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  • 1. Dentistry A Public Ation for Alumni And friends of the school of dentistry sPrinG 2008 Admit One How the UABSOD Selects Its Students— And What It Takes to Get In
  • 2. Please visit us at Dean’s Message www.dental.uab.edu for an online version of GreetinGs! With the dawning of spring in the south comes the refreshing renewal of new growth and vitality; so it is within UAB Dentistry as well as the school of Dentistry as well. this issue of UAB Dentistry covers information on: a broad spectrum of fresh ideas and newsworthy topics related to events and people comprising the school of Dentistry. “Admit • Continuing Education One” describes our current student selection process for the school; interview Day • Dentistry Catalogs is an exciting opportunity for Dr. steve Filler and other members of our faculty to meet with dental-student prospects in face-to-face interviews that we consider a most • Departments important aspect of the admissions process. • Degree Programs “the Hinman Pledge” relates to the Atlanta-based Hinman Dental society, which has provided generous support to our school for many years. Most recently, the • Alumni Association society has graciously bestowed a $500,000 endowment to support a named profes- • Academic Calendar sorship at our school. Another new development in the sOD is our new Web site, www.dental.uab.edu. Dr. Michelle robinson and her staff worked diligently for many • Research months to debut it in time for spring semester 2008. We have received great feedback • Giving from students, faculty, staff, and alumni who have already made use of this outstand- ing resource. if you haven’t already, take a look at the material available to you about our school’s organization, current events, and contact information. You may have heard the term “unsung heroes” to describe those faithful workers Dentistry who toil long hours without recognition to keep the wheels turning in any organiza- tion. We are proud to give thanks in a public way to several of sOD’s “unsung heroes” UAB Dentistry is published by the School of in our article “Behind the scenes.” Kathleen Diveley, recently appointed as director of Dentistry in collaboration with the Office of Public Relations and Marketing. clinics, discusses her new position and her vision for patient care. Within our student, faculty, and alumni profiles and other articles, details about new sOD research proj- EXECUTIVE EDITOR Pam Powell ects are discussed. three of our top dental students are profiled in this edition, and it is MANAGING EDITOR always invigorating to feel the energy and enthusiasm that these young professionals Doug Gillett bring to the school as they advance through their studies—a June graduate complet- EXECUTIVE ART DIRECTOR ing her residency in pediatric dentistry, Julia isherwood; Chris Canales, now preparing Ron Gamble for graduation; and Brandy Adams, who’s completing her second year of dental school. ART DIRECTOR Our faculty profiles describe the varied and active careers of several of the school’s Laura Hannah leading faculty, including Dr. Jim Broome, who began his dental career in the Air PHOTOGRAPHY Force; Dr. Dennis Pillion, one of our Joint Health sciences coursemasters in pharma- Steve Wood cology; and Dr. Wen Chou Wu, a recent addition in prosthodontics who broadens the WRITERS school’s cultural base by bringing us insights from his former life in China. Shelly DeButts, Laura Freeman, Doug Gillett, Cindy Riley We close this edition of UAB Dentistry with our alumni profiles and development news. the love of sports is universal, but in the south, it is sacred. i hope you will enjoy PRODUCTION MANAGER Mike Turner as much as i did learning about the athletic prowess of three of our sOD alumni: Drs. William Davis and noah Miller, both former Alabama football players, and Dr. Lewis PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS Jennifer Ghandhi Chapman, a former Birmingham-southern tennis star. Jazmund Walker in closing, i would like to express my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to all of EDITORIAL BOARD our devoted alumni, faculty, staff, and students who faithfully and diligently give of Huw F. Thomas, B.D.S., M.S., Ph.D. their time, financial contributions, and other resources that sustain our growth and Dean, School of Dentistry renewal within the school of Dentistry. J. Scott Huffman, C.F.R.E. Senior Director of Development sincerely, Faculty Representatives Huw F. thomas, B.D.s., M.s., Ph.D. Jim Broome, D.D.S. Dean, school of Dentistry Steven Filler, D.D.S., M.S., M.A. Mary MacDougall, Ph.D. Michael McCracken, D.D.S., Ph.D. On the cOver: More than ever, students are lining up to apply for admission to the SOD— Maureen Pezzementi, D.M.D. meaning bigger challenges for the teachers and administrators tasked with evaluating them.
  • 3. contents Volume 9/1 Spr ing 2008 C o v e r S t o r y F a c u l t y F o c u s 2 Admit One—What makes a good dentist? That’s what the UABSOD admissions committee has to decide as it evaluates each year’s group of prospective students. 14 Jim Broome, Dennis Pillion, and Wen Chou Wu are at the forefront of the SOD’s nationally recognized excellence in teaching and research. F e a t u r e s A l u m n i P r o f i l e s 8 The Hinman Pledge—One of America’s oldest and most respected dental societies shows its support for the School of Dentistry in a big way. 16 William Davis, Noah Dean Miller, and Lewis Chapman all excelled athletically at other schools before coming to the SOD. Now their children are following in their footsteps. 9 Surfing the SOD—To match the major renovation underway at the School of Dentistry’s physical home, its virtual home gets a makeover of its own. E n d N o t e s 10 Behind the Scenes—They’re not out in front getting all the credit, but the SOD’s staff is critical to the success of its 18 Bruce Cunningham reflects on a lengthy career in den- tistry and a productive year as president of the School of Dentistry’s Alumni Association. faculty, students, and patients alike. D e v e l o p m e n t N e w s 20 S t u d e n t S p o t l i g h t s Beloved faculty and alumni of the SOD are being remem- 12 Julia Isherwood, Chris Canales, and Brandy Adams came from a variety of different backgrounds, but all are finding success at the School of Dentistry. bered through scholarships and endowments. Here’s how you can contribute. 2 9 14 14
  • 4. Admit One How the UABSOD Selects FOR FIVE YEARS RUNNING, every single student graduating Its Students—And from the UAB School of Dentistry has passed their national What It Takes to Get In board exams, and the class of 2005 ranked number one in the nation on Part II of those tests. In addition, students at every level have raked in research awards and grants, and the possi- bilities for achievement are set to grow even more as the school implements its groundbreaking curriculum-reform plan. By Doug gillett illustrations By ernie elDreDge 2 (U A B De n t i s t r y )
  • 5. But motivated, high-achieving students don’t just applying to the UABsOD? Filler and his fellow commit- magically appear on the UAB campus every summer. tee members don’t mind sharing some advice. the sOD’s high-achieving classes are select groups of 1. men and women who were making names for themselves even before they applied to the school of Dentistry— G e t s t a r t e d e a r l y — i t ’s a and whom the school took great pains to recruit. the long application process. process for assembling each year’s incoming class is lengthy and complex. it all starts in the spring, more than a year before the it is also a task that has only become more difficult applicants who are ultimately selected will enter an sOD with each passing year. in just three years, the applicant classroom for the first time. Aspiring dental students typi- pool has nearly doubled, with more than 900 prospective cally begin applying around the end of their junior year students vying for fewer than 60 spots in 2007. And with or the beginning of their senior year, but Filler says the the sOD increasingly attracting the “cream of the crop” in “early birds” begin completing their applications as soon terms of the nationwide applicant pool, transcripts alone as mid-May. don’t necessarily narrow the field; the admissions commit- the dental-school application process, however, tee has to take a long look at each applicant and get to is not the same as the undergraduate admission know them well before deciding which ones will be the process. instead of applying directly to the school best fit for the school’s unique personality. of Dentistry, aspiring dental students around the “there’s no magical formula for it,” says steve Filler, country submit highly detailed online applications to D.D.s., associate dean of student, alumni, and external the Associated American Dental schools Application affairs and, for the last few years, the sOD’s admis- service (AADsAs), a central application processor that, sions director. “it’s hard work, sorting through all the according to Filler, serves all but a handful of the dental applications and trying to decide, and the truth is there schools in the United states. With the help of pre-health are people who don’t make it despite fitting our criteria advisors at their undergraduate institutions, the appli- really well. What i tell people is that it’s not like we have cants then select the schools to which they’d like their a class of 58 students and the 59th is a stinker—number application forwarded; Filler says the average applicant 59 could be a very nice person who’d make a great den- will apply to nine or ten institutions. tist, but we only have so many spots, so we just have to AADsAs verifies the applicants’ grades and tran- do the best we can in prioritizing and getting the very scripts and begins mailing weekly packets to the coun- best people available.” try’s dental schools in June. “We immediately start so how do they choose? And what do prospective reviewing those applications to choose the people we students need to know to put their “best foot forward” in would like to pursue further, or at least take the next step (U A B Dentistr y ) 3
