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  1. 1. DentistryA P u b l i c At i o n f o r A l u m n i A n d f r i e n d s o f t h e s c h o o l o f d e n t i s t ry s Pring 20 07 Practice Makes Perfect
  2. 2. Please visit us at Dean’s Message GreetinGs! for an online version of this issue of UAB Dentistry will be published soon after UAB Dentistry as well as the school of Dentistry has completed its site visit by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. i am delighted to report information on: that the school has come through this process with flying colors.Our D.M.D. program received zero recommendations, which is outstanding, and • Continuing Educationseven commendations, which is even better! Our residency programs were reviewed • Dentistry Catalogsat the same time (with the exception of oral and maxillofacial surgery), and theyreceived equally high marks. We received one recommendation in the area of hospital • Departmentsadmissions and discharge for our GPr program and nine commendations. We are naturally confident that the school and all its programs will be fully accred- • Degree Programsited by CODA following their final report this summer—altogether an outstanding • Alumni Associationaccomplishment of which all of us should be extremely proud. While the accredita-tion process involved exemplary input from faculty, staff, and students, we all owe a • Academic Calendarsignificant debt of gratitude to Dr. Kent Palcanis, associate dean for academic affairs, • Researchand Vickie ray, Kent’s assistant, for leading this effort. this success allows us to fully concentrate on our efforts to reform and develop • Givingour new curriculum. i have had the opportunity to share some of our ideas with manyof you (see the spring 2006 issue of UAB Dentistry); please stay tuned to future issuesof UAB Dentistry to learn more about this process. the stories in this issue give a broad perspective of the exciting things that are cur- Dentistryrently happening at the school. Our cover story describes the Dental Practice-Basedresearch network, developed and led by Dr. Gregg Gilbert, chair of the Department eDitOriaL BOarDof Diagnostic sciences, which recently received significant funding from the national Huw f. thomas, B.D.s., M.s., Ph.D. Dean, School of Dentistryinstitutes of Health ($25.3 million over seven years). this network will conductresearch in the private office setting, but it also has the potential to significantly J. scott Huffman, c.f.r.e. Senior Director of Developmentimpact the future practice of dentistry. Our predoctoral implant program, one of the most advanced in the nation, is the facuLty rePresentatives Jim Broome, D.D.s.subject of another interesting story; a third story deals with the major renovations steven filler, D.D.s., M.s., M.a.that are currently under way at the school. We are most grateful to the individuals Mary MacDougall, Ph.D.and corporations that have helped us with all of our renovation projects. Without this Michael Mccracken, D.D.s., Ph.D. Maureen Pezzementi, we simply could not proceed at the necessary pace. Along these lines, anotherstory highlights a new national initiative, “Dental education: Our Legacy—OurFuture,” designed to raise awareness of the challenges facing dental education. UAB Dentistry is published by the School of two additional articles focus on individuals: One, Ann Marie Karaki, has been Dentistry in collaboration with the Office of Public Relations and Marketing.newly recruited as director of continuing education (Ce), and we look forward to eXecutive eDitOrsome exciting changes in our Ce programs over the next several years. the second, Pam PowellJohn thornton, is a face familiar to many of you and an exemplary individual who has ManaGinG eDitOrdevoted his career to community service. Doug Gillett Our student profiles once again reflect the diversity of our student body, not only in eXecutive art DirectOrrace and gender but also in career pathways. Our faculty profiles highlight three indi- ron Gambleviduals who have entered academia after successful careers in private practice. if that art DirectOrstirs any of our readers into considering a career change, don’t hesitate to contact me! Laura Hannah Finally, our alumni profile features three brothers who have played a most signifi- PHOtOGraPHycant role in supporting the activities of our school. to them and the many others of steve Woodyou that support us, my sincere appreciation. Writers Laura freeman, Doug Gillett, cindy riley, Dale shortsincerely, PrODuctiOn ManaGerHuw F. thomas, B.D.s., M.s., Ph.D. Mike turnerDean, school of Dentistry PrODuctiOn assistants Mary Bullington On the cOver: the UABSOD’s Practice-Based research network—one of only three in the nation— Jazmund Walker allows practicing dentists to assist and share in the school’s research achievements.
  3. 3. contents volume 8/1 spr ing 2007 c o v e r s t o r y s t u d e n t s p o t l i g h t s2Practice Makes Perfect—The UABSOD’s Practice-BasedResearch Network is strengthening the school’s position as aresearch leader, but it’s also providing exciting opportunities 12 Melissa Talbert, Michael Passineau, and Gerard Rolle are set to make a big impact on the field of dentistry.for practicing dentists. f a c u l t y f o c u s 14 f e a t u r e s The School Ties That Bind—Though successful in6 private practice, Joe Deatherage, Marya Barnes, andImplants R Us—The Predoctoral Implant Program has Robert Meador all felt the pull of academia.become both an academic and clinical leader in a fast-growingfield. a l u m n i P r o f i l e s7Moving On Up—The UABSOD’s “research renaissance”continues with two newly renovated floors devoted to researchand laboratory space. 16 The Strickland Brothers—Lyldon, Chalmus, and Joe Strickland made dentistry a family business—and built a UABSOD legacy in the process.8Never Stop Learning—Ann Marie Karaki, the school’s new e n d n o t e s 18director of continuing education, has big ideas about usingCE to keep alumni connected. Kim Stiegler has been able to shape dentistry in Alabama through his practice, through professional organizations, and10 through leadership in the UABSOD alumni community.John Thornton—A respected longtime faculty member leadsthe way in community service. P r o f e s s i o n a l P u l s e11Building a Legacy—The UABSOD joins the effort tosecure the next generation of dental educators. 20 News about the accomplishments, awards, honors, grants, and research findings of the students and faculty of the School of Dentistry. 3 5 10 12
  4. 4. 2 (u a B D e n t i s t r y )
