The American Dental Association (ADA) recently installed its 156th president. The position was awarded to Dr. Chad P. Gehani of Queens, New York. Dr. Gehani and the new and returning officers were installed in their offices before proceedings of the ADA House of Delegates at the ADA FDI World Dental Congress in San Francisco. The meeting was the 160th annual meeting of the ADA.

During his first address to the House of Delegates, Dr. Gehani told members it is his "responsibility to ensure that the ADA remains the guardian of your lifetime commitment to the profession — and I am not just talking about your dues dollars. The ADA must be a responsible custodian of your time as volunteers and of your talents as clinicians, researchers and educators. The ADA must be relevant to all of us," he concluded.

Get to Know Dr. Gehani

Dr. Gehani received his dental degree from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine. He is the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, which recognizes Americans who dedicate their lives to the community and is bestowed by the Ellis Island Honor Society.

When 24-year-old Dr. Chad P. Gehani arrived at the airport in Mumbai, India, in 1975, he had never even seen an airplane before, let alone flown on one. Dr. Gehani held a one-way ticket to New York City. He had a dental degree from the Government Dental College and Hospital Mumbai, but no guarantee of any job in the United States — especially one in dentistry — and was leaving behind all his family and friends.

Within days of arriving on American soil, Dr. Gehani found a job on Fifth Avenue and 28th Street as a janitor. He was paid $3.75 an hour to unload trucks and clean the streets, warehouse and toilets.

Three months later, Dr. Gehani secured a job in a hospital working as a dental assistant and began taking the national board of dental examinations, which started him down the path that would allow him to be recognized as a dentist in the United States.

Nine months later, he was allowed to begin practicing dentistry. Dr. Gehani joined the American Dental Association in 1977, and five years after he arrived in New York, he became an American citizen.

Watch for a full account of Dr. Gehani’s House of Delegates address on and in the ADA News.