  • 6. with, which is a supplemental application we will send dentists share some common qualities: good “people them,” says Filler. skills,” perhaps even a cut above those of other health- From an applicant pool of as many as 900, Filler says care providers; good artistic skills, or at least the ability that around 200 will get that supplemental application, to recognize good art when they see it; and a passion at which point they will be asked to submit letters of for learning. the last of those is important not just recommendation, photographs, and other information. for good students but for good practitioners, she says. the admissions committee reviews this additional info “As the seniors are about to graduate, i tell them that and selects applicants for a formal interview at the sOD. dentistry is sort of like driving—you’ve been in driver “interview days” start toward the end of August and are training for a year with your permit, and when you held each Wednesday until the end of January—or “until finally get your license, they tell you, ‘now you’ll learn we’re done,” says Filler with a grin. how to drive.’ Dentistry’s the same way, in a sense: You An interview day (see sidebar) includes a tour of go through dental school, you sit for the board exams, the sOD building and lunch with a number of current you receive your license to practice, and then you start students—but the conversation during these activities learning dentistry.” rarely involves grades or shop talk. Any applicant who the committee members ask straightforward ques- has made it to the interview stage clearly has the intel- tions such as “What characteristics would you bring to lect and experience necessary to become a capable den- the class?” and “What are your strongest and weakest tal student; the purpose of the interview is to learn more personality characteristics?” Jackson says, but they also about “the person behind the transcript” and decide delve into some seemingly unrelated topics: What do which applicants have the interpersonal skills and work you like to do to relax? Do you have any pets? What ethic to make good dentists. sorts of foods do you like to eat? “each of us has our own special questions that we introduce into the pro- 2. cess, and from the time that i started on the committee, Know what your my question was always, ‘What’s your favorite dessert?’” f avo r i t e d e s s e r t i s . Jackson remembers with a laugh. “And that just sort of became a standard part of the interview. Food becomes a big part of the process of trying to determine a candi- so what makes a good dentist, and how do the date’s personality; it’s just something about being in the interviewers determine these qualities? neither question south—food’s a big issue for us.” has a simple answer, says admissions committee mem- Filler says the committee prides itself on two aspects ber Janice Jackson, D.M.D., an associate professor of of the interview in particular: First, all five members of pediatric dentistry. she adds, however, that most good the committee conduct the interviews, so each member 4 (U A B De n t i s t r y )
  • 7. IntERvIEw DAy i A ‘Ride- Along’ with Six UAB Hopefuls IT’S ABOUT 10 O’CLOCk on a Wednesday morning, and six people— here—does anybody feel like they need to leave?’ Not one of them three men and three women—are waiting in the SOD lobby. Their wanted to reschedule their interview—they didn’t want to worry formal business attire suggests a job interview, which isn’t far from the about it one more day.” truth—but this interview will be longer, and yet paradoxically more Today’s group includes an applicant from California, another from casual, than any job interview they’ve ever had. Welcome to “interview Alberta, Canada, and two sisters from Florence, Alabama. Third-years day” at the School of Dentistry. Alec Hill and Jenny Castanez improvise nicely as they lead the inter- Steve Filler and his admissions committee have hosted hundreds of viewees floor by floor through the busy clinics and laboratories. Along interview days, but that doesn’t mean they have it down to a science— the way, students approach the interviewees and chat with them about the unexpected is always likely to occur. This morning, for instance, what life is like at the SOD—something that isn’t necessarily common Filler disappears for a moment to park a car for an interviewee unfamil- at other dental schools, Filler says. iar with UAB’s campus, and the two fourth-year students slated to lead Filler, who wears a tie but no jacket as he guides the interviewees in the tour of the school have been sidetracked with exams, meaning that for lunch, says the admissions committee goes out of its way to create a pair of third-year students have to fill in at the last minute. But that’s a relaxed atmosphere on interview day. “I purposely don’t make the far from the strangest thing that’s happened on interview day, Filler says. applicants wait until everybody shows up for lunch,” he says. “It doesn’t “I remember one interviewee who hit a dog on his way to the school, take much to get their anxiety level running high, and we do our best to and his airbag went off, and he came in with powder from the airbag keep that in check.” He adds that he tries to create a comfortable mix all over his suit,” he recalls. “Another time, it snowed, and we didn’t of applicants and students at lunchtime—for instance, if the interview know because we were deep inside the building. I came out to get one group includes an older “nontraditional” applicant, he’ll try to find a non- of the applicants to come in and interview, and the school had more traditional student to eat with them; if there’s a big group from Auburn, or less shut down, so I said, ‘Now, I don’t want to get anyone trapped he’ll pick out a couple of Auburn grads from among the student body. cOntinueD On page 20 (U A B Dentistr y ) 5
  • 8. has a clear picture of each applicant without having to “it was kind of obvious that i was in a different rely on secondhand descriptions from other interviewers. situation from the other students i was grouped with second, the committee strives to make the interviews as on interview day—i’d been married for five and a half comfortable as possible. the latter aspect is something years when i started class,” he says. “i was nervous, too, Chris Canales can attest to personally: Just a few years because there’s such a tremendous buildup: You know ago, Canales was facing the five committee members for this is the last piece of the puzzle, the last thing you have his interview, and this year, as a UABsOD senior, he served control over in the process. as the student member of the admissions committee. “But the interviewers were very nice—they calmed Canales says the friendly atmosphere of the inter- our nerves by saying, ‘this is more of a getting-to-know- view—a conversation as opposed to an interrogation—is you opportunity; we’re not going to grill you about your no accident: it mirrors the friendly, familial atmosphere accomplishments or lack thereof.’ A lot of the questions of the school itself. “Other schools can grill you during were kind of what i expected—how’d you come to the interviews,” he says. “i think one of the things that sets decision to apply to dental school, why do you think UAB apart is the fact that, day to day, people are friendly you’d be a good dentist. there was one question that here, and the way they interact is great. We want to make seemed a little bit more obviously tailored toward me in sure the applicants understand that this is not only one of particular—‘Have you ever considered doing anything the top dental schools in the country, but it’s also a fun else?’ But i just answered honestly: When i got out of place to be.” school with my degree, i had four or five things in mind that i might try, but once i made the decision to go to 3. dental school, i was focused on it. there wasn’t another r e l a x . d o n ’t b e a f r a i d career that entered my mind, which was a little foreign to be different. to me—coming out of undergrad, my goals hadn’t been nearly that specific. But this time around, that narrower focus helped me with my resolve and determination to if ed richardson’s experience is any indication, that see the process through.” message is getting across nicely. now completing his first richardson was soon accepted into the class of 2011, year at UAB, richardson earned a degree in mechanical and he says the positive first impressions he got of UAB engineering from Auburn University and spent four years on interview day have proved to be accurate. “i’ve been working for a paper company before deciding he wanted to very happy with my experience here with the faculty and exercise a little more control over his own life and career— facilities,” he says. “And Dr. Filler . . . well, it’s not hard and that dentistry would be a good way to achieve that con- to see why everyone likes him. When i was applying to trol. As a “nontraditional” student, however, he had twice dental school, there wasn’t a whole lot of reason for me to as many reasons to be nervous heading into his interview look elsewhere, and if i had to do it all over again, i’d do it at the sOD. pretty much the exact same way.” 6 (U A B De n t i s t r y )