  5. 5. PracticeMakes Perfect“eXPerience, tHe universaL MOtHer Of science,” is a quote from the spanish writer Miguel de The SOD’scervantes that rings true for most people involved in the science and practice of dentistry. Dental Often, day-to-day patient care can spark questions that inspire researchers to ask, “What if?” and pursue Practice-Basednew directions of inquiry that lead to breakthroughs. But it’s only when those advances are put into prac-tice, making the return trip to the clinical setting to benefit patients, that they reveal their true value. Research Network in the traditional model of the research lab and Washington, and the scandinavian countries ofdental office as separate worlds, two-way communi- Denmark, norway, and sweden who are working oncation can be slow, and information can get lost in research studies coordinated through the school oftranslation. to improve the flow of ideas, practice- Dentistry. Many of the members in the southeastbased research networks affiliated with academic are sOD alumni; those in Minnesota, Oregon, andresearch centers are bringing clinicians directly Washington are members of practice groups. theinvolved in patient care into the research process as scandinavian dentists became associated with thehands-on investigators. network through colleagues in Florida and include the nation’s first statewide dental-practice members with previous experience as part of prac-research network was initiated in 2002 when Gregg tice-based research networks in their own countries.Gilbert, D.D.s, M.B.A., professor and chair of theDepartment of Diagnostic sciences at the school de nt i s t s a s P io ne e r s:of Dentistry, submitted a grant proposal to the l i fe in t he n e t wor kUniversity of Alabama Health services Foundation. Members can participate in as few or as many “Our first goal in establishing the Alabama studies as they like; the training protocols and timeDental Practice-Based research network was to commitment required vary according to the topiccreate an infrastructure for dentists to participate of research. to prepare for their first study, prac-in research and share information with their col- titioner-investigators complete an online courseleagues,” says Gilbert. “We began with basic studies in human-subject protection. they also receiveas we established working procedures. One of our continuing-education credit for some training andfirst studies looked at how dentists assess caries and orientation modules.choose treatment. Another gathered information Academic researchers and dentists engage inon whether the success of endodontic treatment in close collaboration at each stage of the researchdiabetic patients was comparable to or less effective process. Projects are designed to integrate easilythan treatment in nondiabetics. into everyday practice routines so that dentists’ time “When the national institute of Dental and can be used efficiently without taking attentionCraniofacial research [niDCr] from the national away from patient care.institutes of Health became interested in supporting “some of the studies have an orientation,” sayspractice-based research on a larger scale, our basic Birmingham dentist Martha Wallace Dawson, D.M.D.,structure was already in place, and we were one of M.P.H., who was one of the first dentists to join thethree groups selected to receive funding as part of a network. “A research assistant from UAB came to ourmultiregional network in April 2005.” office to explain the forms and train the staff. then today, the Dental Practice-Based research they collected the data when it was ready.”network (DPBrn) has grown to include more Projects are conducted in defined stages, usingthan 1,100 dentists and hygienists in Alabama, objective benchmarks that are monitored by andMississippi, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Oregon, regularly communicated to those participating in By Laura Freeman (u a B Dentistr y) 3
  6. 6. the network. Findings from the network’s first Many clinicians involved in treating patients “Real dentists completed studies were shared with members at with OnJ predict that the number of people an annual meeting in March. with the disease is likely to grow as previously with real patients “Dentists have been very enthusiastic about partnering with us on research issues they see unreported cases are diagnosed. the implications are even greater considering the widespread use doing research in in their daily practice,” says Gilbert. “the work is showing a lot of potential for having a major of osteoporosis medications and the number of baby boomers reaching the age when they may the real world— impact on improving daily practice for both patients and dentists.” start taking them. Andrei Barasch, D.M.D.,, asso- ciate professor of diagnostic sciences at the that’s what h ow P r ac t ice - b a se d re se arc h P ays o f f UABsOD, coordinates the DPBrn’s osteone- crosis research. “these are multicenter stud- impressed me several new studies are under way or in the planning stages, including research into the rea- ies that also include the PBrns in new York [PeArL] and seattle [PreCeDent]. “Both about the DPBRN. sons for repair and replacement of restorations and two studies on osteonecrosis of the jaw (OnJ) studies should be completed by the end of 2007,” Barasch says. “these are epidemiologic studies possibly related to bisphosphonates in osteoporo- in which we will acquire data on OnJ patients It’s a powerful sis medications. and controls to determine if bisphosphonates are Osteonecrosis (or bone death) of the jaw is indeed increasing the risk. We’ll also determine concept.” a problem that has recently come to light with more than 400 cases reported thus far in patients the risk associated with specific dental proce- dures, medical histories, and other drugs patients who have taken specific osteoporosis or cancer may be taking.” drugs; a large number of these cases occurred the study data may help clarify whether dental after invasive dental procedures. the majority of diseases, particularly periodontal disease and inva- these cases have occurred in cancer patients tak- sive procedures such as extractions, are risk factors ing more potent bisphosphonates to treat bone or a consequence of the necrotic disease process. pain, but the condition has also affected people the study also could provide insights on prevent- taking weaker drugs to prevent osteoporosis. ing a potentially costly condition and could guide in the osteonecrosis research, the DPBrn dentists toward the most effective treatments. will join forces with Meanwhile, clinicians currently dealing with the nation’s other two the problem are seeing better results with con- regional practice-based servative treatment than with more aggressive research networks to approaches. Until more is known about the help determine the causes of the condition and the most effective extent of the problem treatment to correct it, their primary recom- and to try to trace the mendation is that patients receive a thorough relationship between dental evaluation and complete necessary dental the condition and risk procedures before taking bisphosphonates. this factors. these studies is especially true of cancer patients who will be are of particular inter- receiving more potent drugs. since bisphospho- est to network mem- nates have been effective in helping ease the pain ber and sOD alumnus of bone cancer, that benefit should be considered edward Bozeman, in view of the patient’s overall condition. D.M.D., who prac- in studies such as the OnJ initiative, DPBrn tices in Columbus, members participate in practical research that is Mississippi. “i have so directly relevant to patient care. their work helps many older patients to move scientific advances into daily clinical who are taking osteo- practice and to gauge the effect of research find- porosis medications ings in real-world settings. or thinking of taking them,” Bozeman says. b e t t e r tre at me nt , “When they have ques- b e t t e r Pr ac t ice s tions, i’m not sure what Martha Dawson, who joined the network after to tell them. it’s hard to hearing about it during a UABsOD alumni week- know whether it’s safe end course, says her participation started pay- to remove a tooth or do ing off almost immediately. “real dentists with an implant.” real patients doing research in the real world— Gregg Gilbert4 (u a B D e n t i s t r y )
