Dr. Michael Schaeffer is the 2021 recipient of the Ohio Dental Association Achievement Award.

Dr. Michael Schaeffer has been actively involved with organized dentistry throughout his career. In recognition of his efforts, he will receive the 2021 Ohio Dental Association Achievement Award on Friday, Oct. 1 at the Callahan Celebration of Excellence, held in conjunction with the 155th ODA Annual Session.

“Dr. Schaeffer has served in many capacities, on many councils, on committees since 1976,” wrote the Cincinnati Dental Society in its nomination letter. “During the past 50 years, there has not been one year that Dr. Schaeffer has not served in some capacity. Dr. Schaeffer, a true advocate for his profession, is also a mentor to numerous young dentists both locally and at the state level.”

Schaeffer said he was flattered and humbled to receive the award.

He studied pre-med and pre-dent at Xavier University and was accepted into dental school first, and decided that becoming a dentist would be calmer than becoming a physician and would not require being on call all weekend or dealing with life and death situations.

Schaeffer graduated from The Ohio State University with his DDS degree in 1970 and he then returned home to Cincinnati, where he worked in local school dental clinics. He then opened a dental practice in a building that was shared with a physician friend. He has been in the same location since then and has expanded and enlarged the building.

Schaeffer said his favorite part about being a dentist is the independence of being his own boss and helping people.

“Dentistry is a great, wonderful, clean profession,” he said. “You get to help many people. Sometimes you don’t feel like it’s that important, but we do an extremely good service for the patients.”

Throughout his career, Schaeffer has been dedicated to organized dentistry.

With the Cincinnati Dental Society, he has served on multiple committees including the Finance Committee, the Dental Practice Committee, the Dental Care Program Committee and the Membership Committee. He has served in some capacity on the society’s council since 1972 and was elected president in 2015 and 2018. He currently serves on the society’s Oral Health Foundation Board of Directors.

Schaeffer is also involved with the Ohio Dental Association, where he began serving as an alternate delegate in 1976. He has served on the Council on Dental Care Programs and Dental Practice, Council on Membership Services, as a delegate to the ODA House of Delegates, on the Ohio Dental Association Foundation Board and chair of the Ohio Dental Political Action Committee Board, among others.

Schaeffer also has served as an ADA alternate delegate and as the ODA’s Political Action Committee representative to the ADA Leadership Conference.

“I got involved with the Cincinnati Dental Society because a dentist asked me to join the Cincinnati Dental Society council,” he said. “From that I had some great mentors, like Jack Gottschalk and Bob Horton. I think is so neat to meet not only dentists from around the state and country, but the ODA staff is spectacular.”

Schaeffer said he thinks organized dentistry is important because it helps present a united front on legislative issues, and because of the camaraderie.

“We are so regulated by the government, if we don’t join together in organized dentistry we’ll sink alone,” he said. “The companionship of meeting other dentists in the profession – if it wasn’t for organized dentistry it would be a lot more difficult to have some of the relationships I’ve had throughout the years.”

Schaeffer received the ODA’s President’s Pin in 2006 and was also awarded the Cincinnati Dental Society’s Meritorious Service Award, the society’s highest honor, in 2006.

He has also served on the Delta Dental Ohio Board of Trustees, was a quality assurance review dentist for Dental Network of America and has served in a leadership position with the National Museum of Dentistry Smithsonian Institution.

Outside of dentistry, Schaeffer enjoys spending time with his family – he has four kids, three step children and 15 grandchildren that he is very involved with. He also enjoys hunting, fishing, golfing and traveling.

The Achievement Award is given to someone with a personal and professional commitment to the dental profession and the public’s oral health, and who is an ambassador for the dental profession with solid respect for the profession.