Thursday, December 8, 2022
Axel Ruprecht
Axel Ruprecht

The approval of the Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (OMR) specialty by the American Dental Association (ADA) in 1999 can be largely attributed to two individuals: Axel Ruprecht, former professor, UI College of Dentistry’s Oral Pathology, Radiology, and Medicine; and Mel Kantor, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire.

In 1973, while Ruprecht was an OMR resident at the University of Toronto, he became chair (and sole member) of the Committee Applying for Specialty Recognition for Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology from the Canadian Dental Association (CDA). Ruprecht also organized the Canadian Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology. Nine months later, the CDA recognized OMR as a new specialty.

In 1987, Ruprecht accepted a professorship at the UI College of Dentistry. Within seven years, he became secretary-treasurer, then later president, of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (ABOMR). (Ruprecht also served as president of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (AAOMR) from 1994-1995.)

As a member of the AAOMR’s Long Range Planning Committee, Ruprecht and committee chair, Bob Goepp, decided to reapply for specialty recognition, notwithstanding previous failed attempts. Kantor and Ruprecht later became co-chairs; despite strong personalities and differing opinions, they worked well together. (Kantor joked with Ruprecht that they were twins by different mothers.)

For seven years, Kantor and Ruprecht applied for ADA specialty approval but were twice rejected. Finally, by utilizing political savvy and distributing pamphlets promoting the benefits of specialty recognition, ADA specialty approval was given on October 13, 1999.

It was the same month and day as the CDA’s 1973 OMR specialty approval. It was also Ruprecht’s birthday!