  7. 7. that’s what impressed me about the DPBrn,” saysDawson. “it’s a powerful concept. the studies arevery pertinent. We look at topics that are importantto us in daily clinical practice. “i’m a perpetual learner, and i never stop look-ing for better ways to do things,” adds Dawson,who participated in previous studies and is nowfollowing 50 restorations in patients to helpidentify which approaches to treatment aremost likely to be successful over time. “the network has long-term benefits forpatients because what we learn will help usgive them the best treatment. We’re alsolooking for more answers to why outcomeshappen as they do so [that] we can optimizecare,” Dawson says. Bozeman concurs. “i’m always interested indoing dentistry in the best way possible and keep-ing up with improvements in techniques, and theDPBrn is a good way for me to do this,” he says. “it’spractice-based and evidence-based. Dentists can tellwhat they are really seeing and what is really there,so the results have merit. Looking at actual evidenceinside the mouth of what succeeds and why gives usinformation that helps us make better day-to-day deci- greatest effectsions, knowing what has the longest success record.” on day-to-day care in addition to the benefits to patients, being in practical applications.”a member of the network also benefits den- in addition to studies already in development,tists. “Patients appreciate the fact that i’m doing the DPBrn invites members to suggest possibleresearch,” says Dawson. “they see it as a commit- topics for future investigation. the topics arement to excellence and being cutting-edge—or, posted on the network’s Web site, and membersas one of my young patients said, ‘Hey, doc, you’re can discuss the topics to gauge interest.solid and cool.’ Being able to exchange ideas with “the niDCr has entrusted us to develop ideasother dentists is also wonderful. When something we want to look into and to make recommenda-unusual comes up, we can discuss treatment tions on how the research should be conducted,”options. i exchange e-mail with someone in the says Dawson, “and the niH oversees it. it’s justnetwork at least once a week.” good science.” “it makes us better dentists,” says Bozeman. Members also have the opportunity to“What we learn can also help other dentists and exchange ideas with fellow practitioners throughresearchers.” e-mail conversations and annual face-to-face meetings. “i feel that what i hear from other den-i m p ac t o n t he “ s t at e tists is likely to be reliable and realistic,” Dawsonof t he s c ie nce” says. “they aren’t representatives of suppliers Although many types of research are scientifi- or materials companies telling me something iscally valid and statistically significant, not all areas good. i’m more inclined to trust what they haveof inquiry have equal impact in terms of direct seen in their own experience.”benefits to patients. the network gives dentists Looking to the future of the DPBrn, Dawsona voice to offer input that can help researchers says, “the sky is the limit. As more dentists seeprioritize possible areas of investigation—particu- how useful it is and how much we can do tolarly important at a time when funding agencies directly improve the effectiveness of dental care,often make decisions about grant proposals based more people will want to be part of it. For anyoneon their potential impact on patient outcomes. who is considering participating, i’d say do it! My “if we’re encountering problems that need bet- experience with DPBrn has been so valuable.”ter answers, the network gives us a way to let the to learn more about the Dental Practice-Basedscience side know about it,” Bozeman says. “We research network and its current and futurecan tell them what we’re seeing so they have a bet- research studies, visit [].ter idea of which topics of research could have the (u a B Dentistr y) 5
  8. 8. Implants R Us so successful [that] we knew we had to open it up to the rest of that class of students as soon as possible. two years later it was offered as an elective, and out of 55 students, 49 signed up. the next year we decided we needed to teach it to everyone and made it a required course.” Dental implants, which involve drilling a hole in the bone and inserting a metallic device that takes the place of the root, have become extremely popu- lar. the surgery can be relatively simple to perform, and it can be done in an hour or two using local anesthetics. According to McCracken, “implants are clearly the best treatment available today for many patients. they are far superior to alternatives such as removable appliances or bridges. “What’s unique is that UAB does more implants per student than any school in the nation. i’ve asked around repeatedly, and i don’t know any others who have a program as vibrant as ours,” he adds. “At last check, our senior class restored about 250 implants—that’s a lot of experience. it’s been excit- ing to see the program blossom so quickly in the curriculum.” three companies give UAB’s program substan- ruth Aponte-Wesson and Mike Mccracken lead a graduate tial support by supplying implants and parts. they prosthodontics program that is one of the most advanced in the nation. include nobel Biocare, Zimmer Dental inc., and BioHorizons, a $100-million company that wasThe Predoctoral FOr UAB DentAL stUDents, learning to restore implants can mean more than just completing a founded by a UAB faculty member. BioHorizons also recently made a $400,000 gift to the dental school. required course. “BioHorizons started as a UAB incubator com- Implant “For some patients, implants are a life-chang- pany,” McCracken explains. “One of its creators, Dr. ing experience,” explains Mike McCracken, D.D.s, Martha Bidez, was a professor in the school of Program Ph.D. “i recently had a lady who had dentures. We gave her implants, and she was so overcome with engineering. several of its first employees were UAB graduate students. today, BioHorizons is one of the emotion, she started weeping in the chair. she told leading implant companies in the country.” me she hadn’t had teeth since she was 26 years old!” As the former director of the predoctoral McCracken, currently the director of the implant program, McCracken is pleased to watch UABsOD’s graduate prosthodontics program, is it continue to grow under ruth Aponte-Wesson, extremely proud of the school’s predoctoral implant D.D.s., who assumed the title last year. “Dr. Aponte- program, which is one of the most prolific in the Wesson has been the clinical force behind the suc- nation. “it’s exciting to be a part of what has hap- cess of this program. she’s done a tremendous job pened since we started the pilot program in 1999 with our students,” he says. with eight students. the administration and my McCracken, who received his residency train- chair, Jean O’neal, D.M.D., have been very sup- ing at UAB in the mid-1990s, says the importance portive since the beginning. At the time, there just of such programs to the field of dentistry can’t be wasn’t much being done in dental schools as far as overstated. “Dental implants are so much better than implants, but UAB was one of the early adopters of conventional treatments that they’re basically routine this technology at the student level. now,” he says. “that’s why we think it is critical that “When we started the program, there was a huge these predoctoral students learn these techniques to By Cindy riLey demand from those wanting to train,” he says. “it was better serve their patients.”6 (u a B D e n t i s t r y )