  • 9. 4. “there’s no bias or string-pulling; we don’t care who your daddy was or that you bumped into the governor be patient. one night at dinner. We look at the whole person and ask ourselves whether they have the character to make a good dentist one day.” Once the interviews take place, the admissions com- 5. mittee members compare notes and decide which appli- cants were the most impressive. But even if an applicant d o n ’t b e a f r a i d o f interviews in August or september and is immediately high expectations. deemed worthy of admission, the sOD cannot notify applicants of acceptance earlier than December 1, by agreement with the rest of the nation’s dental schools. Filler admits that the committee makes its own job the committee members recognize that this “waiting a little tougher by setting its expectations so high: “We game” can be another nerve-wracking part of the process, want people who can handle books, handle tests, handle particularly for the applicants who don’t get a decision people, and be compassionate and honest on top of all of right at the beginning of December, but it’s made neces- that,” he says. “We want the whole package—and we get sary by the “rolling” nature of the months-long interview- it most of the time. i’ve been very proud of the students ing process. “At all times, we have to keep in mind both we’ve gotten to come to the school of Dentistry and how many people we have already accepted and how what they’ve done, both here and after they graduate.” many people have said yes—that’s how we keep track of For Canales, that includes an orthodontics residency how many spots we have left to fill,” Jackson explains. at the University of north Carolina at Chapel Hill start- “We go through a ranking process at various times on ing in August. reflecting on his time as a member of the the schedule, and we’ll go back to those rankings quite admissions committee, he says their work has been hard often. And once we send out another batch of acceptance and their decisions difficult to make, but adds that “it’s letters, and we get responses from those people, then an important burden to have. we ask ourselves, ‘OK, we’ve filled a few more spots in “We’re looking at the future of our profession here,” the upcoming class—now how many more can we pick?’ he says. “When you boil it down to the essentials, we’re At any given time we have to base our decisions on the deciding who’s going to serve the field of dentistry in remaining number of open slots in the next class, and Alabama for the next 30 years, because that’s how long that number is constantly changing.” some of these people are going to work. it’s an though the process can be worrisome for the appli- important task that we take very seriously, cants, Canales says he can assure prospective students of and we try to put our best foot forward one thing: the interviews and final decisions are handled so that we get the top candidates—and fairly and equitably. “that was the thing that blew me we pick the ones who put their best foot away, being on this side of the process this year,” he says. forward as well.” (U A B Dentistr y ) 7
  • 10. The Hinman Pledge PerHAPs tHe GreAtest LeGACY of the pro- education and in the individual’s contribution to The SOD fession of dentistry is being able to make a differ- dentistry, and he organized the first meeting of 40 ence in the lives of numerous patients each day. dentists for educational purposes in 1911. nearly Gets a Boost through passing on their knowledge to educate the dentists of tomorrow, dentists also reach out to a century later, the Hinman Dental Meeting has grown to more than 23,000 dental professionals from One of future generations. A longtime ally and supporter of the school from across the country and around the world. the meeting focuses on providing the best possible America’s of Dentistry, the Hinman Dental society, recent- ly pledged $500,000 to support the thomas P. continuing education for the entire dental team, including general dentists, specialists, hygienists, Hinman Dental Meeting endowed Professorship in assistants, front office staff and students. Most Revered the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry. senior Director of Development J. scott the first portion of the donation was awarded Huffman explains that the pledge grew from Dental in March at the 2008 thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting in Atlanta and was accepted by Dr. Huw F. ongoing support from the society with the help of dental students who studied at UAB in years Societies thomas, dean of Dentistry. “this contribution will be tremendously ben- past. “We’ve had a very strong relationship with the society through the years, and they know how eficial to the school in carrying out our academic much we appreciate their support and what such a mission,” says thomas. “We very much appreciate pledge would mean for the school,” Huffman says. it. the professorship gives us the opportunity to “several of our alumni are members and were very add another quality faculty member to teach our supportive when the donation was under consider- students and allows us to continue to build our ation, particularly Dr. Jim Bob Williamson, who is relationship with the Hinman Dental society, a member of the Board of trustees, and Drs. John which we treasure. C. Barnes and Ken Kendrick.” “the society has been very supportive of edu- the donation, which will be awarded in multiple cation at all levels. in the past, their generosity installments over five years, will be invested with endowed the Hinman Alabama education seminar, earnings funding the endowed professorship. When an annual one-day continuing-education program funds are fully invested, a nationwide search for at UAB that presents a leading authority lecturing candidates for the professorship will begin. on some aspect of dentistry. the Hinman Dental “through this professorship, the pledge helps to society also offers scholarships for two of our dental strengthen our association with the Hinman Dental students each year.” society,” says Huffman. “that relationship with such the society is named for Dr. thomas P. Hinman, a world-renowned group of dental professionals professor of oral surgery at the southern Dental means a lot. it will be a tremendous boost in helping By laura Freeman College in Atlanta. Hinman believed strongly in us to attract and retain a top faculty member.” 8 (U A B De n t i s t r y )
  • 11. Surfing the SOD even BeFOre Her First DAY on the job, Michelle robinson, D.D.s., was making plans for the school “While the new curriculum is in progress, much of our work will be hosted on a sharePoint site New Web Site of Dentistry’s new Web site. linked from our main Web site,” robinson adds. “i started at UAB in August 2005, but the com- “sharePoint is a Microsoft-based collaboration tool a Big Benefit mittee chair was so anxious to get this project under- that uses a Web portal to allow us to share docu- way, he started e-mailing me in July,” says robinson, assistant dean for dental informatics at the UABsOD. ments, have internal discussions, coordinate meet- ings, share blogs and newsletters, and obtain current for Patients “However, the school was about to go through an news feeds from curriculum-related sites. the new exhaustive accreditation process and a huge imple- layout features a topical menu on one side of the mentation project that involved a new clinical infor- page and a user-centered menu at the top. We now mation system. Both these processes caused the Web have a search feature that allows users to sort through project to be stalled.” all our pages and a site map to help guide users. the in 2007, after a series of meetings, construction content-rotation feature allows us to put many more finally began on the site, www.dental.uab.edu, which items on a page by using ‘teaser’ links that give users was redesigned to be more user-friendly, with easily tidbits of information linked to full articles.” updatable pages. “We also wanted to preserve