M Dentistry - Spring 2024

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For the University of Michigan School of Dentistry Community | Spring 2024

ss Michigan

External rotation program benefits state's residents, expands students' clinical experience

c r o
C a r e A


Dear Alumni and Friends,

As I approach the one-year mark of serving as Dean, I am continually reminded of why this School of Dentistry has a longstanding tradition of excellence. “People” is the single word, but it represents the thousands of individuals – students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends – who create this community of enduring success. An example of this impressive collective effort took place over the last two years as we prepared for the site visit of the Commission on Dental Accreditation. It took many months to prepare the lengthy and very detailed self-study in advance of the CODA site visit in late March. Our faculty, students, staff and leadership team came together in a remarkable display of commitment and collaboration to discuss the myriad elements of our curriculum, policies, procedures and cultural climate with the site visitors.

The CODA review provides an invaluable reminder that we have an extraordinary network of talented people working in unison on a daily basis to educate our dental, dental hygiene and graduate students. The preliminary response from the site team visitors was very positive and has been followed by a formal report. Are there areas we can improve? Yes, and this is welcomed because continuous improvement is in our DNA.

While our current faculty, staff and students deserve credit, the school’s success is also directly tied to the steadfast support of alumni and friends throughout Michigan, across the country and internationally. Our recently renovated, state-of-the-art facilities, for example, wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of financial gifts and in-kind contributions from our alumni and friends. The same is true for scholarships that help draw and support high-achieving students, and for endowed professorships to help recruit and retain top faculty.

As we approach the 150th anniversary of the school’s founding next year, we must acknowledge the foundation and culture that was built by the many who came before us. The founders in 1875 and each succeeding generation of faculty, staff and students were resolute in maintaining the highest standards of excellence and leadership. Nearly 150 years later, we are proud that a very committed University of Michigan School of Dentistry community strongly embraces and works hard to advance that legacy of excellence.


’ s Message

Summer 2024 Volume 40, Number 1

M Dentistry is published twice a year for alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of the School of Dentistry. See the school website at www.dent.umich.edu for more news and features.

Dean …Jacques Nör

Director of Marketing & Communications Raymond Aldrich

Writer/Editor Lynn Monson

Graphic Designer Ken Rieger

Photographers Celia Alcumbrack, Lynn Monson, Mary Lewandowski, Ken Rieger

University of Michigan School of Dentistry

Alumni Society Board of Governors:

Terms Expire Fall 2024:

Immediate Past Chair: Michael Behnan, MS ’79, Rochester Hills, Mich.

Theresa Hull, BSDH ’11, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Sara Kellogg, DDS ’07, Saline, Mich.

Amin Jaffer, DDS ’97, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Mona Riaz, BSDH ’12, MS ‘20, Farmington Hills, Mich.

Riley Schaff, DDS ’17, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Terms Expire Fall 2025:

Janice Pilon, DDS ’93, Hanover, N.H.

Chair-elect: Debra Lisull, DH Cert ’74, BSDH '79, DDS '83, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Julie Thomas, DDS ’89, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Chair: Allan Padbury, Jr, DDS ’99, MS '02 MS, Jackson, Mich.

Jennifer Cullen, BSDH ’12, Ypsilanti, Mich.

Brittany Forga, BSDH ’10, Van Buren Township, Mich.

Terms Expire Fall 2026:

Jake DeSnyder, DDS ’67, Plattsburgh, N.Y.

William Mason, DDS ’81, MS ’84, Saginaw, Mich.

Michael Palaszek, DDS ’82, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Scott Szotko, DDS ’99, La Jolla, Calif.

Elizabeth Milewski, ’15 BSDH, Ionia, Mich.

Christine Farrell, ’81 BSDH, Lansing, Mich.

Ex Officio Members:

Jacques Nör, Dean

Carrie Towns, Chief Development Officer, Alumni Relations and Development

The Regents of the University:

Jordan A. Acker, Michael J. Behm, Mark J. Bernstein, Paul W. Brown, Sarah Hubbard, Denise Ilitch, Ron Weiser, Katherine E. White, Santa J. Ono (ex officio)

Send comments and updates to: dentistry.communications@umich.edu or Communications, School of Dentistry, 1011 N. University Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1078

The University of Michigan, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office (ECRT), 2072 Administrative Services Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432, 734-763-0235, TTY 734-647-1388.

© 2024 The Regents of the University of Michigan



In this Issue 2 14 28 31 34 20 25
2 M Dentistry | Spring 2024 FEATURES FEATURES

Community-Based Collaborative Care and Education program benefits students, expands dental care throughout Michigan

From the Elk Capital of Michigan in the far northeast corner of the Lower Peninsula to the busy urban landscapes of Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, School of Dentistry students are taking their dentistry skills on the road to benefit a wide variety of the state’s residents.

The school’s vibrant Community-Based Collaborative Care and Education Program (CBCE) has come a long way since the days when students would leave the school only rarely for brief field trips to county health departments or to treat patients at the state prison or migrant farm worker camps.

The program has evolved into a year-round program that is a graded course in the curriculum, sending fourth-year students to clinics around the state for 12 weeks, usually for two weeks at a time. Third-year students also participate in CBCE, with fewer rotations for shorter periods of time. Students are assigned to 15 external clinic locations around Michigan, with two more coming online later this year. Most are Federally-Qualified Health Care (FQHC) clinics providing dental care to underserved patients. Some are Dental Service Organization (DSO) clinics, and some have more narrow patient populations, for children or military veterans. Regardless of the type of patients, all of the clinics enhance the broad diversity of patients and dental treatments beyond the normal patient pool scheduled by students at the dental school.

The number of locations, the length of rotations and the program’s status as required curriculum make CBCE one of the most extensive external rotation programs of any dental school in the country. Only a few others have mandatory external rotations; others provide short-term voluntary rotation opportunities, which is the minimum accreditation requirement.

U-M dental school leaders have long been committed to the educational value of external rotations as a supplement to the standard in-house clinical training that dates to the origins of dental schools. Dr. William Kotowicz, dean from 1995-2002, secured funding from various public and private agencies to broaden the piecemeal Community Outreach Program

Left: The oceanic surroundings are a tip-off that this isn’t a School of Dentistry clinic. Dental student Alyssa Evans is treating a pediatric patient during a CBCE rotation at the United We Smile clinic in Traverse City.

Current Locations Hosting CBCE Students

Aspen Dental – Gaylord

Aspen Dental – Traverse City

Cassopolis Family Clinic Network – Niles

Cherry Health – Grand Rapids

Family Health Center – Kalamazoo

Gary Burnstein Community Health Center – Pontiac

Grace Health Dental – Battle Creek

Great Lakes Bay Health Center – Saginaw

Lyon Dental Implants & Oral Surgery – South Lyon

Northwest Michigan Health Services – Traverse City

United We Smile – Traverse City

Thunder Bay Community Health – Atlanta

Thunder Bay Community Health – Onaway

VINA Community Dental Center – Brighton

Washtenaw Community College – Ann Arbor

Locations Expected to Open in 2024

Family Health Care – Cadillac

Cristo Rey Dental – Lansing

CBCE Clinic Locations
Spring 2024 | M Dentistry FEATURES 3 Continued

External Rotation History

Today’s comprehensive, statewide CBCE external rotation program can be traced to a curriculum commitment and expansion that began about 25 years ago. In earlier years, dental students participated in a few external programs but nearly all of their training was done at the dental school.

1930s Fourth-year students take one-week “field trips” to county health departments with support from the Kellogg Foundation.

1950s D4 and Dental Hygiene students treat inmates at the Michigan State Prison in Jackson and at the Federal Correctional Institution in Milan. At Bay Cliff Health Summer Camp, students serve children and adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

1970s Treatment of patients with special needs, particularly children with hemophilia; treatment of migrant farm workers and families in the summer using mobile units in Adrian, Stockbridge and Traverse City.

2000s A major change is implemented when Dean William Kotowicz and Assistant Dean Jed Jacobson convert the various external initiatives to a year-round Community Outreach Program. It included a $2 million funding initiative through organizations including the Michigan Department of Community Health, the Michigan Primary Care Association, the Michigan Dental Association, the Delta Dental Foundation, the Michigan Campus Compact and the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation in collaboration with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Civic Engagement Program.

2002 D4s begin 4-week rotations at five sites: Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, Marquette, Muskegon Heights and Saginaw.

2006 The external rotation program, still called the Community Outreach Program, steadily grows after it is placed under the direction of faculty member Dr. Bill Piskorowski by Dean Peter Polverini.

2014 The program begins charging clinics a “per-student, per-day” fee to cover students’ transportation and lodging so that it is self-supporting.

2017 Dr. Mark Fitzgerald takes over as director and the program name is changed to Community-Based Collaborative Care and Education.

2019 Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program was rotating students through more than 20 external clinics, but the pandemic and various other changes at clinics reduced the number to 14 by 2023.

2024 The number of CBCE clinics has returned to 15, with 2 more scheduled to come online later this year.

that had been in place for many years. Another significant upgrade came in 2006 when Dean Peter Polverini appointed faculty member Dr. Bill Piskorowski to lead and significantly expand the program. In 2017, after Piskorowski left the school, Dr. Mark Fitzgerald was appointed director and the program was renamed CBCE.

The early versions of the program had much the same goals as these today:

• To introduce students to community-based clinical education via FQHC dental centers, DSOs and Non-profit Outreach Facilities.

• To foster the integration and application of what students have learned so far into a community-based clinical environment.

• To provide exposure to the needs of underserved populations.

• To provide a focused opportunity to care for children in underserved communities.

Fitzgerald, now the school’s Senior Associate Dean in addition to CBCE director, says the program is crucial to the curriculum in terms of academic content and professional growth.

“The didactic and real-life exposure to social determinants of health and well-being help our students become more aware of the importance of these issues and better capable of meeting the needs of others,” Fitzgerald says. “Immersion into different communities, many with very different social and cultural backgrounds, helps to broaden their perspective of their role as health care professionals. The clinical experiences of our students not only provide a valuable repetition of clinical care but also an exposure to different practice environments and the demands of ‘real life’ dentistry.”

Another important aspect of CBCE is that school leaders have documented that it contributes to more students choosing community dentistry as the starting point of their careers. Students have frequently reported over the years that their perception of providing dental care shifted markedly after their rotations. Treating patients at FQHCs or in clinics in communities with large populations of underserved patients often provides new insight for students regarding the vast number of people who have serious and longstanding dental needs but have no insurance or the means to pay for treatment or preventive care.