  9. 9. Moving on UP renovations at the UASOD will result in 13,000 square feet of new research space, says Mary MacDougall.An extreMe MAKeOVer is in the works for theUABsOD. state-of-the-art equipment and a spa- minutes without using a impression, thus eliminating the need for two visits. there will also be microscope Renovationscious new conference room are among the additionsthat will remake the school’s sixth floor, while the operating centers and the very latest dental chairs and equipment for providing technology transfer Continue SOD’seighth-floor renovation will completely update the to practicing dentists. We hope this project and thecurrent laboratory space. expanded capabilities that this provides will allow us Expansion “the sixth-floor renovations will mean additional to become a regional continuing-education center.”space for research and provide access for a much- the total project will exceed $1 million and shouldimproved facility,” says John Burgess, D.D.s., M.s., be completed within the next year. Construction on theassistant dean for clinical research, who’s overseeing sOD’s eighth floor, meanwhile, began early this year.many of the improvements. “We will use equipment “the design of the renovated space is very innova-that will enable us to more precisely measure filling tive,” explains Mary MacDougall, Ph.D., director ofwear and suggest new innovative restorative tech- the institute for Oral Health research. “the labora-niques that will prolong and enhance dental health. tories will have an open format to foster interaction “these methods will evaluate products for tech- of students, residents, graduate students, and faculty.nology transfer to the practicing dentist from the the design allows sharing of large equipment, therebylarge numbers of materials supplied by research maximizing resources.”companies. in addition to clinical research, capa- the sOD research space will be under the pur-bilities are being established to allow DVD and view of the institute of Oral Health research housedCD-rOM fabrication for procedures conducted in on the seventh and eighth floors of the sOD. thethis facility. Also, the current plans allow the video four areas of research are craniofacial developmentfeed to be transmitted to a larger conference room and genetics, dental materials and tissue engineering,for larger continuing-education programs. if bigger immunology and microbiology, and public health.groups need to be accommodated, the signal can be “this is approximately 13,000 square feet of newtransmitted to a classroom seating 60 or a simulation research laboratory facilities,” says MacDougall.laboratory that would allow those participants in “the renovations were developed through the U24the continuing-education program to do ‘hands-on’ research infrastructure grant we received fromcourses following the clinical demonstration.” the national institute for Dental and Craniofacial the renovated sixth-floor clinical research area will research to provide space for research-intensivehave sophisticated dental equipment, and the school sOD faculty and aid in the recruitment of newhas plans for a “technology day” when dentists from faculty members. Currently, our research faculty arethe community can observe equipment in action. spread out on campus, which can be an obstacle to “We envision lasers and computer-assisted design collaborative research interactions.”and machining,” Burgess says. “these systems can MacDougall says the construction should be fin-image a prepared tooth and send the image to a mill- ished by the end of machine, which can mill out a crown in 12 to 16 By Cindy riLey (u a B Dentistr y) 7
  10. 10. never stoP leArning SOD Welcomes tHe DAY WHen A stUDent graduates from dental school is a huge moment in his or her career, ing courses that were previously available only on the UAB campus and offering them in locations across the culmination of many years of hard work and Alabama. “it will enable the Ce program to impactNew Continuing learning. But what is an end in some respects is a more people—it’s a way for the school to provide beginning to Ann Marie Karaki, whose goal is to help educational opportunities to dentists and their staff Education practicing dentists continue the learning process that will help them keep their skills and knowledge bases all over the state,” she says. eventually Karaki hopes to offer the kinds of courses and speakers that were Director fresh and up-to-date throughout their careers. Karaki joined the UABsOD this past fall as direc- previously available only to dentists willing to travel outside the state of Alabama. tor of continuing dental education (Ce). After eight Karaki also says she’d like to incorporate more years at the University of tennessee Health science practice-management topics in the school’s Ce cur- Center in Memphis, including three and a half years riculum. “How to manage a business, 10 basic things as director of Ce and publications for the College of you can do to improve your practice—those are the Dentistry, she has gained a great respect for con- tinuing education’s importance to health care. “the mission of lifelong learning involves real commitment. Dentistry is growing and changing so quickly,” Karaki says. “What was current 25 years ago has changed. new materi- als, techniques, and research make it necessary to continually update our definition of ‘cutting- edge’ dentistry. By providing Ce that explores current dental advances, we are providing the dental community an opportunity to experience the most progressive developments in den- tistry—and, in turn, provide the best dental care available to their patients.” building relationships through Knowledge Karaki also sees Ce as an important tool for building and strengthening ties between alumni and the school. “University-sponsored Ce helps the practicing dentists feel connected. Daily they’re in their offices practicing alone, but there’s a whole network of people—both at the school and in practice, doing the same thing they’re doing—trying to provide the best den- tistry possible. We just don’t want them to for- get that there’s a support system here—they’re not alone in their efforts.” to that end, one of Karaki’s primary goals as Ce director will be to expand the sOD’s con- By doug giLLett tinuing-education offerings geographically, tak-8 (u a B D e n t i s t r y )
  11. 11. types of things that everyone can glean somethingfrom,” she says. “Dr. Michelle robinson is going to do Ann MARiE KARAKia course called Computerization of the ContemporaryDental Office, which will discuss going paperless.this process, which can be daunting, will focus on a BirMinGHaM HaD PLenty of selling points for ann Marie karaki whengradual transition, demonstrating that small changes she was interviewing for the position of ce director at the school ofcosting only $3,000-$5,000 can improve communica- Dentistry, but one of the biggest draws was that it would finally take thetion and patient flow while providing a base for bigger “long-distance” part out of her long-distance relationship.changes in the future. these are the types of courseswe can provide at UAB—the kind that offer time-sav- at the time she took the job at the sOD, she had been dating Donalding, practice-building solutions.” karaki, D.D.s., assistant director of the school’s general dental residency pro- Other possibilities include expanding the oppor- gram at uaB Hospital, for six years. for three and a half of those, she’d beentunities for assistants and hygienists in the sOD’s in Memphis and Don had been in Birmingham, which meant they were mak-curriculum. in the long term, Karaki would like to ing eight-hour round trips on a weekly basis to spend time together.involve the entire office in Ce. “it’s awfully nice not being on the road every friday night after work—andmaking the sod a then back in the car sunday afternoon for the long drive back. Don agrees,lifelong Partner since he made most of those weekend drives! now we can do regular sometimes recent graduates of a health-care things like go to the movies during the week and have dinner on sundayinstitution take the attitude, at least temporarily, that nights—things we haven’t been able to do in three or four years,” she says.Ce isn’t that important because they’ve just finisheda long stretch of