Dr. Hersh runs a very active clinical research program that plays a key role in developing and carrying out clinical protocols. His analgesic research team was instrumental in the granting of FDA approval to a number of analgesic and anesthetic agents such as ibuprofen liquigels (Advil Liquigels), OTC ketoprofen (Orudis KT), extended-release etodolac (Lodine XL), 4% articaine with 1:200,000 epinephrine (Septocaine 1:200,000) the transoral lidocaine patch (Dentipatch), and phentolamine mesylate (OraVerse) for the reversal of soft tissue sensory and functional deficits induced by commonly employed local anesthetic solutions, and most recently intranasal tetracaine/oxymetazoline (Kovanaze), a needle-free technology to provide local anesthesia of the maxillary teeth.
His studies of analgesic agents have been published in peer review journals such as the Journal of the American Dental Association, Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine and Oral Pathology, Clinical Therapeutics, and Current Medical Research and Opinion. He was the 2007 recipient of the International Association of Dental Research Pharmacology, Therapeutics and Toxicology Distinguished Scientist Award. Dr. Hersh directs and lectures in the undergraduate pharmacology and clinical therapeutics courses, the postgraduate clinical pharmacology course, and delivers presentations to the undergraduate Penn Dental Medicine students in the pain control and geriatrics series.
He also teaches continuing education courses for Penn Dental Medicine and has been awarded the University’s highest teaching honor, the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, and the Dental School’s Excellence in the Teaching of Basic Science Award 20 times. For 16 years he served as chairperson of IRB #3, of the University’s Committee on Studies Involving Human Beings, and for seven years on the University’s Standing Conflict of Interest Committee and the Human Research Advisory Committee to the Vice Provost of Research. In 2016 he was co-recipient along with John Farrar MD, PhD and Rosemary Polomano RN, PhD of the University One Health Award, for establishing an NIH-funded interdisciplinary Pain Science Course.