Bulletin of Dental Education

Transitions, Appointments, and Awards - May 2013

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Anne Gwozdek Named Mentor of the Year by Philips Sonicare and RDH magazine

University of Michigan (U-M) School of Dentistry dental hygiene educator and clinician Anne Gwozdek, RDH, B.A., M.A., has been named the 2013 Mentor of the Year by Philips Sonicare and PennWell Corp., the publisher of RDH magazine. The award will be presented in June during the American Dental Hygienists’ Association’s annual convention in Boston.

Ms. Gwozdek, a Clinical Assistant Professor of dentistry, has directed the School’s  dental hygiene degree completion program  since its inception in January 2008. The distance learning program offers dental hygienists an opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Science degree while remaining employed or maintaining family commitments. The success of that program led to a second online learning program, launched last September, leading to a  Master of Science degree in dental hygiene.

Two dental hygiene colleagues and two former students nominated Ms. Gwozdek for the award: Karen Essell (BS-DH 1969), Mary Gilson Layher (BS-DH 1981), Elizabeth Easter (BS-DH 2012), and Kathy Yee (BS-DH 2009).

Ms. Easter, who was President of the  Student American Dental Hygienists’ Association  (SADHA) during her final year at U-M, says “Ms. Gwozdek always offered advice and encouragement that helped me to see how my education could benefit me in areas I may not have even thought about before, such as research.”

Ms. Gwozdek earned her dental hygiene certificate from the U-M School of Dentistry in 1973. She was a dental hygienist at a private practice in Dearborn, Michigan, for 16 years and later at a private practice in Canton, Michigan. She served a one-year term as President of the Michigan Dental Hygienists’ Association in 1999 and became a member of School’s dental hygiene faculty two years later. In 2007, Ms. Gwozdek earned a master’s degree in educational media and technology from Eastern Michigan University. She has also been an advisor to the Student American Dental Hygienists’ Association.

“Every dental professional fondly remembers a mentor who made a difference in their lives, someone who acted as a trusted and loyal adviser and friend, who motivated, inspired and supported our personal and professional growth,” says Gail Stoops, RDH, the Senior Manager of Professional Relations at Philips Oral Healthcare. “The Philips Sonicare/RDH Mentor of the Year Award recognizes outstanding dental hygienists who have positively impacted the lives of other professionals,” she adds. The award has been presented annually since 2004.

Dr. Nisha D’Silva Recognized for Research, Mentoring

Nisha D’Silva, D.D.S., Ph.D., Professor of Dentistry in the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine at the University of Michigan (U-M) School of Dentistry, was recently recognized for her research and mentoring. She received the Distinguished Clinical and Translational Research Mentor Award during a Michigan Institute of Clinical and Health Research (MICHR) symposium on March 15, 2013.

The award was established to recognize and honor the efforts and achievements of U-M faculty members who consistently demonstrate high-quality clinical and translational research and who foster the intellectual, creative, and professional growth of their students.

“I’m honored to receive this award,” says Dr. D’Silva. She noted that mentoring undergraduate and graduate students and fellows in her lab, enhancing their interest in translational research, and inspiring them to go on to careers in academia “continues to be professionally and personally rewarding. I am particularly pleased,” she adds, “that the School of Dentistry has established programs that enable students to pursue their interests and advance their careers.”

Dr. D’Silva is the Donald Kerr Endowed Collegiate Professor of Oral Pathology at the School of Dentistry. She is also a researcher and faculty member at the U-M Medical School.

Dr. Robert Steiman Receives I. B. Bender Lifetime Educator Award

H. Robert Steiman, D.D.S, Ph.D., M.S.D., received the I. B. Bender Lifetime Educator Award. The award, given by the  American Association of Endodontics  (AAE), is presented annually to a full-time educator of at least 15 years who has demonstrated excellence through selfless commitment to full-time educational pursuits, and whose valuable contributions have instilled in his or her students the desire to pursue excellence in their careers. The award was presented during AAE’s 2013 Annual Session in Honolulu.

Since his first appointment in 1967, Dr. Steiman has dedicated 41 years to education at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry, serving as Chair of the Department of Physiology, Basic Sciences and Endodontics, and as the Director of Graduate Endodontics from 1980 to 2001. In 2000, Dr. Steiman was appointed as Dean of the School of Dentistry, and when he retired in 2008, he was appointed Dean Emeritus.