schooling. “they’ve been in school ann Marie comes to uaB from the university of tennessee (ut) Healthfor such a long time, and now they really just want science center in Memphis, where she worked for eight years. Before that,to get to work,” Karaki says. “And the idea of put- she wrote and edited textbooks for an educational development house; sheting their skills to work is great. But anyone who has also taught freshman english at arkansas state university, her alma mater.gone through this kind of intensive education rec-ognizes the benefit of surrounding themselves with she says she didn’t have much background in dentistry when she first camelike-minded people. Whether they want to come to ut, but she was able to learn quickly. “the success of a ce programback and advance their skills or discuss the nuances revolves heavily around marketing and communications, so when my mar-of dentistry with their peers, we can provide those keting background kicked in, i really enjoyed learning about the dental sideeducational opportunities for them—we will alwayshave a venue for that kind of interaction. of ce—and now i know more about dentistry than i ever thought i would.” “We have a responsibility to provide Ce. it is a But then again, karaki has never had trouble with quick transitions.service, and i think it’s important that we continueour commitment,” she says. “We were committed “i was supposed to start at uaB on september 25, and Dean thomasto their education as students, we supported them asked if i could come to a meeting on september 22,” she recalls. “so i leftthrough graduation, and there is no doubt that Dean Memphis on the night of the 21st, drove over here, had a meeting on thethomas and the faculty at the sOD have the samecommitment to our alumni’s continued education morning of the 22nd, got married that afternoon—and started work on thewell after they have left this building. Ce is just a 25th. i told my friends in Memphis, ‘if you don’t like change, don’t stand nextgreat opportunity for us to continue influencing to me,’ because i’ve had to embrace it wholeheartedly the last few months.”the lives of our alumni and the dental communityat large.” (u a B Dentistr y) 9
  12. 12. John Thornton Community iF A CHiLD with cerebral palsy or other special needs has ever given you a big Service with a bright smile, there’s a good chance John thornton, D.M.D., M.A., played a part in it. Smile thornton, associate dean and pro- fessor in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, says his interest started early: “it really started in dental school, when i worked in a pediatric dental clinic. Working with children who had special needs gave me more satisfaction than anything else i did. i don’t know why, but it was just natural for me.” since then, thornton has not only continued his own work in community service, but he has also helped lead an John thornton has helped drive many of the UABSOD’s most important outreach effort by the UABsOD that community-outreach efforts. sends pediatric residents into community clinics around Alabama. One of their first projects, thornton. “if they’re able to learn to brush, we teach in rural Monroeville in 1999, created so much buzz them how. But most of them are dependent on oth- among residents that some 50,000 children were ers for good oral hygiene, so we teach the parent or treated in the clinic’s first two years. the day-facility caretaker how to best do it for them.” “When word got out,” says thornton, “there were Diagnosis is another hurdle. sometimes children can so many other people requesting services that our communicate their problems to the doctor through a senior dental students now spend two weeks a year parent, but often it’s a case of “just going in and see- working in low-income communities around the state, ing what you can find,” he says. treating children and adults who are disadvantaged. thornton’s desire to do community service began Alabama has a serious issue with access to care, and a even earlier than his dental education: “My father lot of people in rural areas, especially children, have died when i was young, and we were in sort of no dental services. Often they have caregivers who humble environs,” he recalls. “i remember people are not aware of some of the resources available.” being nice to my mother and sister and me when we the school operates four outreach clinics, includ- needed help. that stuck in my head, and since i’ve ing one at the Alabama school for the Deaf and been so blessed, it’s a real enjoyment for me to be Blind in talladega and another at United Cerebral able to help someone else who’s struggling.” Palsy’s newly built Children’s services Center in Comments from residents and students about Homewood. Before the new facility opened, stu- their volunteer work have been overwhelmingly dents offered treatment for youngsters with cerebral positive, says thornton, who often hears that it was palsy (CP) at a makeshift clinic in the former north the best experience they’ve had in dental school. Birmingham office. “For some of them, it’s their first opportunity to Children with CP, Down syndrome, and other see what things are like in the ‘real world,’” thornton disorders present serious challenges for dentists. says. “i think one of the biggest measures of our suc- Understandably, some dentists choose to refer those cess is that we’re attracting students to go into those patients to specialists. “the biggest challenge for the areas and treat the disadvantaged. some areas now By daLe Short disabled patient is maintaining oral hygiene,” says have a dentist that didn’t have one before.”10 (u a B D e n t i s t r y )
  13. 13. building a LeGacytHe GOAL is iMPressiVe: to raise half a billiondollars over the next eight years. the organizers of below the representation of minorities in the U.s. population as a whole. The SOD joins“Dental education: Our Legacy—Our Future” arehoping to do just that by establishing a national effort “in addition,” says thomas, “many students are graduating with a great deal of indebtedness. Faculty a nationwidewithin dentistry to raise awareness of the challenges salaries are not as great as those in private practice,dental education is facing. making it more difficult to attract new faculty.” response to the According to UABsOD dean Huw F .thomas, Dental education is, in fact, one of the mostB.D.s., M.s., Ph.D., the effort meets a desperate need.“it’s a critical situation,” he says. “state funding in expensive professional training programs. Costs con- tinue to climb, with the average public- or private- dental-facultyhigher education is decreasing throughout the coun-try, and this is particularly true in the field of dental school student graduating with more than $120,000 in debt. the numbers are based on a recent ADeA crisiseducation. in order for us to survive, we must look survey of dental-school seniors.elsewhere, and philanthropy is one of those areas. the role of dental education cannot be over- “Also, there are more than 350 vacant faculty posi- looked when it comes to public oral-health issues.tions across the U.s. right now. that’s quite troubling.” if shortages of educational opportunities lead to a Fortunately, the initiative gives the nation’s dental shortage of dental practitioners, access to practitio-schools a chance to present a united front. “When i ners could be jeopardized for individuals living inspeak to alumni of UAB and explain that this is a certain communities, while advancements in dentalnational effort, it gives more credibility to the crisis research and clinical studies would be threatened iffacing dental education,” thomas says. “And when proper studies couldn’t be carried out.the national effort