School leaders survey graduates each year to record their initial career choices. Dating to the early 2000s when the external rotation program began expanding, the percentage of U-M graduates choosing community service grew steadily and has continued to be significantly higher than the national average. Over the years it has been common for about 15 percent or more of the U-M graduating class to start their first dentistry job in settings such as FQHCs, inner city clinics, the National Health Service Corps, the Indian Health Service or the military. The comparable national average during those years was often in the low single digits. For U-M’s 2023 DDS graduating class, the registrar’s survey shows 11 percent chose community service dentistry, compared to 8 percent nationally, according to the American Dental Education Association.

Expanding the reach

The growth of CBCE has always been predicated on its mission statement: Enhancing education through community-based dental service while increasing access to care for underserved populations.

FEATURES M Dentistry | Spring 2024 4 External Rotations (Continued)

by the Numbers



The program has been enormously successful in “increasing access to care” for Michigan citizens throughout the state. In 2005-06, when external rotations were still called the Community Outreach Program and totaled only three weeks, students completed 15,724 treatment procedures annually. Today that number has swelled to nearly 74,000 because of the 12-week rotation requirement and assorted other outside clinic opportunities.

The growth has come with changes to what many dental school alumni may recall from their days at the school. Graduates from the 1970s through the 1990s, for example, probably remember summer rotations to the Traverse City area to treat migrant farm workers and their families. Led by faculty member Dr. Robert Bagramian for many years, about 25 students would go north each summer and set up temporary clinics with portable equipment. Today, CBCE still treats migrant workers but advancements in social programs allow migrant workers to obtain dental treatment in clinics rather than in the field.

Another growing subset of the CBCE is the Victors for Veterans Program, or V4V, led by faculty member Dr. Howard Hamerink. Started as a student Pathways Program project in the Traverse City area in 2012,

Left: At the CBCE rotation at Cherry Health in Grand Rapids, fourth-year student Anmol Dixit (left) and Preceptor/Staff Dentist Dr. Elise Boncher team up during a patient appointment. Boncher earned her DDS from U-M in 2008.

it has expanded to clinics in Brighton and Pontiac, with a fourth location set to open this year in the Lansing area. Students volunteer for short rotations at the various locations to provide comprehensive care to disabled, homeless or uninsured veterans who have incomes at or below 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines.

Another new CBCE clinic experience for students involves an innovative collaboration between the dental school and the United Way of Northwest Michigan. The United Way program in Traverse City expanded on its longtime role as a fund-raiser for a variety of non-profit organizations and funded a new United We Smile dental clinic. It primarily treats underserved children in the Traverse City area, but it also has a veterans component for V4V, allowing CBCE students to gain experience in both areas during their rotations there.

The logistics of CBCE

Implementing CBCE is a complex and non-stop operation as students continually move through their year of rotations.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect is at the very beginning of each new academic year when Program Manager Tracy Darnell and her team plot out the entire year-long schedule for every student before the year has even started. Using the dental school and university calendars as the baseline, they plug in the rotations for each of the approximately 130 fourth-year students, as well as lesser schedules for third-year students. Darnell must also consider each external clinic’s schedules and its required number of students for each week, while avoiding dental school and university holidays, end-of-term breaks or days of licensure exam preparation, for example.

Students are assigned to external rotations throughout the year, except during August and December when the school takes its longest breaks between terms. Many of the rotations are two consecutive weeks, then four weeks off for the student to be

D4 students on CBCE rotations 142 Number of preceptors 73,501 Number of patient procedures
common treatment areas:
Dollar value of the care $1,590,372 Annual operating cost Note: All numbers from 2022-23 except annual operating cost, which is 2023-24. Exam 10,174 Treatment Planning 4,675 Prosthodontics 4,138 Restorative 20,430 Oral Surgery 14,366 Radiology 13,547
FEATURES 5 Spring 2024 | M Dentistry

at the dental school, then two more weeks often at the same external clinic as the first two weeks. Also factored in are some shorter single-day or two-day “local” rotations within the dental school and at area community clinics that don’t require overnight stays.

For the longer rotations, depending on the size and patient load of the clinic, the minimum number of students assigned is two and the average is four. Students usually are scheduled for four 9- or 10-hour days, or five 8-hour days.

Once the annual schedule is completed, students must obtain permission to switch their assignments with other students for a very limited number of CBCE-approved reasons.

The program’s annual operating expense in the academic year that ended this spring was about $1.6 million. The majority of that total is for travel to the clinics around the state and for the hotel rooms where students stay. CBCE has contracts with hotels that provide discounts on room rates. CBCE leases cars from the university so that

students can carpool to the distant clinics, with reimbursement for gasoline costs. Students can choose to drive their own vehicles at their own expense.

Revenue to cover the program’s expenses comes from several sources. All the external clinics have service agreements with CBCE that are approved by the university’s Vice Provost of Engaged Learning. Each external clinic pays the dental school a per-student, per-day rate for providing the students. CBCE is not involved in patient billing, which is handled by each external rotation site. The program also receives revenue from grants and foundations interested in promoting community dentistry.

The benefits for students

CBCE rotations help students improve their treatment skills, which, like any other course in the curriculum, are graded with input from preceptors in the external clinics. Students are rated on established School of Dentistry competencies in 13 key areas, including caries detection, treatment planning, patient management, clinical knowledge, communication and overall diagnostic skills.

Student views of external rotations

Traveling to these various clinics, I got to work with tons of dentists. I was grateful to be able to have this experience of working with so many different professionals. I was extra lucky because I got placed in two sites that would have a different preceptor every day. I was able to get so many opinions and work with several techniques and figure out which one worked best for me, but still got to practice another technique in case the one I prefer is not working. I also felt that working with other professionals gave us a good opportunity to network and get contact information.

This experience taught me the great value of patient advocacy and education, as the family was unaware of more local treatment options for their child. Having

a child with a complex medical history is difficult enough; navigating the healthcare system alone can be a frustrating and daunting experience. Thus, I will continue to be an advocate for my patients, providing them with the necessary resources to receive streamlined and excellent healthcare, in the dental chair or not.

Interviews with numerous students yield a consistently common list of what they consider positives about the external rotations, beyond the graded technical proficiencies:

• The variety of patients and treatments are broader than at the in-school clinics, thus bolstering the students’ experience and skillset.

• The pace in the “real-life” clinics is faster, with more patients scheduled each day, which requires students to work faster, providing a good transition to what they will experience in private practice.

• Preceptors are hired as adjunct clinical instructors at the external clinics and abide by the same standards as faculty within the dental school. However, students say they somehow feel that they have more freedom in assessing patients and determining their treatment plans. This bolsters their confidence, they say.

• While dentistry is dentistry, each external clinic has its own policies, procedures, equipment and methods of operating. Adapting to those differences from the

Through this transformative rotation experience, I have gleaned invaluable insights into the multifaceted challenges encountered by underserved

populations in accessing healthcare. It has underscored the imperative for a concerted, multifaceted approach that encompasses policy reforms, advocacy efforts, and community engagement initiatives to dismantle the barriers impeding access to care. As I continue on my professional journey, I am fortified in my commitment to championing the cause of health equity and advocating for the creation of a healthcare system that is truly accessible and inclusive for all individuals, regardless of socioeconomic status or background.

6 FEATURES M Dentistry | Spring 2024
Elexis Hoffman, D4 Shawn Hallett, D3
External Rotations (Continued)
Pramiti Saxena, D3

dental school operation is helpful and often opens students to alternatives they weren’t aware of.

• Students say they have gained a much greater understanding of the need for dental care in every community they visited. In particular, underserved patients with low incomes and-or no dental insurance are common even in more affluent communities, resulting in a steady flow of patients with serious dental conditions. Often patients express deep gratitude to students for treatment that may be their first visit to a dentist in decades.

Faculty member Dr. Sarah Tomaka, associate director of CBCE, relates to all of those student views because she also went through the program prior to her graduation in 2015. She remembers enjoying the “real people in the real world” feeling during rotations in Petoskey, Flint, Saginaw and Mt. Pleasant, among others. It helped bolster her interest in public health – she has a master’s degree in it – and led her to work six years in the same community clinic in Saginaw where she was assigned for CBCE. Last year she joined the dental school faculty and now helps students navigate the CBCE program while also teaching various courses that touch on social determinants of health.

Tomaka believes the value of CBCE for students goes beyond gaining experience with dental procedures. “The value is becoming more worldly,” she said. “It’s learning about other people. It’s not necessarily about learning how to do an amalgam. It’s learning about how other people live, why they need to be served, and how you can contribute. You start to understand the plight of the patients and how you can make their experience better. That’s really the overall value of it. Anyone can learn to do the actual dentistry, but to be a compassionate, comprehensive provider, that takes a lot more than being just in the school exclusively.”

Dr. Phil Yancho of Traverse City is one of about 130 preceptors who supervise students at the CBCE clinics around the state. He is also a Regional Program Administrator for CBCE, supervising preceptors in the northern district of CBCE, covering clinics from Cadillac to Traverse City to Atlanta. He coordinates with clinics to ensure consistency of student supervision and care.

“All the preceptors who have been doing this find, as I have, that this is rewarding.” Yancho said. “I’ve been doing dentistry for going on 39 years and I think that what I do as a preceptor is up there with the best dentistry I’ve ever done because it is so rewarding to be a teacher and see the students and how they respond. It is so rewarding to see the patients and how they not only respond to the treatment, but afterwards because we are changing some people’s lives with this program. They came in with no teeth and they are leaving with teeth. One guy got a job promotion that he attributed to his new smile built by students.”

The CBCE program is helping students meet the high demand for dental care throughout the state, Yancho said. Students are often treating children, veterans or other patients who have never seen a dentist. “Without this program, these children have no dental home anywhere. It’s not like we’re cutting into the patient supply of northern Michigan. This is a patient supply that is untouched. The veterans have no dental care, have lots of different health issues and no

ability to pay. And they are so grateful. It’s unbelievable how positively they respond to this program.”

Dental student Alyssa Evans, who graduated in May, said her CBCE rotations brought more of many things she needed to transition toward her career, which will come after a pediatric residency in Boston. She saw more types of procedures, worked faster in team settings, gained experience with four-handed dentistry thanks to more time with a dental assistant, gained a comfort level with extractions because she did more of them, and dealt with more walk-in patients who were in pain. She experienced the differences of an FQHC at Cherry Health in Grand Rapids, a grant-sponsored clinic at United We Smile in Traverse City and corporate dentistry at an Aspen Dental clinic in Traverse City.

