Bulletin of Dental Education

Statement of the Nominees for 2020-21 Chair-elect of the ADEA Board of Directors—Jan. 2020

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Members of the ADEA House of Delegates will vote for the Chair-elect of the ADEA Board of Directors at the 2020 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition in National Harbor, MD. The ADEA Board of Directors has accepted the recommendations of the ADEA Nominating Committee and slated two candidates for the 2020–21 Chair-elect: Ana N. López-Fuentes, D.M.D., M.P.H., and Keith A. Mays, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D. Following are their personal statements.

Ana N. López-Fuentes, D.M.D., M.P.H.

Ana N. López-Fuentes, D.M.D., M.P.H.
Professor and Former Dean
University of Puerto Rico School of Dental Medicine

I want to thank my colleagues in dental education for nominating me for the position of 2020–21 Chair-elect of the ADEA Board of Directors. It would be a distinct honor and privilege to serve as the next ADEA Chair-elect. 

ADEA has been a partner and resource for all of us in dental education, shaping our lives, giving us tools for leadership development, and leading the way in dental education and advocacy. ADEA has become a global voice in the academic and professional communities. 

When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in 2017, ADEA helped our school through the catastrophe with crucial support that allowed us to take control of our situation and supply our students with meals, water and provisions, thereby allowing our students to aid the entire community with dental care in a time of crisis. This was an excellent example of the immense power of collaboration between associations, dental schools, corporate and professional organizations and individuals. I was Dean of the dental school during those turbulent times. The importance of the network, learning experiences, and leadership training that ADEA gave me couldn’t have been clearer. With these resources, we were able to keep our school accredited and open, help our students and staff with bottled water and food until December 2017, give psychological and other support, and help our communities. The lessons I learned from that experience about the power of collaboration, plus my love and passion for dental education and ADEA, motivate me to accept the nomination for Chair-elect of this unique organization. 

This is an exciting and crucial time for dental education. We have a new President and CEO and a new strategic plan. Both are significant forces in shaping the future of dental education. In the coming years, we will need to address some imperative topics: advocacy, interprofessional collaboration and care, wellness and well-being, innovative new curriculums, technological advances, exciting research collaborations, licensure reform and portability, and the crucial need for a diverse pipeline, student body, faculty, staff and workforce. As Chair-elect I will concentrate on working with ADEA on these important areas within the strategic plan. I will give particular attention to student and faculty wellness, inclusiveness, and the curricular innovations we need to prepare our graduates for an ever-changing work environment. I will also support ADEA in becoming a stronger voice for global collaborations in academic dentistry.

I have been involved in dental education for more than 30 years and I have been an ADEA member since 1992. ADEA has shaped my career and given me the tools to thrive in my pathway to leadership. I am extremely grateful to my friends and mentors in our family at ADEA that have given me the opportunity to grow as a professional and human being. This network has helped me thrive in the most difficult times and has given me the opportunity to give back what I have learned.

Through my membership in ADEA, I have been a member of the Council of Faculties, Council of Deans Administrative Board, numerous committees, advisory boards and part of almost every leadership training that the organization has offered. I have presented posters, spoken at annual meetings, and served on planning committees. I have also participated in the ELAM program and Bell’s Leadership Institute.

As ADEA’s Women Liaison Officer for more than two decades, I advocated for the needs and advancement of women and chaired the Women’s Advisory Board. I networked with excellent leaders to represent the needs of faculty members who are women. I helped write the proposal for the new ADEA’s Women in Leadership Special Interest Group. My various roles in ADEA’s International Women’s Leadership Conferences celebrated in Canada; Brazil; Barcelona, Spain; and Brescia, Italy also helped me learn more about the impact of women trailblazers in our profession and beyond. 

As the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee (DIAC) Co-chair; I have been privileged to work with an excellent group of professionals and ADEA’s staff to develop the first Access, Diversity and Inclusion Framework (ADI) and the ADEA Faculty Diversity Toolkit. Both of these guides will serve as landmark tools in the profession adding value to our institutions.

In 2015, I became the first dean from the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) and the first Hispanic to be part of the Administrative Board of the Council of Deans. During that time, we survived two hurricanes, including the catastrophic Hurricane Maria, where we learned how resilient our people are. I received the 2018 Chair of the Board Citation for these efforts and other significant contributions to dental education. As Dean of the UPR School of Dental Medicine, I was instrumental in the creation of collaborations and alliances with other institutions, amendment of the local dental law, and the approval of a periodontics graduate program. I championed renovations to the dental school and adding new educational technologies, among other landmarks. 

