Bulletin of Dental Education

Statements of the Nominees for 2024-25 Chair-elect of the ADEA Board of Directors

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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 2024 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition in New Orleans, LA. The ADEA Board of Directors (BOD) has accepted the recommendations of the ADEA Nominating Committee and selected two candidates for the 2024–25 Chair-elect: Todd V. Ester, D.D.S., M.A., and Ahmad M. Fard, D.D.S., M.S. The following are their personal statements.  

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Todd V. Ester, D.D.S., M.A.

Todd V. Ester, D.D.S., M.A.
Clinical Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
University of Michigan School of Dentistry

For over 30 years, I have been an active member of ADEA  as a dental student, graduate student/staff member and faculty/practitioner member. ADEA has been an important part of my professional life and development as a dental educator and I have made life-long friends through this amazing organization. I offer great humility and a sincere promise to continue to work diligently to advance ADEA, its mission and all its members through inclusive excellence. If elected, I will work with the ADEA Board of Directors, the ADEA President and CEO and ADEA staff to promote our updated vision, mission, strategic goals and initiatives, as well as to represent the unique needs of individual members and the seven councils.

It has been my privilege to have been an educator for over 20 years, during which time I have taught in didactic, simulation and clinical environments, all while serving through leadership in dental administration. I am currently Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. My specialty practice is endodontics, and I have served the Detroit metropolitan community for over 20 years as one of only three practicing African American endodontists in Michigan. I understand the importance of access and opportunity to underserved and underrepresented communities and ADEA has led this charge as The Voice of Dental Education.

ADEA has been pivotal in my career trajectory. I have participated with numerous committees, advisory boards, leadership trainings and fellowships. Throughout the years, I have held many leadership roles with ADEA, and I am most proud of the accomplishments that have occurred through collaboration with ADEA. I have always had a profound appreciation for the leadership and mentorship provided to r me through ADEA. My introduction to ADEA came through the trailblazing efforts of Jeanne Craig Sinkford, D.D.S., Ph.D., D.Sc., who was Associate Executive Director and established the Center for Equity and Diversity in 1998. It was during this time as a new faculty member thatI began to engage with Dr. Sinkford during her ADEA Minority Recruitment and Retention Conferences; the inspiration, embrace of the community and ADEA’s commitment to access, diversity, inclusion and belonging have served as a constant source of “being the change we want to see in the world.”

As a first-generation college graduate born and raised in Detroit, MI, I understand the profound impact  the profession of dentistry can have for one’s family and community. I have dedicated my life’s work to making our noble profession and dental education inclusive for all. This opportunity to serve as your Chair-elect of the ADEA Board of Directors gives me a chance to continue to build upon the legacy of so many amazing leaders of ADEA with compassion, excellence, innovation and creativity! I have also been privileged to serve ADEA in leadership through my roles in the ADEA Council of Sections; the ADEA Access, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee (Co-chair); and major ADEA President and CEO initiatives, such as the ADEA Collaborative on Dental Education Climate Assessment (CDECA) I, II and III; March 2022 ADEA President’s Symposium on Men of Color in the Health Professions; and the ADEA Chair of the Board on the New Thinking for the Century initiative. I have provided thought leadership for ADEA on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) topics at conferences and webinars. In 2019, I received the ADEA William J. Gies Award for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on behalf of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. I have also served on boards with Delta Dental of Michigan (2003-12), dental organizations such as the National Dental Association, American Dental Association, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Summer Health Professions Education Program National Advisory Committee.

As our world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic and dental institutions are faced with fiscal challenges and disruptions in health care, it is imperative that we work to develop sustainable models and elevate best practices. This is important as we strive to provide education and research that advances the missions of our institutions and communities in teaching, service and scholarship. 

Lastly, I will continue our work on licensure reform, member engagement and exploring opportunities on the global platform. It is with this understanding and commitment that I enthusiastically engage in this opportunity with indomitable hope that we can achieve the beloved community so often described by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr – in dental education and the world.

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Ahmad M. Fard, D.D.S., M.S.

Ahmad M. Fard, D.D.S., M.S.
Associate Professor and Director of Faculty Success Program
University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry

My lifelong journey has been dedicated to education, diversity and advocacy. With over two decades of teaching experience in various educational systems and a fervent commitment to innovation, I am a steadfast advocate for change and progress in dental education.

My journey and dedication align harmoniously with the ADEA mission statement. My upbringing instilled in me the values of determination, resilience and the importance of seizing opportunities. Against all odds, I worked tirelessly to pursue my own education. One of the defining features of my journey is the rich tapestry of diversity that has shaped my experiences. Throughout my life, I have had the privilege of interacting with individuals from myriad walks of life, each with their unique stories, backgrounds and aspirations. This exposure has afforded me an understanding of the diverse needs, cultures and perspectives that students bring to the classroom.

My teaching career began in the dynamic educational landscape of Iran, where I was exposed to the rigorous French curriculum. I transitioned to the American curriculum, which emphasized critical thinking and problem-solving skills. My ability to thrive and adapt in these diverse teaching environments was honed by my unwavering commitment to picking the best elements from each, and creating a hybrid model that is both holistic and innovative. In addition to my teaching endeavors, I have been actively involved in various leadership roles within the dental community. I have served on the ADEA Section on Advanced and Graduate Education Administrative Board and I currently hold the position of Chair of the ADEA Council of Faculties Administrative Board. Additionally, I am serving as the President of the American College of Prosthodontists, Michigan Section. My notable experience includes being elected as President of the Faculty Assembly at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry, where I served two terms. During this presidency, I gained invaluable insights into the intricacies of university and dental school governance. 

To further my understanding of organizational management, branding and constituency engagement, I am currently completing my Master of Business Administration degree. This experience has equipped me with skills in lean management and waste reduction, which I intend to apply to our organization to make it more efficient and robust, while serving our people.

I am dedicated to enhancing the professional development of faculty members, recognizing that empowered educators are the key to shaping the next generation of dental professionals. Having witnessed the transformative impact of educators who invest in their students’ success, my goal is to play an active role in nurturing and supporting the growth of dental faculty members.

Promoting the scholarship of teaching and learning, as advocated by ADEA, is a cause that deeply resonates with me. ADEA’s willingness to recommend changes in policy and structure, when necessary, reflects a proactive approach to addressing challenges. As a dental educator, I am ready to embrace change and advocate for policies that enhance the quality and inclusivity of dental education.

In conclusion, my journey from humble beginnings to being a seasoned dental educator has equipped me with a deep understanding of the transformative power of education and diversity. My experiences have shaped my teaching philosophy and fueled my commitment to innovation. If elected as Chair-elect of the ADEA Board of Directors, I will work diligently with students, residents, allied health professionals, deans and administrators, and listen to your needs and concerns to represent your best interests. 

I have the energy, experience, passion and commitment to be your next Chair-elect of the ADEA Board of Directors, and I am grateful in advance for your support. Together, we can shape a brighter future for dental education, one that reflects the diversity and excellence that define our field. To echo Aristotle’s wisdom, “Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach.”

Published on December 13, 2023

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