“Just seeing the different models and practice styles. It’s all dentistry, but it’s all done very differently. You gain a lot more confidence in dentistry. I feel I know a lot more now than as a D3, for sure,” she said with a laugh on one of her last rotation days at United We Smile. “It’s different materials. Different clinics. Learning how to work in a different space. It’s all just dentistry, but it does push your boundaries and comfort level and your barriers. I can do this at the school, but can I do it somewhere else? And the answer is yes, you can.”

7 Spring 2024 | M Dentistry FEATURES Watch Related Video https://myumi.ch/Rm9r8
CBCE Director Dr. Mark Fitzgerald and his staff (standing from left) Tracy Darnell, Program Manager; Danielle Watts, Administrative Assistant; Dr. Howard Hamerink, Director of Victors for Veterans; and Dr. Sarah Tomaka, Associate CBCE Director. Not pictured are Drs. John Hamerink and Philip Yancho, Regional Program Administrators.

Thunder Bay Community Health Service: A rural region's extraordinary resource

On a freezing cold morning in late March, it’s clear this little town named Atlanta doesn’t have much in common with its big-city namesake in Georgia. Swirls of light snow are blowing across highway M-32 as traffic makes its way past the city limits sign declaring Atlanta the “Elk Capital of Michigan.” The town’s only traffic light is a two-way blinking red stoplight for the occasional motorists passing through the main downtown intersection.

This is Montmorency County in the forest lands of the northeast corner of the Lower Peninsula, about 70 miles southeast of the Mackinac Bridge. It is the eighth least populated county of the 83 in Michigan, with 9,600 residents, 700 of whom live in Atlanta.

U.S. Census figures from 2022 show that about 16 percent of county residents live in poverty, the 12th highest poverty percentage in Michigan. When the figures are broken down for children, 35 percent live in poverty, the highest of any county in the state. In the midst of this rural and relatively low-income county sits a healthcare gem on the west edge of Atlanta – the Thunder Bay Community Health Service clinic. It is a thriving one-stop resource for local residents needing a doctor, dentist, pharmacist or optometrist, with additional services for behavioral health, women’s health, and recovery and addiction treatment. Montmorency County is one of seven area counties served by a network of Thunder Bay clinics.

On this particular morning, three fourthyear U-M dental students – Sydney Cinal, Miranda Eberle and Seema Sabbagh – have arrived for their CBCE rotation at the Atlanta clinic. They are busy bantering with and treating patients in the dental clinic portion of the building. One man is worried his tooth is broken and will have to be pulled; Cinal discovers it is a cracked filling with a sharp edge, so she replaces the filling, smooths out the rough spot and the man leaves, happy that it was an easy fix.

Eberle deals with a patient who is missing a large filling on an upper right tooth. All of his teeth are in poor shape with many fillings because during previous appointments he

hasn’t been able to afford crowns or other more longer-term solutions. Worried about cost again this appointment, he tells Eberle, “If you can’t fill it, we’ll just rip it out of there.” Eberle takes radiographs and tests the tooth to make sure it is still vital, then assures the patient that an extraction won’t be necessary, that a new filling is a good –and affordable – solution for the time being. Another happy customer.

Later, the three student dentists sit next to each other at computers on a long table, recording their just-completed treatment actions and studying the dental records for new patients who are in their next wave of appointments. They consult about various patients with Dr. Joseph Carlu, interim dental director and preceptor for the clinic. He practiced in southeast Michigan for many years, then moved to Montmorency County to retire. That lasted three weeks. He found the dental clinic at Thunder Bay and has continued his dentistry career in a place that he says needs all the dental care it can get because so many local residents have poor dental health.

It’s a conversation that resonates with the three students, who say that working with patients in community clinics has impressed on them the realities of treating and communicating with underserved and lower-income patients who often choose cheaper solutions like extractions when better solutions are too expensive.

“That’s a difference we see a lot between the dental school and our rotation sites,” Cinal says. “A lot of times, patients here aren’t interested in saving a tooth, for one reason or another. We’ve heard it all, I think at this point, with the biggest one being financial. A better treatment might mean referring them to a specialist elsewhere, but oftentimes that’s a little further than patients want to travel to get that done. So they’d rather be out of pain and be able to solve that problem today.”

CBCE students assigned to the Atlanta dental clinic, and its smaller satellite office 26 miles north in Onaway, work with the small in-house staffs. In Atlanta, Dental Operations Manager Dana Arnold oversees one full-time and two part-time dentists, along with several

8 FEATURES M Dentistry | Spring 2024
External Rotations (Continued)
Dental students (from left) Seema Sabbagh, Sydney Cinal and Miranda Eberle in front of the Thunder Bay Community Health Service clinic in Atlanta, Michigan.

hygienists and dental assistants. Arnold says the U-M student “interns,” as the clinic calls them, are vital to helping Thunder Bay complete its community health mission.

“Our need is great,” Arnold said. “Having the U-M students here has been a big win for us in meeting the need. Access to care has always been an issue in our area.”

She said patients appreciate the U-M interns so much that they will sometimes ask that their next appointment be timed to wait until the next rotation of students are going to be at the clinic. “Patients will tell us: ‘The students were wonderful. You need to hire them.’”

And that’s exactly what Thunder Bay did with Dr. Chase McNamara, who earned his DDS from U-M in 2022. As a student, one of his CBCE rotations was at Thunder Bay. He found the community dentistry aspects rewarding, and the Midland native was well-experienced in the rural life of northern Michigan, having attended Michigan Tech in Houghton for his undergraduate degree. He is the clinic’s full-time dentist and two days a week he is a preceptor for the U-M students.

“This just felt right, it just felt natural, it was just something I was super-interested in,” he says of choosing Thunder Bay over private practice. “People are very appreciative of the work you do here. They don’t take it for granted. It’s a lot more helping people who

are in pain, rather than some of the more esthetic areas of dentistry. It’s just really nice to go in there and know you are making a healthy difference in peoples’ lives. It’s just an area that I find very rewarding and satisfying – to take someone who says they haven’t slept for three days because of their pain and be able to get them comfortable. That feels good.”

Dr. Carlu says the constant flow of U-M students from the CBCE program energizes the clinic. A world map on the wall above the students’ computer table is dotted with pins showing the hometowns and home countries of students who have made the 200-mile trek north from Ann Arbor to Atlanta in recent

years. Pins are scattered across the U.S. with Michigan completely covered; international locations include Italy, Egypt, Iran, India, Pakistan, China and Korea, among others.

As he deals with students about to begin their professional careers, Carlu has a lifetime of dentistry experience to share. His persona in conversing with students about patient treatment mixes the quiet confidence from a veteran dentist who has seen it all with friendly, can-do support that encourages the young dentists to trust their training and abilities no matter what they encounter. “I tell them: This is real-world dentistry here,” he says.

9 Spring 2024 | M Dentistry FEATURES
Students (from left) Seema Sabbagh, Sydney Cinal and Miranda Eberle pose in downtown Atlanta in front of decorative elk promoting the town’s claim as Elk Capital of Michigan. Dental Operations Manager Dana Arnold and Dr. Joseph Carlu, interim dental director and preceptor, stand outside a cubicle at Thunder Bay where student Sydney Cinal is treating a patient with staff dental assistant Eric Finnegan (far left).

Family Health Center: The daily diversity of a thriving urban clinic

It’s a sunny and bright spring day in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and U-M dental student Oluwatobi “Tobi” Dauda has drawn the corner cubicle with floor-to-ceiling windows wrapping around two sides of her work space at the Family Health Center. Outside the windows, traffic whizzes by on a busy city street, but Dauda is too focused on her patient to notice. She’s steadily going through the many steps of preparing an older man for a tooth extraction – examining his dental history, filling out forms, taking his blood pressure, setting out the dental instruments she will use. The extraction seems to go well, but then things take a turn as Dauda and Dr. Aubrey Deibert, one of the clinic’s staff dentists, monitor the patient’s post-procedure condition. He reports feeling light-headed. They take his blood pressure and it has spiked. After several minutes without improvement, the clinic’s Code Blue emergency procedure is

implemented. Almost immediately a crowd of about 10 clinic staff members gather to provide additional input and support. These symptoms could lead to cardiac arrest and require CPR, use of a defibrillator or calling an ambulance. Slowly, however, as the team talks with the man, he begins to feel better and his blood pressure starts coming down. After about 15 minutes, the emergency is over, though the patient continues to be monitored at length before being released to return home.

As Dauda joins a group of colleagues headed downstairs to pick up lunch, she is asked how her morning went. She flashes her trademark smile and quips in an understatement, “It was interesting.” Later, as Dauda and U-M classmate Jennifer Zhou finish lunch in a staff room, they talk with a veteran oral surgeon from the clinic staff who assisted during the Code Blue. The surgeon takes them through a mental checklist of

emergency procedures, reinforcing the importance of being prepared in advance. It’s just another day in the life of a CBCE rotation, says Dr. Julie Saracina, the Chief Dental Officer of the Family Health Center. Saracina, a 2003 graduate of the U-M dental school, says the busy pace and wide variety of dental needs of patients at the Federally Qualified Health Center provide invaluable experience for the students in the CBCE rotations. In return, the students help the center meet its mission of providing a safety net of healthcare for people who either don’t have insurance or are under-insured – which Saracina estimates at a daunting 70,000 in Kalamazoo County.

“I think the rotation here gives the students a beautiful perspective on the range of patients they may see, and it gives them an idea of who they can help give healthcare access to when they decide how they are going to practice dentistry,” she says. “They may not have had that type of exposure prior to coming here. They may have had no idea that public health was even an option, including working for the Department of Corrections or working in Indian Health Service or options like that.”

Students learn that going to the dentist is not a simple task for many people who may not even have the means to easily travel to the clinic. “How did they get here for their appointment?” Saracina asks, listing the obstacles some patients face. “They had to organize getting out of work. They had to organize their bus token. They had to organize a baby-sitter. They had to organize whether or not whether they can eat breakfast that day because they had to get on the bus so early. Then how are they getting home? How are they picking up their prescription? That’s not the same struggle of other people who are patients in private practice. I think there is a different relationship between public health providers and their patients than private practice and their patients.”