While working in the endodontics program, he upgraded the curriculum in an effort to make the department nationally recognized and at times was the only full-time faculty member in the department. Student and faculty alike respect his leadership and teaching style, as he encourages students to think for themselves and treats them as equals. In addition to serving the University of Detroit Mercy, Dr. Steiman is an active member of organized dentistry while being involved in local, state, and national components of the AAE, American Board of Endodontics, and the American Dental Association.

Dr. Peter Polverini Honored by Marquette University and Columbia University

Peter J. Polverini, D.D.S., D.M.Sc., Dean of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, received two awards in April. Dr. Polverini received the Distinguished Alumnus in Dentistry Award from his alma mater, Marquette University. The award was presented by the  School of Dentistry and the Marquette University Alumni Association.

In addition, the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine awarded Dr. Polverini the Birnberg Research Award for his research on angiogenesis, the growth of blood vessels, and its relationship to cancer and other diseases. The Birnberg Research Award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to dentistry with their research as well as honoring those who mentor dental scientists.

Dr. Polverini earned a B.S. degree in biology in 1969 and a D.D.S. in 1973 from Marquette University School of Dentistry. He completed his specialty training in oral and maxillofacial pathology at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, receiving his D.M.S. degree in 1977. He taught at the University of Pittsburgh and later at Northwestern University before coming to the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in 1992. Dr. Polverini was named Dean of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 2000, but returned to Michigan in June 2003 to become Dean of the School of Dentistry. His second five-year term as Dean ends August 31, 2013.

In March 2013, Dr. Polverini became President of the American Association for Dental Research. A strong proponent of integrated health care and personalized medicine, he is among the leaders in dental education advancing the concept. The School of Dentistry’s new curriculum ensures its graduates are prepared to meet future challenges they will face the health care system.

Call for Applications: Samuel D. Harris Fund for Children’s Dental Health Grant Program

The American Dental Association (ADA) Foundation is accepting applications for the 2013 Samuel D. Harris Fund for Children’s Dental Health Grant Program. Applications are due in the ADA Foundation’s office by June 10. To apply,  download the application form , complete it, and send it to the ADA Foundation.

Grants of up to $5,000 each are offered to non-profit organizations and agencies that sponsor education programs for parents and caregivers to reduce the incidence of early childhood caries. Competitive grants of up to $5,000 will be awarded solely for prenatal and postnatal oral health instruction for parents and caregivers.

For more than 10 years the Harris Fund, named for noted pediatric dentist and philanthropist Dr. Samuel D. Harris, who passed away in 2003, has bestowed grants on organizations dedicated to fighting children's dental disease. Twenty grants totaling $94,379 were awarded in 2012.

Call for Applications: Dental Trade Alliance Foundation Grant Program

The  Dental Trade Alliance (DTA) Foundation  is now accepting applications for its 2013 grant program and expects to award seven $25,000 grants this year. Proposals are due May 31. If your school or program has an innovative project designed to improve oral health care for needy Americans and would like to be considered for a grant, please review the  guidelines.

The DTA Foundation has awarded nearly $1 million in grant funding to more than 50 projects since the inception of the program in 2002. Recipients have used the funds as seed money for diverse programs with one common goal: to improve oral health care for millions of underserved Americans.

Each applicant must demonstrate that their innovative project will not only improve access to oral care in their immediate geographical area, but also have the potential to grow and be implemented in other areas of the country. Each applicant must electronically complete the  2013 Grant Proposal Application Form.

Bluefield College Announces Founding Dean for Dental School

Bluefield College, a private Christian college in Virginia, has named the inaugural Dean for the School of Dental Medicine at Bluefield College (BC Dental School). Francis G. Serio, D.M.D., M.S., M.B.A., a Professor of Dentistry and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs from East Carolina University (ECU), has served in various academic fields since 1981, bringing more than 30 years of experience to the BC Dental School.

The BC Dental School will train individuals to provide critical dentistry needs to the underserved Appalachian area. Dr. Serio is experienced in dental school development and administration, having worked with ECU during the construction of its new dental school building and the opening of the school in 2011. He also demonstrates a passion for serving the underserved. Dr. Serio will start as Dean of the BC Dental School in June 2013.

“I am truly honored to be named the founding Dean of the Bluefield College School of Dental Medicine,” says Dr. Serio. “My career has been dedicated to the education of general dentists and serving the underserved.”

