Norman Corah, Dental Researcher, Educator, Dies at 67

By Mary Beth Spina

Release Date: March 29, 2001

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Funeral services were held March 24, 2001 for Norman L. Corah, retired researcher in the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine, dental educator and a pioneer in research on patients' dental stress. Corah died March 20 in his Amherst home after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 67.

A recognized authority on measuring, evaluating and treating stress related to dental care, Corah was best-known for developing the Corah Dental Anxiety Scale. The questionnaire, used by researchers and dental practitioners worldwide, is designed to measure scientifically the levels of anxiety individuals experience when faced with a trip to the dentist.

Corah and his UB colleagues are well-known for developing various anxiety-reducing techniques.

One of his most innovative and successful techniques is the chair-mounted video game that patients play to distract them during treatment.

A native of Kenmore, Corah received undergraduate and graduate degrees from UB and briefly taught in the Department of Psychology after graduation.

In 1960, he took a job as an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, becoming chief research psychologist in the Division of Child Psychology and a research assistant professor in medical psychology.

He returned to UB in 1965 as a faculty member in the Department of Behavioral Science in the School of Dental Medicine. He remained a member of the dental-school faculty until his retirement in 1996.

Corah published extensively in professional journals on subjects related to dentistry and psychology.

He was a member of the American Psychological Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the New York Academy of Sciences and Sigma Xi.

The recipient of numerous grants from the National Institute for Dental Research, he was a consultant to study sections at the National Institutes of Health.

Corah was a past president of the Buffalo Health Sciences Chapter of United University Professions.

An expert on American cut glass, he was archivist and a former member of the board of directors of the American Cut Glass Association.

Corah is survived by his wife, Patricia of Amherst; two sons, Norman L. (Susan) of Glenville; Joseph L. (Diane) of Charlotte, N.C.; four grandchildren and a brother, Donald (Jean), of Romeo, Mich.