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A History Of
The Russell W. Bunting Periodontal Society
David W. Keates, Zar A. Reader, Max Winslow and Peter L. Bucklin

During the 1949 spring meeting of the American Academy of Periodontology, from a conversation between Joseph Barkley and David Keates, the idea was born for a study club in periodontics so the general practitioner might avail himself of current information in periodontal techniques and research findings that could be incorporated into the daily practice of preventive dentistry. Utilizing a list of past participants in the two-week and one-day-per-week courses offered at The University of Michigan post-graduate education department, Dave Keats undertook the task of inviting these participants to an organizational meeting. A group of 35 responded and approximately 23 attended the meeting held in the upper amphitheater of the old dental school building. Officers where elected and a committee appointed to draft a Constitution and By-Laws. Temporary chairman, Dave Keats, was elected President; Joseph Barkley, Secretary; Edgar Hames, Treasurer. The Constitution and By-laws committee appointed consisted of Al Law and Zar Reader plus the elected officers.

It was also resolved that the Club would hold three meetings per year and dues were fixed at $15 per annum which would include luncheons for the two one-day meetings. The Club was to be named in honor of Dr. Russell W. Bunting, a pioneer in periodontics and the then Dean of The University of Michigan School of Dentistry. Dr. Bunting supported the thesis that "all dentists should be more than tooth plumbers and strive for the healthy periodontium which indicates a caries-free, controlled mouth free of the ravages of pyorrhea." He did not subscribe to the belief that the practice of periodontics represented itself as a specialty, rather that it was the basis of total dentistry.

Some of the dentists who attended this meeting were: Edger James, Joseph Barkley, Harold Rattner, Davis Keats, Max Winslow, Leo Lipton, William Hannon, Harry Bame, Zar Reader, Clyde Wolf, Al Law, Ignatz Uhrie, Romie Romine, Edgar Honey, James Robinson, C. Mark Gilson and Harry Luton.

The uniqueness of this study club has been the fact that the only prerequisite for joining was an interest and a desire to further ones knowledge of periodontics. Specialists and generalists alike joined and within a few short years, the membership grew by leaps and bounds to approximately 300. The membership at the date of this writing is about 297.

In those early years, the members themselves were the major part of the program and shared their knowledge and experiences. Members to this day, are encouraged to develop and present mini-clinics. Faculty members were invited to present lectures in their respective fields as it pertained to periodontics. Over the years, the Club as developed such a reputation that clinicians covet invitations to speak before it.

The third meeting of the year is now held as a two day seminar at a noted resort facility. This seminar is designed as a vacation-workshop and members are encouraged to bring their families. Time is allotted for recreation so the families might have some time together. The first such meeting was held at Hidden Valley in Gaylord, Michigan during the administration of Gloria Kerry and the clinician was Sigmund Stahl.

As the Club's membership and treasury grew, speakers from various parts of the United States and abroad, who were will known in the field of periodontics, where invited to address the Club. The list of these clinicians reads like a who's who in periodontics: Sigurd Ranfjord, Claude Nabers, Henry Goldman, Charles Williams, Bryan Wade, Irving Glickman, Clifford Ochsenbein, Harry Lyons, Harold Wirth, Samual Sugerman, Helmut Zander, Harry Sicker, Alvin Morris, Harry Bohannan, German Corn, Henry Weinmann, William Hurt, Harold Loe, Sigmund Stahl, Arnold Auriado, Harley Amsterdam, Bernard Moscow, Nathaniel Rowe, Robert Schallhorn, James O'Bannon, Richard Shick, Allen Padbury, James Knowles, Timothy O'Leary, Raul Caffesse, Gloria Kerry and Frederic N. Smith.

During the period that the American Academy of Periodontology held its spring meetings at The University Of Michigan School of Dentistry, our members were always extended an invitation to attend the sessions through the benevolence of Donald Kerr. Through the years, Drs. Ramfjord and Kerr were instrumental in helping to obtain our guest speakers.

The Club has sponsored two $200 undergraduate awards at each of the dental schools in the state. A senior student from each graduate class who has shown the greatest aptitude in periodontics is selected by the chairman of the department at the respective school as the recipient of the award. In 1979, when an automobile accident tragically took the life of Dr. Kerr, these awards were officially named the Donald A. Kerr Memorial Awards.