Other learning opportunities for students, Saracina notes, include working faster to keep up with a steady stream of patients, compared to the slower pace of the dental school, and dealing with short-notice walk-in patients. Navigating dentist-patient

10 FEATURES M Dentistry | Spring 2024 External Rotations (Continued)
Dr. Julie Saracina (back, right), Chief Dental Officer for the Family Health Center in Kalamazoo, stands in from the the building with CBCE students (from left) Oluwatobi “Tobi” Dauda, Julian Cheung, Jennifer Zhao and Dhivyalakshmi Manavazhagan.

communication when the patient doesn’t speak English is a surprisingly frequent obstacle given that Kalamazoo’s diverse population includes cultural enclaves with residents who speak Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin and French.

Saracina said it is rewarding to see how students grow even during their relatively short rotations. They may shy away from procedures they haven’t done before, but Saracina and her staff encourage, empower and assist students in learning new skills.

“Those are good experiences,” she says, “because when it was successful and the patient has left and we get to high-five about it, the students are feeling much more empowered to be able to make a decision like that on their own later.”

That confidence-building aspect of CBCE is confirmed by students, including Dhivyalakshmi Manavazhagan, who came to the dental school from India as part of the of the Internationally Trained Dentist Program. She said her time at Kalamazoo and her other CBCE rotations strengthened her confidence as she approached graduation in May and as she considered job opportunities in Illinois or Georgia.

“Being here (in Kalamazoo), I get a flavor of how it is going to be outside. Here I know the pace that it will be outside, so it has given me a little bit of practice as to how my life is going to be outside after dental school,” she said. “That’s the biggest advantage. It’s like a mini-practice before going out to the real world.”

Dr. Kerri Barberio (right), a staff dentist at the Kalamazoo clinic and a 2015 U-M dental school alumna, checks the progress of treatment being delivered to a patient by students Jennifer Zhou (center) and Dhivyalakshmi Manavazhagan.
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Student Tobi Dauda treats a patient in a cubicle with large windows looking out onto the Kalamazoo neighborhood.

New clinic helps students experience the unique demands of treating children

Dental students assigned to CBCE rotations at the United We Smile Clinic in Traverse City treat patients in a beautiful and innovative facility that opened last September.

Designed primarily as a pediatric clinic, it is the brainchild of Jennifer Kerns, a Registered Dental Hygienist who for many years was part of healthcare programs that included a stint touring northern Michigan in a mobile van to treat underserved patients. She learned first-hand that even in the relatively affluent part of Michigan around Traverse City there was a huge population of underserved patients. She was particularly concerned by the needs of children she treated, who oftentimes had never been to a dentist or used a toothbrush. She saw many

United We Smile Clinic Director Jennifer Kerns (far right) poses with a giant toothbrush and CBCE students (from left) Jing Zhang, Sarah Wojcik, Alyssa Evans, Yunus Alsomairi, Shara Corvera Calderon, William Griffith and Cyrus Moshirfar.
M Dentistry | Spring 2024 FEATURES 12 External Rotations (Continued)
Third-year dental student Cyrus Moshirfar walks with young dental patient Dakota, age 2 and a half, down an ocean-themed hallway from the waiting room to the dental clinic at United We Smile. Moshirfar and Dakota’s mother spent several minutes together in the waiting room in an attempt to ease the girl’s fears about her dental exam. It seemed to have worked at this point in the appointment.

special needs children with physical or mental limitations who were particularly in need of a special place to call their dental home.

Kerns approached United Way of Northwest Michigan with a novel idea. Would the agency, known primarily for raising funds for various non-profit community organizations, be interested in sponsoring a brick-andmortar dental clinic for treating children? Once United Way agreed, Kerns designed an airy six-bay clinic with large windows and an interior design scheme that feels like a giant aquarium. Floor-to-ceiling wall murals feature dolphins, whales, turtles, manta rays and all sorts of fish swimming by in ocean scenes. Two private “quiet rooms” separate from the main clinic offer the soothing sounds of ocean waves and many colors of soft LED lighting designed to put young patients at ease. The clinic atmosphere is also relaxing for the military veterans who are also treated there by CBCE students. As clinic director – or more formally Director of Health Initiatives for United Way of Northwest Michigan – Kerns brings a seemingly limitless amount of creativity and patience to providing dental care for children, much of it before the children ever sit in the dental chair. She prepares students in advance for what to expect from kids who have visited the clinic previously, and she shares lots of general advice for befriending the young patients and building their coping skills.

Many of the youngest children are scared, so loud crying, often for extended periods, is common. Kerns stresses that creating a fun experience to smooth the immediate appointment will likely have long-term benefits as well, with the children being less afraid and maybe even looking forward to visiting the dentist, which is important for their future health.

Kerns says experience is the best teacher for the CBCE students who have limited experience with treating children at the dental school. “It is so rewarding to have these students here. To watch them on their first Monday, and then at the end of the two weeks, it’s an enormous difference. It’s amazing.”

Third-year student Sarah Wojcik discusses a treatment option with preceptor Dr. Stan Smyka in the United We Smile clinic.
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In an attempt to warm up to a young boy before he tries the dental chair at United We Smile, fourth-year dental students Alyssa Evans and Yunus Alsomairi pretend they are using a giant tooth brush to brush Yunus’s hair. Distracting children and finding ways to put them at ease is often a necessary step before any dental exam.

SCHOOL School's Strengths Cited After CODA Review

The Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) completed its site visit at the School of Dentistry in March, and preliminary findings identified numerous strengths during the formal review that American dental schools must complete every seven years.

Among the strengths cited by members of the CODA team:

• A highly supportive staff and excellent facilities.

• Strong mentoring of junior faculty.

• A research culture that is strong, not only in basic science, but also in clinical and educational research.

• The Community-based Collaborative Care & Education (CBCE) program was cited as a service to the broader community and helps students learn the value of caring for the underserved.

• The school’s humanistic environment created and fostered by faculty, staff and students benefits the entire community and the delivery of patient care.

• A strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is exhibited within the School of Dentistry and throughout the U-M campus.

Dean Jacques Nör said the school will focus moving forward on areas that the report noted for improvement. At a school-wide reception to celebrate completion of the

Above: Dean Jacques Nör (front, center) talks with faculty members Rodrigo Maia (gesturing) and Ron Heys during a reception thanking faculty and staff for their preparation for the CODA site visit and for the ongoing success of the school.

CODA site team visit, Nör thanks faculty, staff and students for their dedication and the significant amount of their time required to conduct a self-report in advance of the site visit. “We are truly ‘living our values’ and delivering meaningful outcomes in our work everyday to educate students, conduct research and deliver patient care,” he said. “I am very proud of our school, the school that you enrich every day through your work and your commitment to inclusive excellence.”

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School Launches ‘Mental Health First Aid’ Program

The School of Dentistry in April launched a new program to positively impact the mental health and well-being of the members of its community. The goal of the Mental Health First Aid Program is to offer mental health and suicide prevention training for students, staff and faculty.

Dr. Marcia Campos, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics, is serving as faculty lead for the program based on her leadership and advocacy with dental students and her participation in the university-wide Faculty Well-being Collective Initiative. Gail Oljace, Department Administrator for Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, is serving as staff lead based on her involvement with the school’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Multicultural Affairs Committee (DEI-MAC) and other school initiatives.

“This program will make a difference for our students and our school community as a whole,” Campos said. “We need to normalize discussions about mental health and take actions towards promoting a safe and non-judgmental environment for our community.”

Campos said the idea for this training came from former dental school Dean Laurie McCauley, now provost of the university; Lynn Johnson, the school’s former Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness; Renee Duff, the school’s Associate Dean for Students; and many others members of the leadership team.

Campos said faculty member Jan Hu, while serving as Interim Dean, helped secure formal funding from the U-M Provost’s Office, and the current Dean, Jacques Nör, has supported the project.

The dental school is one of the first schools on campus to launch this training program. The new course aligns with the recently announced commitment to the health and well-being of the U-M community emphasized in Vision 2034 and detailed in the Well-being Collective’s Common Agenda.

Training sessions began in April and have included students, staff and faculty. The first sessions have been facilitated by A Smith Associates, a local consulting firm that includes two certified trainers: Daicia Price, Clinical Associate Professor at the U-M School of Social Work, and Andrea Smith, Director of Clinical Practice Improvement at the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority.

Mental Health First Aid is an evidence-based, early-intervention course, administered by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, using community-specific scenarios, activities and videos to teach the skills needed to recognize and respond to signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges as well as how to provide initial support until professional help is available.

Attendees of the training will be certified for a period of 3-years in both Mental Health First Aid and Suicide Prevention.

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Staff and faculty participate in the initial session of the Mental Health First Aid program.

Cathy Newton Named School’s Chief of Staff

Cathy Newton added another leadership role to her tenure at the School of Dentistry when she was named Chief of Staff after the retirement of Erica Hanss in January.

Dean Jacques Nör appointed Newton to the position, effective from January 2024 to June 2025. In making the announcement, Nör also thanked Newton for serving as Interim Director of Budget and Financial Planning for nine months in 2023 while a search was conducted to fill that position. It was the second time Newton served as interim budget director, meeting that need in 2019 as well, also for nine months. Newton said her charge from the dean is focused on monitoring the needs and input of staff and faculty across the school, helping identify efficiencies and developing other ways to keep staff satisfaction high. “As chief of staff, and a staff member myself, I know that the staff contribute tremendously to the success of the faculty, clinic instructors, researchers, students and everyone. I want to ensure they

have the resources, the tools and the voice to do their jobs well,” she said. “The vision is that I serve as a liaison among the various groups of staff, faculty, departments and offices – so that everyone is working as efficiently as possible toward the success of the school and its mission.”

In addition to providing input to the dean and school leadership, Newton will supervise the dean’s office, building operations, Marketing and Communications, and the Sindecuse Museum.

Newton joined the dental school in 2017 as Department Administrator for the Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics, which she continued during the times she served as interim budget director. She has more than 30 years of experience at the University of Michigan, including roles supporting the Department of Dermatology at Michigan Medicine; the School of Nursing; the Center for Educational Outreach; and the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, each with increased responsibilities in administration and business functions. Newton holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Concordia College in Ann Arbor.

Erica Hanss Retires, is Honored for Chief of Staff Tenure

Erica Hanss, the Chief of Staff for the School of Dentistry for the last 20 years, was honored at a retirement reception in January, receiving high praise from the deans, school leadership and staff she supported in countless ways during her tenure.

Former Dean Peter Polverini, who hired Hanss in 2003 as the school’s first chief of staff, cited her professionalism, problem-solving, strategic planning skills and attention to detail. “Throughout your tenure as chief of staff, your performance has been a remarkable study in devotion, expertise and exceptional leadership,” Polverini said. “With steady hands, you steered the course of our organization, providing thoughtful counsel and insight, and demonstrating an unwavering dedication to our collective mission.”

