JOSHUA SEGAL SHEDS LIGHT ON CLINICAL ADVANCEMENTS, THE EXPANSION OF SIUH’S TEACHING PROGRAM, AND HIS VISIONARY OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE OF DENTISTRY
BY AMANDA McCOY PHOTOS BY AMESSE PHOTOGRAPHY
It was approaching spring this year when a seemingly benign exam took a dramatic turn at Staten Island University Hospital. A patient arrived with minor jaw pain, only to have Joshua Segal, DDS, MD, MS, detect an unsettling anomaly. Swiftly collaborating with radiology, a CT scan was ordered, exposing significant erosion in the patient’s lower jaw. Dr. Segal and his team urgently performed a same-day biopsy, ultimately uncovering a life-threatening, cancerous lesion.
“Fortunately, being here at SIUH grants us access to exceptional resources for managing such cases,” said Dr. Segal, a board-certified surgeon and former program director of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery residency program at Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Every step of the process, from diagnosis to jaw reconstruction utilizing advanced computer-assisted technology, took place within SIUH. “Typically, such procedures can span weeks,” he explained. “But our ability to respond so quickly stems from the hospital’s exceptional collaborative environment.”
Passionate about the benefits of modern technology, Dr. Segal is transforming the Department of Dental Medicine to operate with a completely digital work-flow. “This allows physicians to better predict results and decrease appointment time,” he explained. “Advancements in imaging give us the ability to perform more accurate procedures that take less time and are often safer for the patient.” What’s more, physicians now have access to an abundance of information prior to surgeries. Computer-assisted technology has revolutionized oral surgery, providing surgeons with extensive pre-planning capabilities for enhanced precision. In the past, addressing fractures in the eye socket or orbital bone required invasive procedures to shape plates or materials. Operating in such a confined and critical space was challenging. “Now, with computer technology, we can create an exact replica of the unaffected eye, producing a meticulously contoured titanium mesh that perfectly fits the patient’s unique anatomy,” said Dr. Segal.
Tapped to lead the department this spring, Dr. Segal took the reins at an exciting period in the program’s 53-year history. Previously helmed by Donald Ratcliffe, DDS, for 17 years, SIUH’s Department of Dental Medicine has expanded into a prominent teaching program, dedicated to training the next generation of dental professionals in addition to providing world-class patient care. For the New York City native, training and education has always been a cornerstone of his practice. “At SIUH, I am deeply committed to establishing our residency program as a sought-after destination in the tri-state area and beyond,” said Dr. Segal, who holds a unique distinction among his peers as one of the few physicians in his field with an MD and DDS from Stony Brook University and a master’s degree in education from Hofstra University. “We strive to be recognized for delivering top-notch education, prioritizing resident well-being, and ensuring an exceptional patient experience through the care our providers offer.”
The son of a pediatric dentist, Dr. Segal’s fervor for health and science was kindled at a young age. He originally intended on following the bioscience research route, but while completing his undergraduate degree at Northwestern University, he was introduced to microsurgery and found his calling. A board examiner for the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Dr. Segal sits on several education committees, including the AO CMF Education Commission and Osteo Science Foundation. He is also an assistant professor at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra Northwell and is the assistant investigator at the Institute of Bioelectronic Medicine at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research. In his leadership role, Dr. Segal will continue fostering collaboration between SIUH departments. For example, one of his goals is to team up with the OBGYN Department to support low-resource patients in family planning stages to prevent complications that can occur through dental infection during pregnancy. He’s also referred several oncology patients after a seemingly routine dental exam yielded tumors and other life-critical ailments.
At SIUH, oral cancer screenings are a routine part of the department’s comprehensive approach, successfully detecting oral cancer in patients time and time again. “The key is prioritizing the holistic well-being of each patient,” said Dr. Segal, adding that his team conducts thorough evaluations, taking into account medical history and any potential factors that might impact a patient’s dental treatment. “Our care philosophy extends far beyond focusing on oral health – that is how we’ve managed to provide the best care.”