the Working on the redesign process, which includes UAB branding, so the new Web site has an appear- a second phase, has been extremely rewarding for ance that is more consistent with the campus site,” robinson and her committee. robinson explains. “in addition, current technologies “Because there are so many exciting developments make it much easier to introduce interactivity and happening at the school, it was a challenge giving multimedia. i think the biggest challenge was agree- every department and topic the appropriate ‘real ing on a unified design and getting content from the estate’ on the site. i was thrilled to have this problem, experts in a timely manner.” and think the new site will handle it well.” By CinDy riley According to robinson, the old Web site’s content wasn’t always current, and many facets of clinical care weren’t presented. the new site preserves some of the information layout but allows patients to obtain more specific information about clinics and learn about research studies in which they might be eligible to participate. “Patients will also be able to send comments to the Webmaster,” says robinson. “eventually, we plan to feature more interactive content targeted to those with specific dental needs. And each department will have areas where they can showcase renovations, research projects, and new personnel.” With a video server and a new staff member experi- enced in photography and videography, the department plans to showcase accom- plishments with images that look professional but can be viewed by most internet users with average computers. the site also has several areas that rotate content, making it flexible for demonstrations the school’s new Web site is better-looking than the old one, but it’s also more functional for patients, says Michelle robinson. and event publishing. (U A B Dentistr y ) 9
  • 12. Behind THE SCENES (left-right) Debbie Stanford, Kay White,Yolanda Jones, and Kathleen Diveley The Staffers MOvies MAKe it LOOK eAsY—just wave a magic wand and cue the special effects. in the real that he can’t get the appointment time he wants, so i try to explain things.” world, however, creating a place where amazing Diveley also hears from happy patients. “the nurse Who Keep things can happen takes a lot of work behind the practitioner from a state agency told me what a posi- scenes to set the stage. tive experience it was when i was able to coordinate the UABSOD the school of Dentistry has its own supporting cast of all-stars working to create an environment several departments to help two patients,” she recalls. “i also worked with a social worker as an advocate for Going where dental students and those who teach them can perform at their best and give their patients the a patient with disabilities who had no family. Being able to do things like that means a lot to me.” highest standards of care. Here, a few of those many Diveley, who was named to her current position unsung heroes get their turn in the spotlight. late last year, has several new goals: “i’d like to ramp up diversity training and standardize orientations, and Kathleen diveley | i’m working on a risk-management policies and pro- Director of clinical Operations cedures manual as a ‘go-to’ source for new people.” After hours, Diveley still makes time for walking, Ask Kathleen Diveley what her typical day is like, animal rescue work, and public service with groups and she’ll tell you, “there’s no such thing as a typical such as Habitat for Humanity. day. i might do 15 different things. if there are emer- “every year i try to do at least one thing that con- gencies, we handle them; if a patient falls, or a student tributes and makes the world a little better.” gets a needle stick, we make sure they get help.” the clinical operations office also handles com- K ay W h i t e | pliance, legal issues, and quality assurance and makes sure labs meet OsHA standards and regulations; Facilities coordinator they do orientations and in-service training for clini- When people talk about Kay White knowing cal staff and students, and they make sure students the dental school from top to bottom, it’s literally have their vaccinations and CPr training. true. since transferring from the school of Health Another part of Diveley’s job is resolving prob- Professions seven years ago, White has helped to By laura Freeman lems. “First i listen—a patient may just be unhappy coordinate the renovation of almost every floor. 10 (U A B D e n t i s t r y )
  • 13. “i still have one floor yet to go,” says White. “the and two daughters. After a busy day, she still makes transformation is exciting to see.” time to work with the PtA, the football boosters, and “When I go to White writes work orders, reviews blueprints, and the Girl scouts. represents the dean in planning meetings. Her office handles maintenance requests, records storage, mov- “i never thought i’d like working with kids this much, but i do. some day i might like to go back to work in the ing, furnishings and equipment, and building access. she has signed up to 60 access cards at a time for stu- school and have a business that works with kids and helps to give them a positive spin on life. morning, I dent tours, and she keeps a close watch on the weather and gets on the intercom when tornadoes are near. “For now, though, they are keeping me pretty busy in prosthodontics. it’s good to be able to get up never know “You have to be ready to deal with the unexpect- in the morning and look forward to going to work. ed,” she says, “like the water pipe that broke behind . . . We have a good time in this department—when what might the mechanical room, flooded the floor below, and you enjoy being around the people you work with, set off the fire alarms.” One of White’s favorite jobs is organizing alumni everybody does a better job.” come up. That’s debbie stanford | tours of renovations and designing posters showing work in progress. Her proudest moments are the executive assistant, Dean’s Office what makes it dedications of projects she helped to complete. “the Charles A. McCallum Jr., D.M.D., M.D., Oral and every morning Debbie stanford arrives at her desk in the dean’s office with a carefully planned interesting.” Maxillofacial surgery Clinic was the first large proj- ect, dedicated in 2003. the dedication of the Jeffcoat Periodontology Clinic and the eighth-floor renova- schedule. However, even with the best-made plans, experience has taught her to expect the unexpected. —Kay White “it may be an out-of-town visitor who can’t make tion were also major highlights,” she says. his connecting flight or a student issue that needs White lives in nearby Leeds with her husband, the dean’s immediate attention—we manage to get it Billy, who is retired from the Alabama Department done. the word ‘no’ is simply not in our vocabulary,” of Public safety. someday, she says, she would like she says. “i must sing the praises of the great staff to do more antiquing in new england to add to her members in our office.” huge collection of Heisey glass. in the meantime, she stanford schedules appointments, keeps the has plenty to keep her busy. school’s calendar updated, schedules flights, and “When i go to work in the morning, i never know keeps the paperwork flowing. Along with her team, what might come up. that’s what makes it interesting.” she coordinates the annual reporting process for accreditation and plans events such as faculty retreats, yo l a n d a “ te r r i ” J o n e s | Office Alumni Weekend, graduation, the White Coat Services Specialist, Dept. of prosthodontics Ceremony, and other events in conjunction with the if you’re looking for Yolanda Jones in the offices of Alumni Affairs and student Affairs. stanford Department of Prosthodontics, ask for terri. You’ll says one of the highlights of the past year was help- recognize her by her quick smile and upbeat per- ing to plan the southern Conference of Dental Deans sonality. and examiners meeting at ross Bridge resort. “People say i’m too happy,” she says with a laugh. stanford is also secretary for the school’s executive “i’m outgoing and i enjoy working with students.” Council and Dean’s Council and has served as secre- in addition to typing exams and sometimes proc- tary for two UAB dean searches and one chairman toring them, Jones scans slides, helps with lecture search. But she still manages to find the energy after preparations, and does PowerPoint presentations. a busy day to enjoy home renovation projects, sew- “After instructors give a lecture, i post it online for ing, and painting. stanford and her husband, Larry, students to review and check against their notes. it have two sons. helps them study before tests to make sure they are After working at University Hospital early in well prepared.” her career, stanford returned to UAB in 1996 and Jones is also this year’s chair of the administra- has been helping to keep things on track in the tive staff council, and she works with junior and dean’s office ever since. “Meetings are cancelled and senior students to make sure they are getting all their rescheduled, e-mail requests are continuous, and the requirements. phone never stops ringing . . . and i have to keep Dr. Jones started working at UAB shortly after thomas in step with it all,” she says. “it keeps me on moving to Birmingham from Mobile with her son my toes!” (U A B Dentistr y ) 11