Former Dean Laurie McCauley, now Provost of the university, noted that long before Hanss earned her MBA from the Ross School of Business, she trained as a physical therapist. McCauley mused that it was a fitting start because Hanss offered many types of therapy to the dental school deans and staff – organizational, communications,

facilities and artistic, among others. In addition to advising the dean and executive leadership, Hanss contributed administrative oversight and supervised building operations, Marketing and Communications, and the Sindecuse Museum staff.

McCauley and Dr. Jacques Nör, the current dean, credited Hanss with leading the organizational success of the school’s $140 million Blue Renew major renovation and expansion that was completed in 2022. It took many years of complex planning so that

16 M Dentistry | Spring 2024 SCHOOL
Cathy Newton Erica Hanss, second from left, with three of the four deans she supported as Chief of Staff –former Dean Laurie McCauley, former Interim Dean Jan Hu and Dean Jacques Nör.

the four years of actual construction could be completed while the school remained open for its educational, clinical and research missions.

“The Blue Renew project was the most complex project this campus has ever undertaken,” McCauley said. “It is due to Erica’s incredible organizational skills that it came off as well as it did. There were many, many groups to deal with. When we started that project we thought we would have to have people moving out of the building and then moving back in, and we never had to

do that because of Erica’s organization. I always felt incredibly good about having her lead this project, not only because of her organizational skills, but because I know she has such great artistic and design sense.”

Hanss thanked her family and colleagues for their support and camaraderie. While she acknowledged that Blue Renew and other projects are something to be proud of, she said the interactions with colleagues were the most rewarding aspect of her job. “The people who spent their time on this journey with me, those are who I will remember,”

Annual Ida Gray Awards Presented

she said. “Coming to work every day and knowing that you have a group of people who truly want to do the right thing and make a difference. Each administration has been dedicated to making Michigan a better school.”

McCauley ended her remarks by describing Hanss as “a fabulous therapist to our school.” She added: “This school is in a much better place because of all the work that you have done.”

Clarence Cochran II, a 2024 DDS graduate, and Melanie LaPointe, a senior administrative assistant in the Dean’s office, hold plaques commemorating their Ida Gray Awards next to a portrait of Gray. Presenters were Gail Oljace (left), a member of the school’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Multicultural Affairs Committee (DEI-MAC), and Dr. Todd Ester, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The annual Ida Gray Award presentation was made in February during the school’s 2024 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Day. Since 1997, the centerpiece of DEI Day is the Gray award, named for the first Black woman in the country to earn a DDS when she graduated from the School of Dentistry in 1890. She was also the first Black woman to practice dentistry in Chicago. DEI-MAC cited LaPointe as “a strong champion for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging” who demonstrates her commitment to DEI in her daily work and home life. She is recognized as welcoming and respectful of everyone in the school community. Cochran was described by a classmate as “a pillar in our journeys as dental students, serving as a friend, role model and mentor.” In addition to being a member of the DEI-MAC committee for four years, he served as treasurer for both the U-M chapter of Student National Dental Association its National Executive Board.

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New PAES Director

Dr. Suman Vij, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics, was named director of the school’s Patient Admitting and Emergency Services (PAES) clinic, effective Feb. 1. Vij earned her DDS at U-M in 1999 and began her career in New York and New Jersey, later opening a private practice in Arizona. In 2019, she returned to Ann Arbor and joined the dental school faculty. Dr. Patty Doerr, who directed and served in the PAES clinic for more than 15 years, continues to work as a staff dentist part-time and serves on the school’s Risk Management team.

Maia Leads CE

Faculty member

Dr. Rodrigo Maia is the new director of the school’s Continuing Dental Education program. This newly expanded position leads the design and development of a continuing education program business plan for the school. Working closely with the Faculty CDE Advisory Committee, Maia develops a variety of classes, courses, seminars and symposia to provide dental professionals with ongoing training opportunities. Maia, who joined the dental school in 2020, is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics. In 2021, he was appointed Restorative Discipline Coordinator in the department. Maia received his DDS degree from Gama Filho University in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and an MS and PhD in Restorative Dentistry from the Rio de Janeiro State University. He served in the Brazilian Air Force, where he earned certificates in Operative Dentistry and in Periodontology. Before joining U-M, he was a faculty member at the University of Iowa School of Dentistry.

Sindecuse Spotlight

Artifacts from the extensive collection at the dental school’s Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry

Leather Teething Doll

Circa: 1903.

Inventor: Gussie Decker of Chicago, Illinois.

Purpose: “The object of the invention is to provide a cheap, durable and attractive doll and to render the same unbreakable and incapable of injuring infant children,” according to the patent application registered in April 1903. The 12-inch dolls are made of leather and filled with horse hair.

History: Research by Sindecuse Curator Tammy Barnes shows that Gussie Decker’s husband owned a company that manufactured “leather novelties.” The presence of young children in their household may explain Gussie’s entrepreneurial spirit. Gussie was the mother of a son who was 1- or 2-years-old when the patent was filed. In addition, one of her husband’s business partners, who had a small child at the time, lived at the same address in Chicago as the Deckers. The dolls are sometimes called “lacing dolls,” “shoelace dolls” or “teaching dolls” because a shoelacelike string that binds together the chest pieces of the doll could be used to teach children to tie their shoes. However, that function is not mentioned in the patent application, which focuses mostly on the ingenuous way the leather pieces fit together to form the doll. The Sindecuse’s version of the doll is dressed in a red top and pants (not shown in the photo). It is in excellent condition; many of these dolls show extensive wear, particularly on the head, presumably from infants and toddlers chewing on the doll.

Provenance: Purchased by the Sindecuse in 2024 as a way to expand its early 20th century collection of dentistry-related artifacts.

To see more of the Sindecuse Museum collections, go to www.sindecusemuseum.org/collectionsoverview

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Dr. Suman Vij Dr. Rodrigo Maia

‘You Belong’ Mural Installed

Inspired by a conversation about improving the sense of belonging at the School of Dentistry, the idea for a striking new photo mural was born. In discussing the school’s most recent cultural climate survey, members of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Multicultural Affairs Committee (DEI-MAC) agreed on the need to help the community of faculty, students and staff know that they belong at the school. Organized by Marketing Manager Celia Alcumbrack, the committee decided on an internal communications campaign inaugurated by a wall-size mural that celebrates and includes portraits of a wide range of faculty, staff and students. The “You Belong” mural was installed in a first-floor hallway in the new Research Commons in January. Five of the people featured in the mural attended a reception after its installation; they are (left to right) Momina Mujahid, Anthony Barraco, Carmen Vega, Said Al-Jazeeri, Dorcas Sam-Ayodele and Cheryl Quiney. To learn more about the project, visit: https://media.dent.umich.edu/sites/belong/

Focus on Kids and Community Service

The annual "Give Kids a Smile" clinic could just as well be re-named the "Kids Give Us Smiles" clinic. That was the case this year in March as a precocious 5-year-old named Archel Sihotang gave a thumbs-up to third-year dental student Olivia D’Angelo (far left) and second-year student Madeline Cardinal as they talked about his good dental check-up. The boy’s father watches (upper left) from the adjacent cubicle where Archel’s 7-year-old brother was also receiving dental care. About 90 children ages 4-14 attended this year's event. More than 100 upper-level dental and dental hygiene students and faculty provided dental exams, cleanings, x-rays, sealants, fillings and extractions.

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Faculty Profile

Dr. Erika Benavides: Looking closely to find what radiology reveals

For Erika Benavides, her career in radiology has always been fascinating, challenging and rewarding.

When she adds in the fulfillment of sharing her knowledge with students as a Clinical Professor at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, the career satisfaction can’t get much higher.

“I have always been fascinated by diagnostic sciences and by the ability to see beyond what you can see with the naked eye to get to the root cause of diseases and abnormalities,” she said.

Her interest in radiology developed during dental school in her hometown of Cali, Colombia. After she finished her dental degree program at the University of Valle, there were no radiology residency programs in Colombia so she decided to pursue educational opportunities in the U.S. She was accepted by the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston for a six-month externship in craniofacial genetics under the mentorship of Dr. Carlos Salinas. Working with an oral and maxillofacial radiologist on a research project, she confirmed that radiology was the career she wanted to pursue.

Benavides then joined the University of Missouri at Kansas City in 2000 for a one-year General Practice Residency that provided more hands-on dentistry exposure in a hospital setting and experience treating medically-compromised patients and complex cases. She stayed on at UMKC as an oral and maxillofacial radiology resident and then completed an interdisciplinary PhD program that allowed her to combine research in oral biology and biomedical engineering. “Drs. Jerry Katz and Paulette

Spencer were my greatest mentors at UMKC,” Benavides said. She gained greater appreciation for working with various specialties.

“Engineers have such a different perspective than someone in the healthcare field,” she said. “It’s very enriching to look at clinical questions from different lenses.”

The advantages of a multidisciplinary approach reinforced what Benavides had already come to understand about the value of oral and maxillofacial radiology as a core specialty. “Imaging is key to most dental specialties and being a radiologist I have the privilege to collaborate and contribute in multi-specialty teams, which is very rewarding,” she said.

With her PhD in hand, Benavides came to the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in 2006 as a clinical lecturer in the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, which oversees radiology. She already knew she enjoyed the teaching side of radiology because she had been a clinical teaching assistant at UMKC. At U-M, she steadily moved up the faculty ranks after three years as a lecturer, becoming a full professor in 2019.

Benavides says she had the good fortune to join the radiology division at U-M four years before the retirement of Professor Sharon

Brooks, the world-class radiology expert who was a faculty member from 1973 until 2010. Brooks, who edited and contributed to top radiology journals and lectured at conferences around the world, shared her knowledge and teaching experience. “I was so fortunate to work with Dr. Brooks,” Benavides said. “She was an outstanding mentor –so inspiring, generous, and knowledgeable.”

That spirit of camaraderie and sharing is what Benavides tries to pass along to students learning about radiology in the DDS, graduate specialty and dental hygiene programs. She and Dr. Fabiana Soki are the lead faculty for the school’s series of didactic and clinical radiology courses from first-year students up through graduate level. Some are large lectures, some are small group seminars, some are hands-on radiographic technique and interpretation sessions.

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“I love asking questions to students to help them reinforce their knowledge,” Benavides said. “I give them plenty of time to think about what I’m asking, but I push them to think. When the lightbulb goes on and they say, ‘Oh, yes, now I see, that makes sense’ – it is very satisfying. I love that aspect of teaching and transferring knowledge.”

