The numbers guy

For more than two decades, Eric Solomon kept an eye on trends in dental education, providing invaluable data analysis to the dental school. Now his focus shifts to a bit more free time in retirement.
August 31st, 2017

Dr. Eric SolomonThe data don’t lie. Certainly those words filled the thought bubble above Dr. Eric Solomon’s head on more than one occasion, as he presented facts and figures about the state of dental education and the profession’s manpower issues to disbelieving decision makers nationwide.

But for now, this authority on trends in dental education will take a break from spreadsheets and PowerPoint. Solomon, who most recently served as the executive director for Institutional Research and chief information officer for Texas A&M Health Science Center and professor in public health sciences at the College of Dentistry, retired this month after 25 years of service to the school, including a 14-year appointment with the TAMHSC central administration.

“A prolific writer, he published more than 130 articles on dental manpower, access to care and the future of dental practice, many of which have had an enormous impact on organized and academic dentistry,” says Cindy Ceen, a former College of Dentistry colleague.

“He is always responsive to changes in the profession and never shies away from controversy,” she adds.

Solomon’s data collection, analyses and interpretations have been critical to legislative funding allocations and strategic planning and have guided all levels of organized dentistry grappling with manpower and access-to-care concerns.

“My research focus throughout my career has been on trends in dentistry and dental education and the future of the profession,” Solomon explains. I’ve been doing that a long time.

“It was a difficult decision to leave. It’s hard to go. Especially when you have worked with so many good people over the years.”

With three degrees from the University of Maryland, including a bachelor’s in geography, a master’s in economic geography and a doctorate in dentistry, and certificates in advanced general dentistry, conflict mediation and geographic information systems from three different universities, retirement may be a welcomed respite to this lifelong learner, who along with his wife, Marilyn, and cat, Cleopatra, will settle into a new home in Florida.

— Susan Mitchell Jackson