can point to the fact that all the “Dental education is in a crisis right now, but we’reschools are partners in raising funds, it gives those starting to do something about it, and that’s what isindividuals leverage when they go to corporations really important,” thomas explains. “We need help,and industries seeking additional money.” and this is a chance for everyone to get involved. there are currently more than 60 partners involved Ultimately this awareness will benefit not only futurein the project, including almost 50 dental schools dentists but also the public’s oral health.” By Cindy riLeyand 17 other dental and specialty organizations suchas the American Dental education Association andthe American Dental Association Foundation. “the effort is just starting to get off the ground,”says thomas, who serves on the program’s steeringcommittee. “We officially started in July 2004, andcontributions received by December 2014 will becounted toward the objective of raising $500 millionfor dental education. Money donated in support ofthe UABsOD will be used exclusively by the dentalschool, although the total amounts will be reportedto count toward the overall goal. so far, the recep-tion has been outstanding.” rather than serving as simply a fund-raiser, though,“Dental education: Our Legacy—Our Future” focus-es on many critical issues involving dental education.Among the key concerns are access to care for every-one, research and advancements in care, diversityof faculty and students, and the high cost of dentaleducation, in addition to faculty shortages. the latest statistics show that among today’sfaculty, only 4 percent are African American, while 5 huw thomas says the “Dental education: Our Legacy—Our Future”percent are Hispanic. the numbers are significantly effort will have a ripple effect beyond dental-school classrooms. (u a B Dentistr y) 11
  14. 14. student spotlights Melissatalbert takinG researcH as far as sHe can At 16, Melissa talbert was sitting chairside lab with mentor Joanne Murphy-Ullrich, and observing dental procedures at her Ph.D., looking at dental biomaterials and uncle’s practice. Just a decade later, she’s studying ways to improve responses at advanced to complex biomedical research the interface between implants and host and attending meetings of the American tissues. “When the implant doesn’t attach, society for Matrix Biology. we’re studying why it doesn’t osteointe- that rapid pace of professional devel- grate; sometimes anfibrous tissue can form, opment, not to mention committing and we’re looking at mechanisms that dif- seven years to a dual-degree postgraduate ferentiate mesenchymal stem cells,” she program, would be intimidating to some says. “those stem cells are derived from people. But talbert says the decision to human bone marrow, and they have the join the sOD’s joint D.M.D./Ph.D. pro- potential to differentiate into a variety of gram was easy. “i knew that it would be a tissue types.” two-way street—the school would want talbert says she’s grateful for the pres- the program to succeed, and that would ence of the BioMatrix engineering and provide the flexibility for me to do what regenerative Medicine (BerM) Center i wanted to do,” she says. “i guess that the on campus, as well as the help of pro- time commitment of the program is kind of lific researchers such as Mary MacDougall, hard to swallow at first, but it’s really gone Ph.D., on the sOD faculty. “Dr. MacDougall Melissa talbert began her dental career by quickly. And when you enjoy what you has really been supportive and helped guide steve WOOD observing chairside at her uncle’s practice. do, it makes a difference.” me,” talbert says. “i have applied for individ- talbert’s time these days is spent in the ual funding through the national institute MichaelPassineau it’s aLL in tHe Genes COMBininG GenetiCs and dental school, and one thing led to another to research was an opportunity Michael bring me here.” Passineau, Ph.D., couldn’t pass up. For him, Passineau, a Lansing, Michigan, native, each day brings a new adventure. earned degrees in chemistry and Bible “One of the challenges facing the gene- from Cedarville College in Ohio and a therapy field is the fundamental principle Ph.D. from the University of Miami. He of ‘First do no harm,’ ” he says. “Often is currently an instructor at the institute gene-therapy interventions can lead to of Oral Health research within the UAB serious side effects by perturbing the school of Dentistry, where he conducts normal function of the organ in which the his groundbreaking research. therapy is initiated.” “normally, the salivary glands produce Meeting that challenge, however, and large amounts of protein, which gets mixed developing safe gene-therapy techniques with our saliva to aid digestion. Using this are tasks Passineau has never shied away technology, we signal the glands to secrete from. “We are building upon the concept, our protein into the blood rather than into developed by Bruce Baum at the national the saliva. in the disease we target, Fabry institutes of Health, that salivary glands disease, patients have to have regular doses can be infected with a virus that makes of synthetically produced protein to stave them express a protein of our choosing,” off the effects of their disease. Our hope is he says. “When i first read Baum’s original that we can coax their glands to produce paper on salivary gene therapy, the light the protein they need and to secrete it into really went on in my head that this could the blood. that way, we hope to be able be a platform technology for many diseas- to free these patients from the need for After receiving extensive training in genetics, Michael es. i started sharing my ideas at the dental frequent, expensive injections.” Passineau is now applying his expertise to dentistry.12 (u a B D e n t i s t r y )
  15. 15. student spotlights Gerardrolle MeMOries Of a trOPicaL ParaDise for Dental and Craniofacial research, and she’s been key with helping me do that.” talbert, who is from Pensacola, Florida, MOst AMeriCAn children and completed her undergraduate studies are accustomed to being driven at the University of Alabama, is equally by their parents to the den- productive outside the laboratory—she’s tist’s office a few times a year. on the board of Magic Moments, an orga- Where Gerard rolle comes nization that “grants wishes” for terminally from, however, the dentists ill children in the state. she’s done every- come to them—on a boat. thing from sending families off on trips to Maybe even a jet ski. Disney World to helping to design and rolle grew up on Andros, the build jungle gyms. largest island in the Bahamas. “in “it’s been a lot of fun—it’s really reward- elementary school we had den- ing to see these children get excited about tists who would visit because something,” she says. “i’ve kept in touch we didn’t have a resident den- with some of the children that i’ve been tist on the island,” he remem- fortunate enough to meet and help grant bers. “And when they visited, their ‘wishes,’ and it really puts things into they were limited—they were perspective—you learn to value your own pretty much just seeing kids life and health that much more.” and saying, ‘Well, you need to –Doug Gillett bring him to my office,’ which was located on another island. that’s stayed in the back of my steve WOOD mind. As i grew older, i began Gerard rolle notes that in the Bahamas, dentists make to see just how much dentistry house calls by hopping from island to island on boats. was needed.” rolle followed in the footsteps of his time “island-hopping”—jet skis being Passineau recently represented north his two older brothers and came to the the preferred transportation