  • 14. student spotlights Juliaisherwood TRUE CALLING in ListeninG tO Her HeArt, pediat- As she worked with patients, ric dentistry resident Julia isherwood found isherwood was drawn to pedi- her true calling. atric dentistry. “i have a better After graduating in biomedical sciences knack for working with kids and as a premed student at Auburn, she was gaining their trust,” she says. rethinking her original plan to go into “Pediatric dentistry is a challeng- medicine and decided to take a year off to ing field, and it’s not for everyone. consider what choices best fit her talents it requires patience and tact, and and what she wanted to achieve in life. “i it’s more of a calling. was working as a lab tech in a genetics lab “though there are many chal- at UAB and talked with a coworker who had lenges, the rewards are even great- been a dental student and was thinking of er. to be able to create a positive switching to medical school. We were such dental experience for children so opposites. the more we talked, the more i that they may continue to have a realized that the things he didn’t like about pleasant outlook on dental care dentistry were exactly what i was looking throughout life is one of the most for. My husband and another friend were rewarding experiences for the dental students at UAB, and they suggested pediatric dentist.” Julia isherwood looked into dental school at the that i look into it. so i worked a while as a this summer, after isherwood STEVE WOOD encouragement of her husband; later this year, dental assistant to get a feel for the work, completes her residency and her they’ll begin practicing together. and i applied to dental school.” husband finishes his orthodontics Chriscanales UP FOR A CHALLENGE—IN ANNAPOLIS OR BIRMINGHAM FrOM tHe stArt, Chris Canales knew school. the more i looked into dentistry, he’d chosen a challenging profession. the more i felt it was the profession for “i think all of us can think of some- me—i wanted to have an impact on the where we’d rather be than in the dentist’s lives of others. even on an average day you chair,” admits Canales, who will graduate have the opportunity to help someone by from UABsOD in May. “My goal is to improving his or her oral health.” provide each patient with a positive expe- While in school, Canales remained in rience so they don’t mind coming back.” the naval reserves and was named com- Canales, who earned a bachelor’s manding officer of his unit. that made com- degree in weapons and systems engi- pleting his degree much more complicated. neering from the United states naval “As the person ultimately responsible Academy in 1995, actually entered the for 40 sailors, i often had to put my stud- dental field as a second ies aside to help these individuals and their career. “After 14 years as families get ready for one-year deployments a naval officer, i briefly to iraq or Afghanistan. i also had to dedi- worked as a pharmaceuti- cate one weekend each month and several cal rep here in Birmingham weeks each summer to active-duty service. after leaving active-duty While this required detailed time manage- chris canales (seen at right as a naval military. i lived with my ment and made dental school more difficult, STEVE WOOD academy cadet) had to balance dental sister, who was in her it was the most rewarding thing i’ve done in school with service in the naval reserves. freshman year of dental the last four years.” 12 (U A B D e n t i s t r y )
  • 15. student spotlights BrandyAdams A LONG AND WINDING ROAD THAT LED TO DENTISTRY training, they plan to begin practicing in Montgomery. Of the many lessons isherwood has nOW A sOPHOMOre learned while pursuing her degree at UAB, at the sOD, Brandy she says one of the most valuable is persis- Adams says she definitely tence. “Although there are obstacles in the made the right decision quest to achieve a goal, it is important to by choosing to explore believe in times of doubt that if you keep the field of dentistry. positive and stay dedicated, then your hard it just took her a little work and persistence will eventually pay off. longer than some other My best advice to other students is to enjoy people to arrive at that college life, but also set priorities to achieve decision. your goal. Also, never give up, do your best “i did my undergrad academically, and this will keep your future studies at the University options open. if you do, career opportuni- of Alabama, finished up, ties will fall into place.” and really didn’t know —Laura Freeman what i wanted to do,” she says. “i went to work, did several different jobs, and tried to talk with peo- ple about what i really wanted to do with my life; eventually i went into pharmaceutical sales, and i did that for about three years. But i knew that i didn’t want to do that STEVE WOOD Brandy adams credits her parents and family members with forever. providing the support she needed to succeed in a challenging field. “i have some good After graduation, Canales, 35, will begin friends who went to den- a residency in orthodontics at the University tal school here at UAB, and through talking of people who had careers before this— of north Carolina at Chapel Hill. He says to them and doing a little shadowing, i just accountants and engineers and all kinds he’s looking forward to both the move and kind of figured it out—‘that’s it. that’s what of things. And there’s a good mix of single the opportunity to continue learning. i want to do.’” people and those who are married and have “each specialty seems to have a personal- Adams quit her sales job and moved in children. i just love my classmates.” ity, and orthodontics fits mine,” explains the with her brother and his family in Mobile, Adams has also developed quite a bit Florence, Alabama, native, who has some where she spent a year working in a den- of school spirit in a short amount of time: advice for others considering a career in tist’s office—which was actually her second even during her freshman year, she could dentistry: “Make sure you spend quite a bit stint in the dental field; she’d worked in an be spotted regularly volunteering at den- of time observing dentists and specialties. orthodontist’s office briefly before going tal-school events, from Homecoming to Dentistry blends science, working with your into pharmaceutical sales. During that time, Alumni Weekend to Give Kids a smile. hands, managing a small business and staff, she was accepted to the sOD, and despite “Dentistry combines all the things that and handling the personalities of patients. following what would technically qualify as i wanted in a career,” she says. “it lets me Most patient anxiety comes from fear of the a “nontraditional” path to dental school, she interact every day with people; it lets me unknown. it is important to build trust with says she’s been able to fit in well. help people and provide a service i know a patient and make sure that they understand “My class gets along really well, and it’s a they need; it’s got great hours and a good what their procedures entail. Just because a good mix,” she says. “there are some people lifestyle—you just can’t go wrong. i’m lucky past visit was unpleasant doesn’t mean the who came straight out of undergrad, and to have found this path.” current one has to be.” they’re in their early 20s, but there are a lot —Doug Gillett —Cindy Riley (U A B Dentistr y ) 13
  • 16. faculty focus Jimbroomed.d.s. AGENT OF CHANGE WitH His MAster’s in biomaterials sci- “However,” he says, “it can be hard to ence from the University of Alabama and a make a connection when you separate position at a top dental school, Jim Broome, biomedical learning from clinical practice. D.D.s. is certainly well positioned to come And these students come here to learn up with the next great advance in dental how to treat patients, so we’re integrating biomaterials. But it may be his current the biomedical with the clinical scienc- administrative project that has a bigger es—similar to what the medical school impact on the future of dentistry. launched last fall.” For Broome, research has taken a back Pride is evident in his voice as he seat the last two years to the UABsOD’s describes being part of a new way of efforts to roll out a new curriculum. As asso- learning. “there are a lot of schools going ciate dean for clinical affairs, Broome chaired through these changes, but i can say with the Curriculum innovation task Force based all honesty that we are at the forefront.” on a vision provided by the school’s dean, Broome describes a “perfect storm” of Huw thomas, B.D.s., M.s., Ph.D. the dean’s vision, resources, and people. As Broome explains, dental students “We have the strongest faculty in the coun- traditionally go through two years of try,” he says. “We have the type of people basic biomedical sciences, then two years who embrace change, get down to task, and of clinical studies. Arriving at UAB in make it happen. virtually everyone on the