Radiology, like all the aspects of dentistry, evolves constantly. The days of the examining x-ray film on a lightbox are over for the most part. Instead, digital imaging and Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT), which provides striking and accurate 3-dimensional images, help dentists and doctors diagnose many types of conditions and provide patients with the best treatment options.

“We have to keep up with how rapidly radiology is growing as far as technological advances,” Benavides said. “For example, when I started my radiology residency

program, Cone Beam CT was not that popular. We were using conventional tomography, which was much more timeconsuming. Now, Cone Beam CT is pretty much the standard of care for many dental applications. Artificial intelligence, dental magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and stationary intraoral tomosynthesis are part of the near future in dental imaging.”

In the process of staying at the forefront of her profession, Benavides has taken on several national leadership roles. She is a Diplomate and Past-President of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (ABOMR) and has served as Councilor for Communications and Chair of the Research and Technology Committee of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology (AAOMR).

Benavides also played a key role in a new recommendation announced by the American Dental Association earlier this

year regarding the long-standing practice of using lead aprons and thyroid collars to shield patients during dental x-rays. She was chair of an expert panel established by the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs to take a fresh look at data related to radiation exposure. Working with ADA staff for three years, Benavides and other radiology experts from around the country reviewed the latest published research, documents and regulations. The review determined that lead aprons and thyroid collars are no longer necessary, leading the ADA to recommend the end of that practice. Benavides said the review was also important in providing up-to-date information on radiation safety protocols and best dose reduction methods to minimize radiation risks for patients and dental office staff.

The importance of her work in radiology is never lost on Benavides. She said one of the most important messages she delivers to students is the need to examine the entire radiograph or CBCT scan, not just the region of interest related to the reason for taking it. A scan may have been ordered to examine the bone prior to a dental implant, but the images could reveal even more important information about, for example, soft tissue calcifications and benign and malignant lesions in the head and neck area.

She often shares the story of a particular patient she examined. She noticed asymmetry of the airway on his CBCT scan and recommended referral to an otorhinolaryngologist. The specialist discovered a tumor pressing against the airway and that the patient was suffering from Stage 2 papillary thyroid carcinoma. “The patient was able to receive treatment, but if it weren’t for the scan, it would have been too late by the time they discovered the tumor,” Benavides said. “That is why we teach students a very systematic approach to reviewing not only Cone Beam CT scans, but also intraoral and panoramic radiographs. We want them to have a mental checklist so that they always look at everything.”

“Your interpretation can be so impactful on a patient’s life. That patient with the carcinoma later sent me a thank-you card that I still have. It is a reminder of why I do what I do. It is so rewarding.”

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Faculty Notes

Members of the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) in March elected faculty member Dr. Nisha D’Silva as vice-president of the national organization. She assumed the leadership position for 2024-25 at the conclusion of AADOCR’s 53rd annual meeting held in New Orleans. Under the IADR succession procedure, D’Silva will move to presidentelect next year and serve as president in 2026-27. With 3,000 members, AADOCR is the leading U.S. professional community for multidisciplinary scientists who advance dental, oral, and craniofacial research contributing to overall health. D’Silva is the Donald A. Kerr Endowed Collegiate Professor of Oral Pathology at the dental school, as well as professor of pathology at the U-M Medical School and a member of U-M’s Rogel Comprehensive Cancer Center. In April, D’Silva gained a second significant honor when she was named a 2023 fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), along with another dental school faculty member, Dr. Margherita Fontana. The two were among 12 University of Michigan faculty and staff in the 2023 AAAS cohort, which includes about 500 scientists, engineers, and innovators who were chosen for their scientifically and socially distinguished achievements. AAAS cited D’Silva’s contributions to the field of head-and-neck cancer, especially on biomarkers and molecular mechanisms of tumor progression and treatment resistance. Fontana is the Clifford Nelson Endowed Professor and director of the dental school’s Global Initiatives Program in Oral and Craniofacial Health. AAAS cited Fontana’s extensive research into childhood caries management and strategies for reducing disparities in how dental caries are recognized and treated in children in underserved regions.

Dr. Hom-Lay Wang received the 2024 Irwin D. Mandel Distinguished Mentoring Award from the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) in March at the organization’s annual meeting in New Orleans. Wang is a Collegiate Professor of Periodontology and Director of Graduate Periodontics at the dental school. He joined the school in 1989 and led the Graduate Program for 28 years. AADOCR noted that Wang has been instrumental in reshaping the curriculum to foster the development of clinical and leadership skills among students, which played a significant role in spurring intellectual rigor and advancements in research. He has mentored dozens of students, who have authored more than 400 papers and at least 40 reviews and book chapters.

More than 50 percent of the program’s alumni have transitioned into full-time faculty roles, while others have established private practices.

Dr. Nan Hatch, Chair of the Department of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, graduated in April from the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program at the Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Hatch is one of 95 ELAM fellows who join a diverse ELAM alumni community of more than 1,500 highly accomplished leaders who represent 300 medical, dental, public health and pharmacy schools around the world. ELAM’s mission is to increase the number and impact of women in senior academic leadership positions.

Faculty member Dr. Livia Tenuta received an award for her research related to children’s oral health from the International Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (IADR). The E.W. Borrow Memorial Award was presented at IADR’s annual conference in New Orleans in March. The award was established to recognize and stimulate research in oral health promotion for children, with a priority for caries prevention where fluoride in different formats is utilized. Basic research, applied clinical research and clinical investigation are considered in presenting the award. Tenuta is an Associate Professor at the Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics. Her research interests and the focus of more than 90 peer-reviewed articles include the mechanism of action of different methods of fluoride use in caries prevention, and the impact of dietary sugars on the dental biofilm cariogenicity. She is currently working on new strategies to enhance the anticaries effect of fluoride and to reduce the oral health burden of hyposalivation.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has named faculty member Dr. Joshua J. Emrick as a Kavli Fellow, part of a program that brings together outstanding young scientists to discuss advances and opportunities in a broad range of scientific disciplines. Emrick, an assistant professor of dentistry in the Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences & Prosthodontics, attended the annual Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium in Irvine, California, in March. The symposium covered a wide array of topics, from astrophysics to marine biology to sensory biology. An NAS committee selects Kavli Fellows from among recipients of prestigious fellowships, awards and other honors, as well as from nominations by NAS members and other participants. Fellows learn about cutting-edge research in fields other

Dr. Livia Tenuta Dr. Joshua J. Emrick Dr. Hom-Lay Wang Dr. Nan Hatch Dr. Margherita Fontana
M Dentistry | Spring 2024 FACULTY 22
Dr. Nisha D’Silva

than their own and join a network of connections that help participants advance in their careers. With both a DDS degree and a PhD in neuroscience, Emrick leads a research lab at the School of Dentistry that is focused on exploring the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying how we experience and interact with our oral environment.

The American Academy of Periodontology installed Dr. Stephen Meraw as its president during its 109th Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, last November. Meraw, who has been an adjunct faculty member at the U-M dental school since 1999, will lead the organization that represents nearly 7,500 periodontists across the country. Meraw earned his DDS at the University of Detroit Mercy and holds two master’s degrees – in Biomedical Sciences from the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine and in Health Care Management from Harvard University. He practices in Ann Arbor.

Dr. Domenica Sweier, clinical professor of dentistry in the Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics, received a Special Appreciation Award from the Michigan Section of the Pierre Fauchard Academy during its spring meeting earlier this year. The award honors dental faculty for outstanding contributions to dentistry and service to the profession. Sweier has been involved with pre-doctoral didactic, preclinical and clinical education at the dental school since 2004 in a variety of roles as well as in graduate dental education as the assistant director of the AEGD program from 2009-13. An expert in oral healthcare for geriatric and special needs patients, she received the 2012 V.K. Volk Award from the Michigan Society of Gerontology for her contributions to the well-being of older Michigan residents. She was part of a faculty team that received the U-M Provost’s Teaching Innovation Prize for contributions to the first campus-wide Interprofessional Team-Based Learning course. She currently is the director of Predoctoral Clinical Education at the dental school, where she earned her DDS and PhD in Oral Health Sciences.

Dr. Sharmila Arjunan, a Craniofacial Orthodontics Fellows at the dental school, received the James F. Mulick Educational Scholarship for 2024 from the American Cleft Palate Association (ACPA). The scholarship award supports travel and participation in the ACPA’s annual conference as well as a one-year membership in the professional organization. Arjunan received her bachelor’s and master’s of dental surgery from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in Bengaluru, India, and holds a master’s degree in craniofacial

science/diploma in orthodontics from the University of British Columbia, Canada. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) and a Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada (FRCDC). She completes her fellowship in June and plans to continue teaching at the U-M Department of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry. The Craniofacial Orthodontics Fellowship is a 12-month, ADA-accredited, non-degree graduate program that includes clinical, didactic, research and service components. It trains orthodontists in diagnosis of growth and development, interdisciplinary treatment planning, and clinical execution of orthodontic and dentofacial orthopedic services to a large patient population who have congenital and acquired craniofacial abnormalities.

Dr. Craig Misch (DDS 1985), Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, has authored a new textbook entitled, “Horizontal and Vertical Bone Augmentation for Dental Implant Therapy,” released earlier this year by Quintessence Publishing. Misch invited renowned authorities from around the world to contribute to the book, including U-M faculty and alumni Drs. Hom-Lay Wang, William Giannoble, Lorenzo Tavelli, Rodrigo Neiva, Alberto Monje, Istvan Urban and Ole Jensen. The book explains how to perform various types of bone augmentation surgeries as well as the science and evidence to support why specific materials and methods may be preferred. Wang and Misch developed a unique classification for bone augmentation and an evidence-based decision tree for managing different clinical situations. Misch is a prosthodontist and oral and maxillofacial surgeon practicing for the last 25 years in Sarasota, Florida at Misch Implant Dentistry.

Adjunct faculty member Dr. George Mandelaris (DDS 1996), a periodontist who practices in the Chicago area, has co-edited a book, “Surgically Facilitated Orthodontic Therapy; An Interdisciplinary Approach.” Published by Springer in 2023, it is intended to guide practitioners involved in dental interdisciplinary therapy to manage complex cases. The book is written by leading experts in the field as a source for periodontists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, orthodontists and restorative clinicians. Several chapters were written by U-M faculty members, including Mandelaris, Drs. I-Ching Wang and Jeff Wang; Dr. Hom-Lay Wang is noted in the acknowledgement section. Methods for regaining space appropriation and dentoalveolar bone engineering are illustrated. Emphasis is placed on corticotomy-assisted orthodontic therapy and 3D planning in order to help practitioner achieve outcomes that were previously unrecognized.