In 1972 the R.W.B.P.S.C., through its board, appointed three members, Richard Shick, John Meade and Peter Bucklin to commission a study to examine dentistry's historical problem, that of providing dental care for all the people. Dr. John D. Simpkins of the department of Advertising, Michigan State University, was commissioned to study the issue and submit a report to the Club. Dr. Simpkins utilized Drs. Shick, Meade and Bucklin for resource work. This study, a truly unique endeavor, was presented to the Bunting Study Club, March 18, 1974, and fulfilled a twofold purpose. First, it laid to rest the myth that American dental care is inadequate. This professionally done and demographically accurate study indicated that well over 80% of people in the greater Lansing area were in the habit of visiting the dentist on at least a somewhat regular basis. Second, Dr. Shick, Michigan Dental Association Trustee '63-73 and President '76-77, presented the study as a marketing analysis baseline for the establishment of the Michigan Dental Association's present advertising campaign.

In 1959, The Russell W. Bunting Endowment Foundation was organized and supported by the Club. This is a nonprofit tax-exempt organization into which surplus funds that are not required for the operation of the Club programs are channeled. The Foundation has for its purpose 1.) a loan fund, and 2.) support any worthwhile areas for research relating directly or indirectly to periodontics. The loan fund is available to any Michigan resident enrolled in an accredited university program pursuing a Master's degree in periodontics. Twenty applications have utilized the funds to date and the fund has not sustained a single loss. These loans are made interest free and do not become due and payable until one year following the recipient's graduation from the program. In the event that the loan is defaulted, an extension is granted; however, the loan will then bear an interest rate of 1% over the then existing prime rate.

Beginning in 1954, all the presidents elected to that office have been encouraged to serve in each of the offices of the Club, thus ensuring the continuity of the aims and purpose of the Club.

On the Memorial Day weekend of May 24-25, 1975, the Club celebrated its Silver Anniversary with an outstanding program and festivities at the Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island. The program "Periodontics 1975" was presented by a distinguished panel of clinicians made up of Sigurd Ramfjord, Claude Nabers, and Robert Schallhorn. The program was chaired by then incumbent President, Oliver Marcotte.

The Club, through the efforts of Cart. T. Wolley, held a formal party for Dr. Sigmund P. Ramsfjord at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn on April 5, 1980 to honor his announced retirement as Chairman of the Department of Periodontics at The University of Michigan School of Dentistry. It was attended by over sixty friends and former students from all over the country. We were especially honored to have Drs. Prichard, Nabers and Schallhorn in attendance as well as many other educators from various schools.

In October of 1989, through the work of John Meade and President Bruce Champion, a two day seminar was presented at the Radisson Hotel in Lansing, featuring Janet G. Travell, M.D., personal physician to President's Kennedy and Johnson. Accompanying Dr. Travell on the program were Lawrence A. Funt, D.D.S. and Robert C. Ward, D.O., concerning myofacial pain-diagnosis and treatment. As this exciting and, as yet, little known and appreciated area of health care service involved so many health care deliverers of various disciplines; virtually all M.D.'s and D.O.'s and physical therapists, as well as dentists, in the mid-Michigan area were invited by the Club to attend.

Through the decade of the 90's, culminating in its 1999 50th anniversary celebration, the Club has hosted such speakers as Drs Sebastian G. Ciancio, James T. Mellonig, Gerald Bowers, Roland M. Meffert, Robert M. Pick, Ray C. Williams, Jay Siebert, Edward P. Allen, Raul G. Caffesse, Mariano Rocabado, Kenneth S. Kornman, Ms. Anna Pattison (RDG), and others, presenting a variety of subjects, including non-surgical periodontics, therapeutics, perio-chemotherapeutics, guided tissue regeneration, osseous grafts, implants, lasers, cosmetic mucogingival surgery, cranio-mandibular joint disease and advanced periodontal instrumentation.

The Russell W. Bunting Periodontal Study Club has had an illustrious past and its future looms high on the horizon because of its forward-looking, dedicated officers and its viable membership, which is dedicated to the principle of serving humanity through improved oral health.