between America among six different geograph- United states for college. He is now in islands—and sampling the summer festi- ic regions as a recipient of the Colgate his third year at the school of Dentistry, vals. Just as small towns in Alabama have Award and was given the chance to learn and he plans on practicing in the United their peach or pecan festivals, “each island more about how dental research works in states for two or three years before return- has different types of festive activities diverse cultures. His travels included a trip ing home. that bring out that island’s unique quality. to Australia. “the Australians seem to be Organized dentistry is still in its early On eleuthera they have the pineapple very forward-thinking in terms of educa- stages in the Bahamas, and rolle sees fest, and in south Andros they have the tion, environmental responsibility, and their many opportunities for leadership and coconut fest. in Central Andros we have approach toward immigration,” he says. improving the state of dental care in his the crab fest. the events are one of a kind, Passineau also enjoys getting feedback home country. “i was talking with my and you never see the exact same thing from his wife, shannon, a junior at the dentist when i went home this Christmas, from one year to the next. UABsOD. “We approach dentistry from and we talked about some organizations “sometimes i feel like i’m the tourist very different directions,” he says. “she has they’re trying to start for Bahamian den- whenever i go home, because it’s some- the ideal personality for clinical dentistry, tists—trying to push more students to go thing that never stops being new and and i’m a scientist. i think it’s important for into that field,” he says. “it’s something exciting for me,” rolle says with a grin. researchers to vet their ideas to clinicians in that’s still in its infancy.” “each island, i feel, offers its own little order to avoid ‘ivory tower’ thinking.” rolle returns home at least twice a year. treasure, and it’s something that you can As for his future goals, Passineau says, to his classmates it sounds like a dream only get from that island—nowhere else. “the postdoctoral experience is mostly vacation, but to him it’s a homecoming. . . . When i see that, i have this pride in about transitioning toward independence “every time i go home, it’s this surreal where i’m from, and i’m glad it’s something as a funded researcher. i expect to have my feeling—i don’t even know how to explain that other people can see and enjoy.” own laboratory in the next few years.” it,” he says. rolle says he spends much of –Doug Gillettsteve WOOD –Cindy Riley (u a B Dentistr y) 13
  16. 16. faculty focus the school ties That Bind Alumni Who JOsePH DeAtHerAGe, D.M.D., M.D., recalls the trip vividly. While introducing one of his professors teach. i hope to be a good role model and inspire students to reach their dreams.” to the art of trout fly-fishing, Deatherage met an robert Meador Jr., D.M.D., echoes that senti- Returned to oral surgeon from the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas. ment. “i love getting my students to think outside the “He persuaded me to join him in private practice,” box,” says the 53-year-old biology major, who earned Teach Deatherage recalls. “i worked with him for 12 years, and we practiced the full scope of the specialty.” his B.s. from the University of Alabama before graduating from the UABsOD in 1979. Yet Deatherage, who earned his D.M.D. from the “i make them think because dentistry is a profes- UABsOD in 1987, realized his true calling early on. sion where you are problem-solving a great deal of “i entered dental school with the goal of becoming the time. it requires an individual to be able to look an oral surgeon from day one,” he says. “i also always at a given situation and determine what’s the best planned to enter academic practice here after i fin- course,” he explains. ished my training.” Meador, who retired from full-time dentistry in For Deatherage, now an associate professor in 1999, enjoyed great success with his family practice the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial surgery in Mobile. He started with a single employee and at UAB, the classroom setting is as challenging as watched the business grow steadily through the the profession itself. “i enjoy teaching residents and years; when he decided to change careers, he found students,” he explains. “We are understaffed in our himself climbing to the top of the real-estate apprais- department with regard to faculty surgeons. We also al field. it wasn’t a long-term commitment. deal with a large amount of facial trauma. However, “i did some soul searching while working with i am excited about the future of our school and our Habitat for Humanity in Africa,” Meador recalls. “it specialty. We have the brightest students and resi- gave me new perspective.” dents in our program.” Meador found himself teaching for a year at During his time as a student, Deatherage was spring Hill College. it proved to be a turning point. engaged in connective-tissue biochemistry research. “the joy i had teaching there set a fire in me. After “specifically, i was attempting to regenerate craniofa- taking a year off, i came to UAB, and i have truly cial bony defects with growth factors found in bone,” enjoyed the experience.” he says. His endeavors generated several papers and in addition to introducing students to comprehen- garnered multiple national and international awards. sive care and serving as a liaison between the school Deatherage completed his training in oral and and the state Board of Dental examiners, Meador maxillofacial surgery and an internship in general sur- teaches a practice-management course that provides gery in san Antonio, texas. He was later appointed real-world advice. “Whether it’s starting a practice by the governor of Arkansas to the state dental from scratch, becoming a partner, or simply hiring board, where he served as president in 2003-2004. and firing staff, there are so many things to consider “Although i had a very busy private practice, i when you get out of school,” he says. “i think it’s never lost my dream of practicing at UAB,” he says. important to share the mistakes made by the inno- “Our specialty has suffered from a ‘brain drain’ of tal- cence of youth. ent that is leaving academics for the financial rewards “i just hope that i can be to students a small frac- By Cindy riLey of private practice. i felt compelled to come back and tion of what David Greer, D.M.D., was to me. Dr.14 (u a B D e n t i s t r y )
