Linking Science with Practice in Regeneration”, in other words, to promote research and education for the benefit of patients worldwide.
Therefore, the Osteology Foundation is committed to follow the visions of Dr. Peter Geistlich, a true philanthropist, who significantly shaped regenerative dentistry with his independent thinking and charisma. He always said: «The Osteology Foundation aims to be a guarantee for the advancement of evidence-based knowledge and to promote the continuing education of specialists as well as practitioners.»
Can you explain how the foundation is organised?
The Osteology Foundation Board defines the strategy, sets the objectives and distributes financial resources to the committees. Each Foundation Board member is assigned to one of the two committees: Science or Education. Furthermore, the Foundation Board elects the members of the Executive Board which is responsible for operations. They review all activities and assure good governance in line with the foundation’s objectives. Our team at the Osteology Office provides the support to implement the projects. A glance at our monthly Osteology News or our social media platforms shows how much we have grown.
And what are the foundation’s objectives and how is this implemented in practice?
The foundation is committed to be the most attractive platform for research and education in oral tissue regeneration and all our projects are targeted to reach this goal.
As a partner in research, we have financially supported more than 150 projects since 2004, resulting in more than 225 scientific publications across the entire spectrum of oral tissue regeneration. In addition to this, the Osteology Research Academy is running courses on research design and methodology to support researchers in their daily work.
At the same time, we organise scientific education for practitioners in the form of International and National Symposia. The latter ones are organised by our very active National Osteology Groups. We also cooperate with other professional societies to increase our reach and join forces. On top of all that, we provide a platform to connect and exchange scientific knowledge, THE BOX – this is where your global community meets.
My To conducted the interview with Dr. Kristian Tersar.
Geistlich is the main sponsor of the Osteology Foundation, so how does this impact the foundation’s work?
Geistlich Pharma AG and the Osteology Foundation are in a relationship of founder and foundation. But the scientific independence created by its founder is the foundation’s most important asset. Independence is what enables the Osteology Foundation to achieve its outstanding position in the global oral regeneration community. The foundation stands for evidence-based knowledge transfer, without product promotion through the back door.
That sounds almost too good to be true.
Well, even Geistlich CEO Ralf Halbach, in his function as a member of the Osteology Foundation's Board, has no direct saying, be it with regard to the election of new Board Members and Expert Councillors or decisions on research funding and education programmes.
It’s this core value which gives the Osteology Foundation a unique position in the dental foundation landscape. This was also honoured by the American Dental Association (ADA) through the certification as a CERP (Continuing Education Recognition Program) provider.
In a nutshell, the philanthropic approach of the founder enables the pursuit of a clearly defined goal: to generate knowledge about oral tissue regeneration and thereby improve patient care with evidence-based clinical practice.
How then does Geistlich benefit from the collaboration?
The basic idea can be summarised under this principle: “From Profit to Purpose”. Recently, the Harvard Business Review wrote that “Companies are being pushed to consider the interests of all their stakeholders – including employees, customers, and the community – not just those of their shareholders.”
I also see this path in the collaboration between Geistlich Pharma AG and the Osteology Foundation. As mentioned, the foundation stands for evidence-based knowledge transfer and research funding, there is no place for products and sales activities. On the other hand, this unique platform only exists thanks to the provided funds. And precisely this must be an incentive for biomaterial customers to then place their trust in a manufacturer like Geistlich Pharma AG.
So, you are basically saying that the Osteology Foundation is independent from its founder?
As far as research is concerned, one can absolutely say yes. As far as the implementation of continuing education events is concerned, the Osteology Office would be too small to manage them all by itself so we rely on the logistical support of Geistlich as well as the local know-how of its worldwide partners.
Your greatest wish for the future?
Above all, that even more clinicians can convince themselves of the quality of our training courses, but also of the enriching interpersonal exchange at our future face-to-face events.
In any case, you should register for the upcoming International Osteology Symposium, 27–29 April 2023, in Barcelona, to be part of the world’s most exciting platform for independent knowledge transfer in oral tissue regeneration.
Thank you for the interview, Dr. Kristian Tersar!