Jim Broome has served in leadership positions 2000, he saw no problem with that, since faculty is involved in one way or another.” STEVE WOOD from elmendorf air Force Base in alaska to here in that was exactly how he had learned at it’s that type of teamwork that Broome Birmingham at the School of Dentistry. the north Carolina school of Dentistry. experienced in what he calls the most Dennis Pillion,Ph.d. CLASS ACT eArLY in His CAreer, Dennis Pillion, “i’m in a unique position to serve as Ph.D., didn’t care much for public speaking. director of the organ-systems courses in A former laboratory scientist, he focused the new curriculum, because pharma- instead on his research. But that changed cology has always been quite broad in after volunteering at a diabetes camp as an its coverage of multiple systems in the assistant counselor. body,” says Pillion, a Connecticut native “it really had an impact on my pro- who received a bachelor’s degree in biol- fessional development,” explains Pillion, ogy and chemistry from the University interim chair of UAB’s Department of of Hartford and completed his doctor- Pharmacology and toxicology, a Joint al training at the Medical College of Health sciences department. “i got back Georgia. “Drugs that affect the heart, tenfold what i gave, and over the years i brain, or teeth also affect other systems. became more comfortable in front of a Pharmacology considers the entire spec- classroom.” trum of those drug actions and touches Pillion, a member of UAB’s faculty since every aspect of the body. 1979, started out working on kidney-trans- “students in the UABsOD program port systems, then moved his focus to fat have an incredibly challenging academic cells before focusing on diabetes research objective,” he adds. “they must learn the and education. He has served as a director basics of normal human anatomy and Once strictly a laboratory scientist, for the pharmacology courses offered to physiology and then discover what hap- Dennis pillion now enjoys teaching students STEVE WOOD medical, dental, and optometry students pens in a disease state and how to treat from three different uaB schools. for almost nine years. the problem. the challenge is to filter 14 (U A B D e n t i s t r y )
  • 17. faculty focus WenChouWu,d.d.s.,m.s. A LONG-DISTANCE OPPORTUNITY THAT PAID OFF gratifying assignment of his 22-year Air Force career before coming to UAB. Most W Hen tAiPei nAtiv e of his time was spent in medical centers, Wen Chou Wu moved to largely insulated from military operations— Birmingham in 2003, he knew but when he was asked to run the dental it wouldn’t be an easy transi- service at a base in Alaska, the culture was tion. the nearly 24-hour over- all about fighter jets, not medicine. He says seas flight didn’t help. most people don’t realize that for every “it was really tough in the romantic-sounding solo jet mission, there beginning,” says Wu, an assis- are a thousand people behind the scenes. tant professor in the UABsOD’s “i felt a real connection. i was contribut- prosthodontics department. “i ing to the mission of the Air Force,” he says. came with my wife, whom i’d “it was a great way to end my career.” just married. she didn’t speak so what happens when the curricu- english, and with the southern lum rollout mission is complete? this fall, accent people have here, we Broome says he will “go back to his day had a difficult time fitting in.” job” managing the school’s operations. But But Wu was determined after an exhilarating Air Force stint and the to stick it out. After three energetic undertaking of the Curriculum years training in the Graduate innovation task Force, don’t expect him to Prosthodontics Program at remain quietly behind his desk for long. the sOD, Wu pursued addi- —Shelly DeButts tional studies in maxillofacial prosthetics. “My original plan was to Wen chou Wu’s original plan was to finish his schooling STEVE WOOD learn as much as i could, then and return to his native taiwan, but he found uaB too good an environment to leave. go back to serve my people in taiwan,” explains Wu. “i felt i lacked the ability to handle big cases, “Coming here was a big move—imagine the information and present those students especially regarding implants. However, suddenly being in China or Japan with with the most important aspects of it. Add the more i learned, the more i became people who, from your point of view, have to that the fact that our information is interested in this specialty. i found UAB strange customs,” he explains. “in the begin- really rudimentary in many areas and con- provided a better environment in academic ning, my wife was afraid to even answer the stantly changing as we discover holes in dentistry, which is why i changed my plans phone—she was frustrated and lonely when our understanding. these deficiencies make and decided to stay here.” i was at work. But the people here were so the whole process of educating future den- Along with his mentor, Michael nice and considerate, she started meeting tal practitioners a never-ending chess game McCracken, Ph.D., Wu teaches in the friends and practicing english with them. that requires us to continuously revamp implant clinic for graduate prosthodontics. now she has finished the M.B.A. program and replace what we teach. it also creates a He also sees patients and consults at the at UAB. i am very proud of her.” great opportunity and responsibility for us Kirklin Clinic. Wu is also grateful to have the opportu- as educators to continue to learn.” “i’m particularly interested in maxil- nity to help others through his work. And Pillion is looking forward to what lofacial prosthetics and implant dentistry. “those patients who’ve acquired defects lies ahead. nothing pleases me more than seeing the from cancer, accidents, or congenital “Failure to change our curriculum would happiness of my patients. i feel very fortu- defects really suffer a lot,” he says. “it is so have important and long-lasting effects on nate to be in this position.” rewarding to be able to put smiles back on our competitiveness. And we owe a debt Wu hopes to become board-certified in their faces.” to our current and past faculty for their prosthodontics and eventually plans to get —Cindy Riley efforts, positioning us in the top echelon involved in more clinically relevant studies, of dental schools in the country. i see the as well as more teaching. But he feels he’s national landscape changing, with UAB at already accomplished a great deal. the front of the pack.” —Cindy Riley (U A B Dentistr y ) 15
  • 18. alumni profiles William davis, Noah Dean miller, and Lewis chapman THEY EXCELLED BOTH ON THE PLAYING FIELD AND IN THE CLASSROOM; NOW THEY’VE INSTILLED THAT SPIRIT IN THE NEXT GENERATION By shelly DeButts Less tHAn tWO YeArs AGO, William been a big influence on me,” he says. “Going dents are thinking because you all shared Davis, D.M.D., recruited a new player to the reunions, there’s a lot of camarade- so much,” he says. for his team. she was a ’Bama legacy, of rie—it’s just like being on a [sports] team, And he wholeheartedly agrees that if course, just like he was, although she and it gets stronger all of the time. As the you can play sports in college, you can didn’t try out for the football squad as he, years go by, we just keep getting stronger tackle anything—pun intended, since his brothers, and father all had. And he as a team. that may seem strange, but i’ve Miller played defense. Both he and Davis had drafted her from the UABsOD, which always thought that.” say that playing football, especially in Bear he knew from experience was a reliable noah Dean Miller, D.M.D., agrees. He Bryant’s demanding championship-level source of new recruits. and Davis were football teammates, then program, helped prepare them for life. so he really didn’t need to spend too UABsOD teammates, and now practic- “Coach always taught us that if you much time deciding on his pick—she was, ing professional teammates. Miller has a make it through something tough once, it after all, his own daughter, Clay reese. general-dentistry practice in rainbow City, makes it that much easier to do it again,” she’s now a successful member of his Alabama, and still sees Davis on a regular says Davis. “You learn how to stick with dental practice in Athens, Alabama, a fully basis, evidence of the close friendship they something and not give up. He was always contributing member of the team. Davis developed when they met in Alabama’s talking about that.” wouldn’t have it any other way. 1970 football recruiting class. Miller sees “Unlike at UA, we actually had free “there’s a certain amount of respect his fellow UABsOD graduates as team- time to study in dental school, since there that comes with a degree from the UAB mates, too. was no football practice,” Miller remem- school of Dentistry,” he says. “not to men- “it’s hard to explain to a layperson, but bers. “i wasn’t having to prepare for tests tion all of the help that you get from your you almost know what the other dental stu- sore and tired after four or six hours of former teammates.” practice. it was still intense with academics, but i was pretty well dentistry as a focused by the time i got to te a m s p o r t dental school. the discipline i For Davis, this means pro- “Going to the reunions, learned carried over and i knew fessional colleagues and former what i wanted to do.” Crimson tide teammates alike. Before he was Dr. Davis, he was there’s a lot of camaraderie Both of Miller’s sons learned the life lessons of mixing sports Bill Davis, football player for Bear Bryant’s title-winning dynasty at —it’s just like being on a and academics as he learned them from his father, who was UA in the 1970s. Back then his both a coach and a teacher. Matt teammates were on the field and team, and it gets stronger led the Crimson tide to the in the locker room; now they’re Cotton Bowl before graduating everywhere. “Other dentists [from the all the time.” to pursue his career; Marc, also a tide player, followed in his UABsOD] have been a lot of help throughout my career. it’s —Bill Davis father’s footsteps to graduate from the UABsOD in June. He caption 16 (U A B De n t i s t r y )