  17. 17. faculty focusGreer is a man of integrity who’s respected by all Adds Barnes, “i am very proud to return to thewho know him. He’s someone you could always go university. i represent only a small fraction of whatto when you needed a straight answer. i couldn’t ask may be considered ‘giving back,’ but i feel many UABfor more than that.” alums have a strong desire to do that—and do so in For UABsOD alumna Marya Barnes, D.M.D., different ways. We all benefit in the end.”teaching provides a constant challenge. “i enjoyacademics for the diversity of opportunities. italso keeps me connected to cutting-edge clin-ical research and developments,” says Barnes,who earned her D.M.D. from the Universityof Connecticut before graduating from thesOD’s advanced periodontics program in2001. “i find that working with residents,clinical practice, and research are a very excit-ing combination. i like to see the momentwhen a student evolves into the next level ofunderstanding and proficiency. We all grow inthis profession with each passing day.” Barnes, an assistant professor in theDepartment of Periodontics, once servedin the United states Air Force, working as astaff periodontist. “i was assigned to KeeslerAir Force Base,” she says. “During my tenure iwas a member of the Keesler Forensic Dentalteam and the dental officer in charge of infec-tion control. in 2004, i became a diplomateof the American Board of Periodontology.” Barnes says she became interested in thespecialty as a student. “i was able to par-ticipate in the treatment planning of casesthat required more advanced periodontaltherapeutic considerations. i assisted in someof these procedures and was introduced towhat i feel is one of the most exciting areasof dentistry today. “i am also very optimistic about the dentalprofession. With the emphasis placed on evi-dence-based therapeutics and the training ofall of us as critical thinkers and lifelong learn-ers, we have been charged with an awesomeamount of responsibility and to have con-tinued passion and dedication in dentistry,”Barnes explains. “As we go forth with themultidisciplinary dental care of our patients,we also understand that there is an asso-ciation between oral and overall systemichealth. this knowledge has enabled den- even with successful private-practice careers under their belts, Marya Barnes (left), Joetistry to extend beyond the physical plant of Deatherage (center), and robert Meador all heard the call of dental academics.the dental school.” (u a B Dentistr y) 15
  18. 18. alumni profiles the strickland Brothers notice any family resemblance? not only are brothers Joe (left), Lyldon (center), and chalmus Strickland all practicing dentists in huntsville, but each also has a son or daughter currently practicing dentistry as well. WHen YOU AsK PeOPLe in Huntsville, Alabama, lic health program,” he recalls. “she flew over to Three brothers the name of their dentist, don’t be surprised if a Frankfurt, and we were married in the chapel on the disproportionate number answer, “Dr. strickland.” base. However, Germany requires a civil ceremony, start a legacy With three brothers, two sons, a daughter, and a son-in-law all in the field, dentistry has definitely too, and the paperwork wasn’t quite right, so we boarded a train for switzerland and were married in Huntsville become a family business. “We didn’t come from a long line of dentists,” again the next day. now we have two wedding anniversaries. i have twice the chance of getting it says Lyldon strickland, D.M.D. “Our father was a right.” workman, and our mother was a teacher. she was Meanwhile, back home, his brother Chalmus often ill, so when i was growing up in Anniston, had also gone into pharmacy, and after working in a i knew i wanted to work in health care. i went to pharmacy a while he realized that, like his brother, pharmacy school, then became interested in den- his interests leaned toward dentistry. tistry. i put myself through dental school at UAB “While i was at UAB, i worked in 13 drugstores by working as a pharmacist after class and through across southside and all over Birmingham put- the summer.” ting myself through dental school,” says Chalmus After graduating in 1958, Lyldon joined the Air strickland, D.M.D. “My brother was enjoying Force and practiced in Germany, where he married being an Air Force dentist, so i looked into it, and his American sweetheart, Martha Jean—twice. after graduation, i went into the Air Force too. At By Laura Freeman “We’d met in school when she was in the pub- my base in san Antonio, there were 120 dentists. i16 (u a B D e n t i s t r y )
  19. 19. alumni profilesgot to do a little bit of everything related to dentistryand loved it.” According to Joe, having brothers who were den- tists was also a big help when he was in school trying “Family get- Younger brother Joe strickland, D.M.D., was atAuburn on a football scholarship, working on pre- to decide between orthodontics and oral surgery. “they gave me some good advice that helped me togethersmed courses, when he was sidelined by injuries. As make the right decision,” he says. “it’s neat having guyshe recovered, he rethought his career choices and you can count on to ask questions and get support.” involve a lotdecided to go to dental school at UAB like his broth- even with so many stricklands practicing in oneers, but with one major difference: He became anorthodontist. area, Chalmus says it hasn’t caused too much confu- sion for patients. “it doesn’t usually take patients too of talk about “When we were in dental school, there were threeother strickland brothers from Gardendale,” says Joe. long to figure out which Dr. strickland is which. then they just use the phone book to be sure they molars and“each of us knew one of them in our classes. My wife, are making an appointment with whichever one of usGail, was a nursing student. We got married in school, they want to see.” roots andand now we have 10 kids—five girls and five boys.” After hours, the strickland brothers continue to After the Air Force, Lyldon returned to the southand took board exams in both Florida and Alabama. be a close family. “two of us live across the street from each other, and the third lives just up the road,” braces.” “i was talking with a dental-supply salesman, andhe told me two of my classmates were in Huntsville Chalmus says. “Family get-togethers involve a lot of talk about molars and roots and braces.” —Chalmusand were really enjoying their practice. it was the All three brothers are members of the rotary Club.kind of place i wanted to be, so i opened my practice Lyldon enjoys spending time on Lake Guntersville Stricklandhere. i like the variety in general dentistry and doing and playing golf. Chalmus likes gardening and fondlysomething different every day,” he says. recalls biking trips with his wife though italy and After completing his service in the Air Force, France. Joe continues to be an avid football fan andChalmus joined Lyldon in Huntsville. Joe followed enjoys traveling and snow skiing.a few years later, opening his orthodontics practice Looking back at their time at UAB, all threenext door after serving as an Air Force dentist in strickland brothers have vivid memories. “i’ll neverLangley, Virginia. today, Lyldon’s son, Greg, and forget my gross anatomy teacher,” says Lyldon. “iJoe’s son, scot, are also dentists, and Lyldon’s daugh- never saw him smile till after graduation. then thereter, stacy, and her husband, steve, have a dental he was in the elevator, smiling and friendly.”practice just up the block. “the professors were wonderful,” says Chalmus. Chalmus adds, “My wife, Dianne, and i have four “Dr. Volker was dean then, and Charles McCallumchildren. Our daughter studied dental hygiene, but was in oral surgery. Dr. Hammonds was such a strongthen decided she wanted to become a nurse. the influence in the clinic.”other three went in different directions. i remember Joe recalls his classmates fondly: “the class of ’69my son telling me in seventh grade he wasn’t going was such a close group. We had a great time and stillto be a dentist. He’s a lawyer now.” enjoy getting together.” What are the advantages of having brothers who are How did the strickland brothers’ parents feeldentists in the same office or next door? “it’s great being about having three sons in dental school? “theyable to consult with someone you know and trust when loved it,” says Lyldon. “Our father and mother wereyou have a difficult case or just want a different point of simple people. We didn’t have a lot of money, butview,” Lyldon says. “if someone needs orthodontics, we somehow, all three of us managed to get throughcan refer them to Joe. He’s a wonderful resource when dental school and build a career.”we’re working with young patients.” “Yes,” Chalmus agrees. “it’s been a good run.” (u a B Dentistr y) 17