Dr. George Mandelaris Dr. Sharmila Arjunan Dr. Craig Misch Dr. Domenica Sweier
Spring 2024 | M Dentistry 23 FACULTY
Dr. Stephen Meraw

Associate Dean Todd Ester is chair-elect of ADEA

Dr. Todd Ester, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, is the new Chair-Elect of the Board of Directors of the American Dental Education Association.

The national organization of dental schools and related programs announced new officers during its annual national convention in New Orleans in March. Members of ADEA include all 80 U.S. and Canadian dental schools, more than 800 allied and advanced dental education programs, approximately 55 corporations and about 15,000 individuals. ADEA’s focus on academic dentistry includes a wide range of research, advocacy,


faculty and leadership development, education and publications, including the peer-reviewed Journal of Dental Education.

Ester has been active in ADEA for more than 30 years, as a dental student, graduate student, faculty member and endodontist practicing in Detroit. In his nomination materials for the ADEA chair-elect position, he noted his service to the organization has included numerous committees and assignments, including on the Council of Sections and co-chair of the Diversity, Inclusion Advisory Committee. He was part of the ADEA Collaborative on Dental Education Climate Assessment; the ADEA President’s Symposium on Men of Color in the Health Professions; and the Special Committee on “New Century, New Thinking: Preparing for the Next 100 Years.” In addition, he has been a speaker and

thought leader on various topics at numerous conferences and webinars.

Ester said he looks forward to working on many issues ADEA will address in coming years, including: Wellness and belonging for students, faculty and staff; sustainability of dental, advanced education and allied programs; leadership development and academic enrichment for faculty, students and staff; more diverse, equitable and inclusive communities for all members; licensure reform and portability for graduates, including allied health professionals; and technology and innovation related to artificial intelligence, virtual learning and telehealth.

In addition to his role as Associate Dean at the dental school, he holds an appointment as Clinical Associate Professor of Cariology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics.

McNamara to receive Ross Award from the ADA

Professor Emeritus Dr. James McNamara will be honored with the prestigious Norton M. Ross Award for Excellence in Clinical Research from the American Dental Association at its annual session in October.

McNamara is Professor Emeritus of Dentistry in the Department of Orthodontic and Pediatric Dentistry; Professor Emeritus of Cell and Developmental Biology in the U-M Medical School; and Research Professor Emeritus, Center for Human Growth and Development, an interdisciplinary research unit at U-M.

Presented annually since 1991, the Ross Award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions in clinical investigations that have advanced the diagnosis, treatment or prevention of craniofacial, oral or dental diseases, as well as outstanding research endeavors in other areas. McNamara is only the second orthodontist to receive the ADA award in the 32 years since its inception. His selection was announced last year as the 2023 Ross Award, but scheduling conflicts did not allow it to be presented until later this year at the ADA’s SmileCon annual conference, set for Oct. 17-19, 2024, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Based on his 55-year career combining academics and private practice, McNamara is being recognized for his research on orthodontics and craniofacial development. Long considered an innovator in orthodontic diagnosis and treatment, McNamara’s

research has focused on the clinical modification of the growth of the face and jaws. He has more than 340 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has written, edited or contributed to 83 books, including his textbook “Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics,” which is used around the world. He also has given lectures or taught courses in 48 countries.

McNamara has received numerous awards and honors, including the Lifetime Achievement Award for Orthodontic Research from the American Association of Orthodontics in 2021. In 2008, the American Board of Orthodontics presented him with the Albert H. Ketcham Memorial Award, generally considered the most prestigious award in orthodontics worldwide.

The Ross Award is one of the premier awards presented by the ADA, the nation’s largest dental association with nearly 160,000 members. Founded in 1959 to support the dental profession and the advancement of public health, the organization addresses crucial issues such as access to care and the regulations that surround the practice of dentistry.

24 M Dentistry | Spring 2024 FACULTY

RESEARCH Research Day Sets Another Poster Record

For the second year in a row, a record number of research posters covered a wide-range of scientific research by students, postdoctoral trainees, staff and faculty at the annual Research Day held by the School of Dentistry on Feb. 15. The 160 posters on display at the Michigan League provided insight into basic and translational science in areas such as cancer biology, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and skeletal biology, while also exploring behavioral science related to public health or educational methods.

The keynote address this year was delivered at the dental school by Dr. Rena D’Souza, Director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), part of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. She shared some of the guiding principles of NIH leadership, including the overarching tenet that the institutes’ work is not complete by only breaking new ground in science. The ultimate goal, she said, must be to help all people live long and healthy lives, encompassed by the expression, “Turning discovery into health.” Patients must be partners in research and discovery, while income, age, race, ethnicity, geographic location and disability should not be barriers to participating in, or benefiting from, research advances.

Top award recipients include:

• Sindhu Nagammai Kannappan, a thirdyear dental student, received the SCADA Award (Student Competition for Advancing Dental Research and its Application) for her research, “A Systematic Review of the Development of Non-Carious Cervical Lesions Due to Occlusal Factors.” Faculty mentor: Geoff Gerstner. The SCADA award is sponsored by the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) and Dentsply Sirona, a dental supply company. Kannappan will represent the school and present her research at the annual meeting and exhibition of the AADOCR in New York, N.Y., in March 2025.

• Lauren Okafor, a third-year dental student, received the AADOCR Travel Award

Above: Keynote speaker Dr. Rena D’Souza, Director of NIDCR, tours the afternoon poster session with Dean Jacques Nör (right) and Vesa Kaartinen, Associate Dean for Research.

for attending the 2024 IADR/AADOCR annual meeting and exhibition in New Orleans in March, where they will present their research: “Cis/Non-Cis Members of the LGBTQ+ Community and Oral Health Care.” Faculty mentor: Marita Inglehart.

Category 1: Clinical Research, Public Health, Behavioral and Educational Research

• 1st Place among DDS, Hygiene, Masters and Undergrad students – Lauren Okafor, third-year dental student. Research Title: “Cis/Non-Cis Members of the LGBTQ+ Community and Oral Health Care.” Faculty mentor: Marita Inglehart

• 1st Place among PhD Students (DDS/ PhD), Postdoctoral Trainees and Staff –Eduardo Caleme, Postdoc. Research Title: “Multimodal Machine Learning Models for Diagnosing and Predicting Progression of Tmporomandibular Degenerative Joint Disease.” Faculty mentor: Lucia Cevidanes

Spring 2024 | M Dentistry 25 RESEARCH
Lauren Okafor Sindhu Nagammai Kannappan

Category 2: Basic Science Research and Translational Science

• 1st Place among DDS, Hygiene, Masters and Undergrad students – Danielle DeCesaris, a Master of Public Health student. Research Title: “Effect of dextranase on nanoparticle penetration into exopolysaccharide-rich Streptococcus mutans biofilms.” Faculty mentor: Livia Tenuta

• 1st Place (Tie) among PhD Students (DDS/ PhD) and Postdoctoral Trainees and Staff: Igor Paulino Mendes Soares, a visiting scholar at the dental school. Research Title: “Hesperetin-laden composite fibrous scaffolds for modulating dentinogenesis and the inflammatory response in vital pulp therapy.” Faculty mentor: Marco Bottino Also 1st place: Hiroki Ueharu, a Postdoc. Research Title: “Augmentation of BMP signaling in cranial NCCs develops ectopic cartilage in the face through elevated Gata6.” Faculty mentor: Yuji Mishina

Dental Hygiene Awards

• 1st Place Original Research Award – Rita Ann Hannosh and Brittney Marie Nasir, fourth-year Dental Hygiene students. Research Title: “Stress Management Techniques for Dental Hygiene Students.” Faculty mentor: Iwonka Eagle

Other Research Day Awards

• The Janice E. Berry Prize for Excellence in Research was presented to Dr. Renan Dal Fabbro, a postdoctoral research fellow in the lab of Dr. Marco Bottino. The family of Berry, a longtime U-M and dental school staff member who died in 2016, created the $1,000 award, also known as Jan’s Prize, to recognize a full-time researcher who may be currently experiencing a financial hardship.

• Dr. Lucia Cevidanes, the Drs. Thomas M. and Doris Graber Endowed Professor of Dentistry in the Department of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, received the Distinguished Faculty Mentoring Award. It recognizes faculty who consistently impart their research knowledge and experience with students and scholars in areas of clinical, basic science and-or translational research.

• Sywe-Ren “Harrison” Chang, a research lab specialist for Dr. Brian

Clarkson, professor emeritus in the CRSE department, received the Research Staff Recognition Award. Clarkson’s nomination noted they have worked together for 30 years, during which time Chang managed the lab, ensured the progress of research for approximately $12 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health and other sources, and supervised gradate and dental students working in the lab.

A complete list of the 2024 Research Day Awards is posted on the Research section of the school website at https://dent.umich.edu/ research.


>$50,000 from September 1, 2023, to March 31, 2024


Alexandre Dasilva (PI), David Kohn (PI), Yuji Mishina (PI) with Peng Li, Elizabeth Hatfield, Theodora Danciu, Lucia Cevidanes, Sharon Aronovich, Vicki Ellingrod, Ivo Dinov, Daniel Clauw:

R34 DE03363001, NIH, $312,000. Michigan

Collaborative Hub for TMD Patient-Centric Research (MICH T PCR)

Stephanie Munz (PI), Richard Hennig Jr.: UH3 Atrium Health/NIH, $426,374.