  • 19. alumni profiles noah Dean Miller (left) and Bill Davis (below, with daughter clay reese) say they learned valuable lessons both as alabama football players and as uaB dental students that they’ve been able to pass along to their children. Will chapman (above, left) followed in his father Lewis’s footsteps by playing tennis at Birmingham-Southern college and then earning a dental degree at uaB; they now practice orthodontics together in Montgomery. is currently part of a periodontal residency field and explored different areas while in of college. But by his sophomore year he had program in the Air Force. college, but the “before and after” treat- earned a place in the playing rotation and a so will Marc join his dad’s team when ment results he saw in his father’s office scholarship, and by his senior year he was he’s ready to start practicing? “With my son convinced him that working in his father’s named to the nAiA All-Academic team. specializing in periodontics and me being a practice was where he needed to be. “i always felt like i was a better student general dentist, i don’t know right now, but “the familiarity and trust level we have because i played on the tennis team,” says it’s a big topic of conversation,” Miller says. with each other are the biggest advantages Will. “it definitely made me budget my time “there’s a lot of opportunity for him here— to working together,” he says. “But my wife better.” i’m keeping my fingers crossed.” sometimes gives me a hard time about being echoing Miller’s sentiments, he adds, “it too much like my dad. i tell her if he wasn’t was easier for me in dental school after being legacies in the clinic— a good orthodontist, then that would be a a student-athlete. i was used to going to and on the court problem.” class in the morning, playing tennis in the that question is already answered for Being a lot like his dad extended to play- afternoon, and studying at night. in dental Lewis Chapman, D.M.D. He and his son, ing tennis, which eventually earned Will a school, the only difference was that i was Will Chapman, D.M.D., are on the same scholarship to Birmingham-southern, where going to lab or clinic in the afternoon instead team, practicing orthodontics together his father earned his bachelor’s degree in of playing tennis.” in Montgomery; both are graduates of mathematics. Will pursued a degree in eco- now Will has the chance to pass the Birmingham-southern College (BsC), as nomics there before following his father to athlete-scholar-professional tradition down well as part of the UABsOD “team” referred the UABsOD. to a third generation just as Davis and Miller to by Davis and Miller. Will started playing tennis with his dad did: His first child is five years old—just As early as high school, Will had a and brothers as a child and was a walk-on about old enough to pick up a tennis racquet. general goal of working in a health-related to the BsC tennis team in his freshman year right, Dad? (U A B Dentistr y ) 17
  • 20. end notes a conversation with BRUCE CUNNINGHAM, D.M.D. Born in Wausau, Wisconsin, UAB DEntIStRy: How did you get interested in that you find most rewarding about your practice? and raised in Butler, Alabama, dentistry? CUnnInGHAM: i think what’s probably been the Bruce Cunningham has lived in CUnnInGHAM: My neighbor was roy Cowan, most rewarding thing about my practice is the rela- many different places and traveled a well-known general dentist in Alabama. Butler’s tionships that i have with my patients—the fact that all over the world, but he’s remained really small—there’s only 2,000 people in the town, i consider them not only my patients but also my devoted to the state of Alabama— and it’s a very rural area—so he was very well known friends, and it’s sort of like a large family. i’ve got my and respected throughout the community. immediate family, my extended family, my family of and to the School of Dentistry. staff, and then my family of dental patients, which is For nearly three decades he has UAB DEntIStRy: Which professors made the just another larger circle of family. practiced dentistry in Jacksonville, biggest impression on you at UAB? Alabama—where he is a member CUnnInGHAM: everybody has something they UAB DEntIStRy: Jacksonville’s not as small as of UAB’s Practice-Based Research remember about David Greer, who died last year, Butler, but it’s small enough that you still get to feel Network—and he just finished up and i could probably list a lot of things i remember like part of the community. a term as president of the about him—but one thing in particular i can remem- CUnnInGHAM: And that is why i chose to go SOD Alumni Association. ber him saying to me was, “someday you’re going to to a small town—you can either be a small fish in a be a big supporter of this school.” And i don’t know big pond or a big fish in a small pond. i know that Cunningham talked with UAB why he said that to me when i graduated; most of us sounds a little bit egotistical, but i just wanted to be Dentistry about his career, his affec- were of the opinion that we would never set foot in involved in the community. i am always looking for tion for small-town living, and the dental school again if we didn’t have to. greater opportunities for service, and that’s easy to From there i went into the Army Dental Corps find in a small town. high hopes he has for the Alumni for four years, the first year of which was a general- Association as it rides a wave of practice residency, and then an overseas assignment UAB DEntIStRy: that’s one of the areas the unprecedented growth and success at . . . i was in tehran, iran, until the revolution back school of Dentistry has really been focusing on over the School of Dentistry. in 1979. the past few years—there are a lot of places in this state that just don’t have access to regular dental UAB DEntIStRy: At that time in that country’s care, and the school has done a lot to address that. history, you were lucky to have made it out at all. CUnnInGHAM: You’re right—access is a problem CUnnInGHAM: Yes, and it was a difficult time for in many areas. Obviously you don’t think of access my family, because that assignment was an accompa- problems in a place like Jefferson County; our access nied tour for me—i took my family over there, and issues center mainly around the difficulty that many in fact my youngest daughter was born there. When adults have with being able to afford dental care, so we went over there, it seemingly was a very stable it’s an economic access thing. in Calhoun County, political situation, but then a year after i arrived, we have a lot of dentists, but we also have a lot of things started deteriorating very rapidly, and within people, particularly adults, who are economically 18 months the shah was history and the country disadvantaged and consequently don’t have access. was being run by the revolutionary Guard under in fact, this morning i’ve been working on that [Ayatollah] Khomenei. it was an exciting time, but issue—we’re working to open a free dental clinic also an unsettling time for my family personally. here in Calhoun County to address that problem. i’d had a scholarship that put me through dental school, and to pay that back, my obligation was UAB DEntIStRy: Obviously the sOD means four years; at that point, i still had one more year a lot to you, considering that you’ve spent a term as of obligation, and i did that up at redstone Arsenal president of the Alumni Association. What in par- in Huntsville. And then i came to Jacksonville, and ticular made you decide to take that step? i’ve been here ever since—and i tell people i own a CUnnInGHAM: A lot of people have heard me cemetery plot here, so i’m intending to stay. say this before—i am not God’s gift to dentistry; dentistry is God’s gift to me. so i feel very privi- By Doug gillett UAB DEntIStRy: What are some of the things leged to be a dentist, and i feel privileged that i was 18 (U A B De n t i s t r y )