Dr. Serio is an editor of and contributor to the International Dental Volunteer Guide, an American Dental Association publication educating dental practitioners about volunteer opportunities. His involvement in the publication is a testament to his passion for service. 

“This position allows me the opportunity to help bring a tremendous resource to southwest Virginia that will train general dentists for the region and help set up a system to provide care not only at the dental school clinic in Bluefield, but also across the region in select community health centers,” says Dr. Serio.

In addition to Dr. Serio’s passion for education and serving the underserved, his work at the ECU School of Dental Medicine shows a combination of qualifications and experience that will be essential for the position of inaugural Dean at BC Dental School.

“Dr. Serio brings a unique set of skills that focus on knowledge of the specific requirements necessary to construct a dental facility, knowledge of the accreditation process that will be required to be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation, as well as a commitment to dental volunteer missions,” says Bluefield College’s Robert Shippey, Ph.D., Th.M., M. Div., Vice President for Academic Affairs.

OHSU School of Dentistry Announces New Dean

Dentist and immunologist Phillip T. Marucha, D.M.D., Ph.D., has been named Dean of Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry (OHSU). Dr. Marucha (Muh-Roo-Kuh), is the ninth Dean in the dental school’s 114-year history. He will lead the school as it moves into its new home, the Skourtes Tower, which is scheduled to open in 2014 within the OHSU/OUS Collaborative Life Sciences Building. As the only dental school in the state, the OHSU School of Dentistry plays a vital role in dental education and dental health in the region.

Dr. Marucha currently serves as Associate Dean for Research and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry (UIC). He will replace Dean Emeritus Jack W. Clinton, D.M.D., who retired in 2012 and is now helping coordinate the school’s transition into the Skourtes Tower. Since Dr. Clinton’s retirement, Gary Chiodo, D.M.D., F.A.C.D., has served as Interim Dean for the school.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to work with the many excellent faculty, students, staff, and alumni that make up the OHSU community,” says Dr. Marucha. “As we complete the new building, I would like to see us build on the history of outstanding clinical education to become extraordinary in all facets of dental education and research. This will take the collaboration of our colleagues from the other health sciences to develop interdisciplinary patient care as well as research. My goal is to facilitate the ideas of and mentor the faculty, students, and staff to help the school to become pre-eminent. I see this as a great opportunity to forge this new exciting relationship to train excellent dentists, scientists, and future educators for Oregon and beyond.”

Prior to his current role, Dr. Marucha served as Professor and Head of the Periodontics Department in the UIC College of Dentistry. He also was a Professor of Periodontology, and Director of the Comprehensive Training in Craniofacial Sciences Program at Ohio State University.

Dr. Marucha received his D.M.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, and remained there for a certificate in periodontology, and a doctoral degree in immunology. In 2007 he became an ADEA Leadership Institute Fellow.

“Dr. Marucha is a proven leader, a top-notch clinician and a respected researcher,” says Oregon Dental Association President Jill Price, D.M.D., who was on the dean search committee. “And, because he has practiced and administered programs all over the country, Dr. Marucha has gained a first-hand perspective on different approaches to education and oral health, an essential skill as health care continues to evolve. After a long and thorough process, we are confident that Dr. Marucha has what it takes to lead during this period of historic transformation.”

Dr. Marucha is an active researcher with nearly 200 publications, abstracts, and invited presentations. He has been a principal investigator on more than a dozen grants, and has been an investigator or mentor on another 30 research and/or training grants. Dr. Marucha’s most recent research projects include implementing a clinical research program to improve the health and well-being of minority populations, and understanding the basic mechanisms of human disease susceptibility through multidisciplinary research in the psychosocial, biologic, and genetic factors that regulate inflammation, microbial clearance, and wound healing in skin and oral mucosa.

“Dr. Marucha is a national leader in dentistry as a researcher, educator, and clinician. As we enter this period of exciting evolution for our school, we need an individual to not only lead our school into its new home in the Skourtes Tower on the South Waterfront, but also to help guide our school into the next era,” says Provost Jeanette Mladenovic, M.D., M.B.A., M.A.C.P. “We are extremely pleased he has agreed to join OHSU, and I am confident he will be a strong addition to the dental community in Oregon.”

Dean Marucha is expected to join OHSU in September.

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