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Professor, researcher in orthodontics receives Callahan Memorial Award

September 21, 2018
Dr. Rolf Behrents and Dr. Joseph Mellion

Leadership recognized: Dr. Rolf Behrents, left, the 2018 recipient of the Callahan Memorial Award, stands with Dr. Joseph Mellion, chairman of the Callahan Commission.


Columbus, Ohio — A leader in orthodontics research and education received the Callahan Memorial Award in September during a ceremony at the 152nd Ohio Dental Association Annual Session.

Dr. Rolf Behrents, professor emeritus of orthodontics at Saint Louis University, was recognized for his contributions to dentistry and the oral health of the public.

The Callahan Memorial Award Commission was established in 1920 by the Ohio Dental Association to honor the work of John Ross Callahan, one of Ohio’s noted dental researchers and a leader in organized dentistry, according to a news release from the dental society.

Dr. Behrents has conducted research on many basic science and clinical topics. His main focus has been on craniofacial growth and development, particularly during young adulthood and middle age.

He received his D.D.S. from Meharry Medical College in 1973 and received his orthodontic training and Master of Science degree from Case Western Reserve University in 1975. He went on to receive a Ph.D. in human growth and development from the University of Michigan. 

He has taught, conducted research and practiced at Case Western Reserve University, The University of Tennessee, Baylor College of Dentistry and Saint Louis University, where he continues to teach part-time.

Dr. Behrents told the Ohio Dental Association that interacting with students has been his career highlight.

“I have enjoyed everything that I have ever done for the past 40 years, but I have really enjoyed interacting with about 500 very bright students; I have learned a great deal from them,” he said. “Even better, I have watched them grow and then succeed. In addition, I have also enjoyed my patients; treating them has been challenging but in all ways a joy.”

The Callahan Memorial Award recipient receives a $5,000 gift via the Ohio Dental Association Foundation to be donated to a charity of their choice. Dr. Behrents designated the gift to the Orthodontic Education and Research Foundation in St. Louis.