  • 21. end notes allowed to get my dental education at our dental school. in all my years of being a dentist, i’ve never UAB DEntIStRy: What inspired you to become part of the Practice-Based research network? “A lot of people felt like i wasn’t properly prepared compared to my colleagues who went to different dental schools and CUnnInGHAM: i guess the problem for those of us who are in private practice, particularly if we’re in have heard came from different parts of the country. i never had solo practice, is that we tend to feel isolated because to take a backseat to anybody in terms of my prepa- we’re so engrossed in patient care that we don’t have me say this ration or education, and i’m thankful for that. as much contact and involvement with the larger UAB DEntIStRy: What accomplishments are dental professional community. the Practice-Based research network connects me with a network of before—I am you most proud of from your term as president? CUnnInGHAM: Although i take no credit for practicing dentists, and it also brings into my office a facet of dental research, clinical research, that not God’s gift to it, i think that we’ve seen some significant staff helps me to be a better dentist. development. We’ve got scott Huffman, who’s our dentistry; den- executive director, we’ve got some wonderful staff UAB DEntIStRy: One of the things i hear very members underneath him such as Charlene Phillips, and we just recently hired Kimberly Crowe [in the often from sOD alumni is that they feel lucky to be part of an alumni network that is so close-knit and tistry is God’s Alumni Affairs office]. i think she’s going to be a real asset to our organization, and we’ve positioned well connected in so many ways. What are your thoughts on that from the perspective of someone gift to me.” ourselves with some great staff to better serve the who’s spent the last year overseeing that group? needs of the Alumni Association. We’re getting into CUnnInGHAM: From my perspective, the true the computer age; we’re in the process of getting leader of the Alumni Association is the dean of the all of our data computerized and using the internet dental school, although the Alumni Association more to increase communication with our members. has a president and officers. that person sitting this past February was the first meeting that people up there in the dean’s office and his or her attitude have been able to register for and philosophy have a major online—which, for the young impact on what is going on in people out there, probably the alumni association. And seems like nothing, but for when Dean thomas came to people like myself who are our school, he immediately “technologically challenged,” recognized that as a dental that’s a big move. community we are a pretty close-knit family in Alabama. UAB DEntIStRy: that’s He not only recognized that been another big focus of the but he also appreciates it, and school lately—introducing he has been active in pro- new technology and structur- moting closer “family ties,” ing the clinics more along the if you will, among all of the lines of a private practice. different shareholders in our CUnnInGHAM: And that’s community. so i give him definitely going to benefit the credit for the continu- the students as they transi- ing closeness and that sense tion from the school to their of community that we have careers—particularly if they within the profession here in are going into the private- Alabama. it was here before practice model, which is Dean thomas came here, but what the majority of them Bruce cunningham he’s encouraged it, and that’s are going to do. helped us a great deal. (U A B Dentistr y ) 19
  • 22. development news tHE ClASS oF ’83 GIvES BACk toM JonES HonoRED wItH ADJUnCt FACUlty FUnD F E B R UA RY ’ S A LU M N I W E E k E N D at the T H O M A S J O N E S was the school of Dentistry’s first school of Dentistry was a chance for members resident in oral and maxillofacial surgery, but that pioneer- of the Class of 1983 to celebrate their 25th-year ing effort was just the beginning of a 60-year career in both reunion by catching up with classmates and shar- practice and teaching. the school now hopes to honor ing stories. But they also marked the occasion by Jones’s lengthy service as a part-time faculty member with an pledging a major gift to the school that they say adjunct faculty fund in his name. gave them so much as students. “the thing that “By teaching dental students, tom was able to impact so we wanted to do as a class is give a reunion gift many people in the state who had poor dental health and to the school, whether it’s to help renovate part of oral-related disease,” says Peter D. Waite, M.D., chair of the the school of Dentistry, create a scholarship, or Dr. thomas Department of Oral and Maxillofacial surgery. “We wanted Jones support an endowment,” says class of ’83 member to honor tom Jones and raise an endowment that would earl “Bud” rogers, D.M.D., of Mobile. help people come back and teach on a part-time basis. i compare it to being a the class is working together with J. scott missionary—not all of us are able to travel to faraway lands or live in a third Huffman, senior director of development, to meet World country, but we can all give a little bit to help send someone who can.” a goal of $100,000, and rogers says they’re already the money for the thomas Jones Adjunct Faculty Fund will be set aside and more than three-quarters of the way to their goal. earmarked specifically to support an adjunct or part-time faculty position. Fellow alumni Jim Ballard, Paul Bussman, Carol Merkle, Michael O’Brien, and randall Palmore have been busy contacting members of the class of EnDowMEnt HonoRS wEAtHERFoRD AnD PAlCAnIS ’83 to solicit their support. “the quality and reputation of our diplomas are F O R M E R S O D FAC U LT Y M E M B E R S tommy Weatherford, D.M.D., and represented by the quality of the dental school,” Kent Palcanis, D.D.s., set an example for students and faculty alike through their rogers says. “We have an outstanding school, and years of service and inspiring mentorship. now the school hopes to honor that Dr. Huw thomas has provided outstanding lead- service with an endowed professorship in their names. ership, so we’re excited about the opportunity to the tommy Weatherford/Kent Palcanis endowed Professorship is being support the school in our own small way.” announced at a particularly critical time in American dental education—around 300 faculty positions are open at the country’s 56 dental schools, and competi- tion for the best teaching talent increases as the dental-faculty shortage contin- ues. the push for the endowed professorship is a fitting tribute to two faculty members who gave so much to the sOD. “it’s a true honor to have an endowed professorship named for tommy and me,” says Palcanis, who helped found the school’s Academic Careers Club in an effort to attract more dental students to teaching. “However, the important point here is that the professorship will serve as a wonderful means to improve our faculty-recruitment efforts. it will enable the Department of Periodontology to be very competitive in recruiting a productive faculty member to our school.” the Weatherford/Palcanis professorship will be officially created when the school has raised $500,000, but the optimal goal for the fund is $1.5 million. the class of ‘83 reconnects at alumni Weekend 2008. ContInUED FRoM PAGE 5: IntERvIEw DAy Today’s lunch crowd includes the six applicants, their tour guides, and And then, just as everyone’s getting really comfortable . . . lunch is three other SOD students. The conversation topics include explana- over, and it’s time for the formal interviews in front of the full admissions tions of the application process itself and the school’s ongoing curricu- committee (see main story). But even then, Filler says, they try to main- lum revamp, but there are also discussions of the just-ended football tain a relaxed tone, knowing that the applicants are already on edge. season, favorite vacation spots, and the “do-you-know” game played “In fact, if you’re totally cool as a cucumber, we will worry a little by applicants and current SOD students who attended the same bit about you,” he says with a grin. “My advice is to just answer the undergraduate college. questions honestly and from the heart.” 20 (U A B D e n t i s t r y )
  • 23. A GIFt tHAt lAStS BEyonD A lIFEtIME... P LANNING FOR THE FUTURE is your gift to your family and to the UAB school of Dentistry. Just as time spent with grandchildren is a joy for you and for them, supporting the UAB school of Dentistry brings satisfaction now and ensures future support for dentistry, education, research, and patient care. Made through your will, retirement fund designation or trust, your estate gift will demonstrate your commitment to UAB’s school of Dentistry during your lifetime—and beyond. FOR MORE BEqUEST INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT J. scott Huffman, CFre, senior director of development sDB 214, 1530 3rD Ave s BirMinGHAM AL 35294-0007 (205) 934-3601 or shuffman@uab.edu FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE SCHOOL OF DENTISTRY, LOG ON TO www.dental.uab.edu Always consult your tax or legal advisor when considering a planned gift.
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