Before becoming dean, I was associate dean for academic affairs, helped in many curricular revisions and in four accreditations of the dental school. As a faculty member, I had started by teaching expanded functions dental assistants and hygienists, and helped implement the first dental assistant program in Granada, Spain. At UPR, I founded the AAWD Student Chapter 15 years ago and have remained the chapter’s advisor, celebrating the Smiles for Success activity empowering women victims of gender violence with beauty and smile makeovers. In 2018, I also founded the Hispanic Dental Association Student Chapter and as Community Dentistry Section Chief started the Give Kids A Smile annual community service activities throughout the island, celebrating its 15th anniversary in 2020.

At the national level I have been privileged to serve as a Commission on Dental Accreditation Site Visitor, on the Board of Trustees of the Hispanic Dental Association and as a member of the ADA’s Diversity President’s Summit Group and Think Tank. I am currently serving the Drexel University’s Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program as a 2019-2020 Faculty Advisor and 25th Anniversary Planning Committee Member. The opportunities to be part of these groups have been great experiences that will help me as the new Chair-elect to work alongside all of ADEA’s constituents.

As my career path demonstrates, I am a passionate advocate for students, faculty, underrepresented minorities, women, dental assistants and hygienists. I have worked alongside the corporate world, bringing access, education and oral health to our communities inside and outside Puerto Rico. We must continue to work together, collaborating and forming strategic alliances in the best interest of dental education and our communities to improve access to oral health and make our schools indispensable to society. As The Voice of Dental Education, we must continue to be ambassadors nationally and globally alongside our sister associations in delivering the message of oral health as systemic health and wellness. 

As Chair-elect I look forward to working with each one of you, the councils, ADEA’s staff and the Board of Directors to continue advancing our strategic goals of fostering more humanistic and inclusive environments while providing leadership on issues impacting dental education and the health of the public. 

Keith A. Mays, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D.

Keith A. Mays, D.D.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
University of Minnesota School of Dentistry

We are currently living in a season of health care transformation, and the American Dental Education Association is in great position to continue as an influencer, shaping the role that oral health plays in overall health. The influence of technology, research and educational innovations present opportunities to educate our students and residents for a bright future as oral health care providers. ADEA, as The Voice of Dental Education, advocates with federal legislatures and NIH, collaborates with stakeholders to advance oral health, and partners with other dental organizations to create a “well-prepared and diverse oral health workforce [that] is improving the health of all individuals and communities.” I am honored to be nominated for the position of Chair-elect to the 2020 ADEA Board of Directors. If elected, I will work with the ADEA Board and ADEA staff to promote our updated vision, mission, strategic goals and initiatives, as well as represent the unique needs of individual members and the seven councils.

I joined ADEA in 2003 and have enjoyed the opportunity to serve the Association in various capacities. I have desired to be a dental educator since being a student at the University of Michigan. I began my career as a dental educator at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, as a part-time Assistant Clinical Professor, and then became the Assistant Director of the University of Maryland General Practice Residency Program. Two milestones happened during my time at the University of Maryland. First, I obtained my Ph.D. studies, which I completed in 2010. Second, I became involved in ADEA. At that time, I was involved with two Sections, the Section on Prosthodontics and the Section on Minority Affairs. In 2005, I was elected to be the Secretary of the Section on Minority Affairs and continued to become the Chair and later elected Councilor. This is the role that allowed me to interface with the Council of Sections, exposing me to the broader work of the Association.

I believe strongly in the value that ADEA provides to its members and member institutions, as I have personally experienced the value by gaining knowledge and leadership development. One of the first opportunities that allowed me to understand the importance of transformation was when I chaired the Council of Sections Program Fund Task Force. I grew through this experience of helping to shape a new process that required sacrifice for the greater good. One of the other experiences that I was afforded was when I was invited by Gerry Glickman to serve on the 2012 Presidential Task Force on the Cost of Higher Education and Student Borrowing. I learned so much about the magnitude of the complexities associated with student debt and borrowing. I will always remember the opportunity I had to serve on the ADEA Annual Session Planning Committee (ASPC), ultimately serving as the ASPC Chair. For the past three years I have had the pleasure of representing the Council of Sections as the Board Director for Sections on the ADEA Board of Directors, which has been a great journey and a significant leadership opportunity.

This past June the ADEA Board completed the update of the strategic framework, and it highlights several significant issues facing dental education. This work was very important as it sets the course of our Association as we transition. I believe that my participation in that process puts me in a unique position to serve as Chair-elect. Each of the strategic initiatives is important, but I would like highlight a few that resonate deeply with me. This is a pivotal time, based on the age demographics of our faculty, to develop and support efforts to recruit and retain faculty that represent all of society and who inspire future educators. As dental institutions are faced with fiscal challenges and disruptions in health care, it is imperative that we work develop sustainable models and/or promote existing best practice. This is important as we strive to provide education and research that achieves the missions of our parent institutions and the needs of the communities in which we reside. Finally, I will continue our work on licensure reform, member engagement, and exploring opportunities on the global platform. 

Published on Dec. 11, 2019

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