Reducing Risk for Infective Endocarditis (IE): A Randomized Trial of a Professional Scaling and Oral Hygiene Instruction Intervention to Reduce Toothbrushing-Associated Bacteremia

Thomas Wang (PI), Steven Chinn (PI), Yu Lei (PI): U01, NIH, $3,383,510. Advancing On-Slide and Optical Biopsy Tools to Detect High-Risk Oral Premalignancy


Colonya Calhoun, (PI), Brent Ward (PI), Iwonka Eagle: Feno, $79,976. Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Feno’s FMET Plaque Removal

Dennis Fasbinder (PI): Ivoclar Vivadent AG, $210,000. Clinical Evaluation of Full Contour Zirconia Chairside CAD/CAM Crowns

Howard Hamerink (PI), Mark Fitzgerald (PI): Michigan Dental Foundation, $50,000. Victors for Veterans (2023-26)

Purnima Kumar (PI), Sandra Stuhr: Delta Dental Plan of Michigan, $272,136. Hematogeneous spread of oral bacteria

Danielle Rulli (Co-I): Delta Dental Foundation, $85,505. Preparing the Behavioral Health Workforce to Advance Oral Health

Muhammad Saleh (PI), Hom-Lay Wang, Junying Li: BioHorizons, $82,584. Evaluation of Implant Placement in the Esthetic Zone with Simultaneous Minimally Invasive Guided Bone Regeneration: A Prospective Case Series Study

Muhammad Saleh (PI), Sandra Stuhr: Delta Dental Foundation, $160,012. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) for early diagnosis of Periodontal diseases

M Dentistry | Spring 2024 RESEARCH 26
Watch Related Video https://myumi.ch/pkMge
Dr. Lucia Cevidanes Dr. Renan Dal Fabbro Harrison Chang

Study Documents Effective Treatment for Early Childhood Tooth Decay

A major clinical trial led by faculty member Dr. Margherita Fontana has shown that silver diamine fluoride (SDF) is effective in stopping tooth decay when applied to the teeth of young children.

Fontana led a team of researchers in the multi-year study of whether the topical liquid is effective in stopping cavities for children ages 1 to 5 with severe tooth decay. The interim results, published in the journal Pediatric Dentistry in March, found that SDF was effective in 54 percent of children treated with the solution, while caries were arrested in only 21 percent of children treated with a placebo.

The study was designed to provide the necessary data for a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) claim of caries arrest; if successful, it would be an important step that could make SDF more widely available in the U.S. for treating tooth decay in young children. In this country it is cleared by the FDA only for treating dental sensitivity, but it has been used off label in the U.S. to help manage caries and it has been approved for that purpose in other countries for decades. Silver in SDF kills cavity-causing microbes while fluoride helps rebuild and strengthen teeth. It is particularly effective in the treatment of young children with severe disease because it can be easily and painlessly swabbed onto cavities.

“Current treatments for severe early childhood caries rely on restoration and tooth extraction, which can involve general anesthesia,” said Fontana. “These interventions are expensive, cavities often return, and anesthesia can have long-term effects on a developing brain. We didn't really have any other options until recently. SDF is a game changer.”

A School of Dentistry faculty member applies SDF to a boy’s cavities as part of the clinical trial.

The study was funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Fontana praised the collaboration of the several entities involved in the research. The team of researchers led by Fontana included faculty members, dentists, dental hygienists, staff, students and data analysts at the U-M School of Dentistry, New York University, the University of Iowa and the University of Indiana. At the U-M dental school, team members were Emily Yanca, Clinical Research Project Manager; Dr. Carlos González-Cabezas, the Richard Christiansen Collegiate Professor of Dentistry and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; faculty members Drs. Livia Tenuta, Marcia Campos, Elisabeta Karl and James Boynton; cariology lab manager Susan Flannagan; dental hygienists Maimoonah Riaz, Elizabeth Pitts, Taylor Cezon, Kristin Miller and Meredith McEachern; and research assistants Andrew Chen, Chris Oshana and Shelby Yesney.

Fontana is the Clifford Nelson Endowed Professor of Dentistry in the Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics. She is recognized internationally as a leading scientist in the field of cariology, the study of tooth decay and how cavities develop and can be controlled, and has an extensive clinical research background in childhood caries management.

OHS-PhD program to celebrate 30 years in October

On Thursday and Friday, October 3-4, 2024, the School of Dentistry will host a celebration marking 30 years of its Oral Health Sciences PhD program. It was started in 1994 to establish future leaders in academic research who would specialize in craniofacial biology and oral health sciences. In the three decades since members of the first cohort graduated in 1999, the program has produced 52 graduates, with more than half now serving as faculty members and two becoming deans, including Dr. Jacques Nör, the current U-M dental school dean.

The program’s impact extends beyond individual careers, shaping the landscape of oral health research and education globally. The October anniversary event will feature panels with current students and program alumni, talks from the current leaders of the program, elevator-pitch-like presentations from alumni about their current work in the field, and a Friday night reception. Check the event website for more details at https://myumi.ch/7PX9z

27 Spring 2024 | M Dentistry RESEARCH

DENTAL HYGIENE Hygiene Program Expands Its Rotation Locations

The expansion of rotations allowing fourthyear Dental Hygiene students to treat patients outside their usual dental school clinics is receiving high marks from faculty and students alike.

In January, students began providing treatment during a four-day rotation at the Family Health Center in Kalamazoo. It is the first rotation to require DH students to stay for several days at a location away from the dental school, similar to the longstanding external rotation program that sends dental students to clinics around Michigan.

Another new DH rotation started this spring with students assisting in the Oral Surgery section of the dental school, an initiative allowing students to use their skills to assist surgeons with patient preparation and aftercare.

In the winter semester this academic year, DH students began another new rotation, in the school’s Pediatric Dentistry graduate program. It gives them opportunities for performing dental care for children since the regular dental school clinics draw almost entirely adult patients.

DH faculty member Darlene Jones, a clinical lecturer, coordinated implementation of the three new rotation programs as a way to broaden the student experience. Students now have access to more patients with a wider variety of dental needs, which helps students meet their curriculum requirements and prepare for what they will experience after graduation.

Jones notes that the Kalamazoo clinic’s pace is faster, with students often treating up to eight patients a day, compared to one or two per day at the dental school. The clinic’s patient base also includes a high percentage of underserved patients who often have extensive treatment needs. In addition, the location is home to patients with broad multi-cultural backgrounds, often requiring, for example, that students learn how to work through translators for patients who don’t speak English.

Brittney Nasir, president of the DH Class of 2024 that graduated in May, was assigned to the Kalamazoo clinic with two classmates in March. “I gained a profound understanding of preventive care and community outreach initiatives in promoting oral health, particularly in underserved populations,” Nasir said. “It was truly insightful to witness the significance of effective patient communication in ensuring they understand necessary treatments and how to improve their oral health. These rotations give us real-world experiences that enhance our clinical competence and better equip us for varied career paths in dental hygiene.”

The three new rotations join several that have already been in existence, some for a decade or more. The existing programs are often one- or two-day assignments that are mixed into each student’s calendar during their final year. All except the new Kalamazoo rotation are close enough to the dental school that students drive to and from the locations

Above: DH students (from left) Brittney Nasir, Emily Honjas and Alison Honjas treat patients in the center of the dental clinic at the Family Health Center earlier this year as part of the DH program’s new external rotation in Kalamazoo.

on the same day. The existing external rotations are Hope Clinic in Ypsilanti; VINA Community Dental Center in Brighton; Center for Family Health in Jackson; and the Smiles For a Lifetime Program, a Public Dental Prevention Program known as P.A. 161, that sends students to Head Start and other school locations to treat young children. Existing rotations within the dental school are the Integrated Special Care Clinic, the Graduate Periodontics Clinic and the Graduate Orthodontics Clinic.

Jones said students have given the new rotations – as well as the previously established ones – positive reviews because of the variety it brings to their education. “The students look forward to these rotations,” she said. “They love it. It is busy. It is fast. You are not bored. Each patient is something unique and different.”

She adds: “I think our students are going to be much more employable and much more well-rounded because of their rotation experience. I also think these rotations will attract future students to our program because we offer something that other programs don’t. We have a clear differential.”

28 M Dentistry | Spring 2024 DENTAL HYGIENE

Jennifer Cullen Appointed Director of Dental Hygiene

School of Dentistry dental hygiene faculty member Jennifer Cullen has been appointed director of the school’s Dental Hygiene Division.

Dr. Purnima Kumar, chair of the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, which oversees the division, announced the appointment in January, ending a national search.

Since 2016, Cullen has served as Director of the Dental Hygiene Degree Completion Program and a clinical lecturer. She leads the online program’s curriculum management, faculty development, student support, budget, marketing, recruitment and admissions. She also helped lead the development of a new online, accelerated pathway for dental hygienists who have earned their associate degrees and wish to streamline earning both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in dental hygiene. In her new position, she will also hold the faculty rank of Clinical Assistant Professor.

“With over 20 years in the dental hygiene profession, over a decade of experience in online education, and a passion for facilitating access to both healthcare and education, Jennifer brings unique strengths, skills, and perspectives to her leadership role,” Kumar said in announcing the appointment. “The dental hygiene program has a long and rich history of graduating future-ready hygienists and graduate students, and I am excited to see Jennifer’s vision for its future.”

Cullen graduated from Ferris State University’s Dental Hygiene Program in 1998 and completed her BSDH in 2012 through the U-M dental school’s Degree Completion E-Learning Program. She continued her education with a master’s degree in Public Health, with a certificate in Health Education and Promotion, from Benedictine University in 2015.

She completed a public health internship in 2015 at the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center, where she helped create oral health and dementia education initiatives for multidisciplinary providers and their patients with memory loss. During her time with Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw’s Blueprint

“ Dental hygiene is poised for great professional growth in helping improve the health of patients and the public in areas such as multidisciplinary care, dental technologies, advanced research and equitable care.”

for Aging program in 2016, she was heavily involved in the Washtenaw County “60+ Survey” and in advancing county-wide elder justice initiatives.

Cullen joined the U-M DH program in 2012 as an adjunct clinical lecturer, moving to clinical lecturer in 2016 when she was named director of the Degree Completion Program. Over the course of her career she has taught and mentored undergraduate and graduate students in various learning environments, including clinical, didactic, online and in diverse communities. She has managed teams of faculty and staff in a range of activities related to the sustained

management and evaluation of an academic program. As an advocate of undergraduate and graduate student research, she has served as a faculty advisor and thesis chair on numerous projects that have been published and-or received school and national awards.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity to help shape the future of dental hygiene for both the School of Dentistry and the profession in general,” Cullen said. “Dental hygiene is poised for great professional growth in helping improve the health of patients and the public in areas such as multidisciplinary care, dental technologies, advanced research and equitable care. An organization’s success is not achieved by one person, but by a team of faculty, staff and students using equitable collaborative practices to inform program decisions and empower others by instilling a sense of shared purpose and belonging.”

Kumar thanked the search committee, led by chair Dr. Phil Richards, a DDS faculty member, as well as DH faculty members Darlene Jones and Martha McComas who served as the DH division’s Interim Director and Interim Assistant Director, respectively, during the search. The director position opened in 2022 when former director Janet Kinney returned to her faculty position after serving as director for 10 years.

Founded in 1921, the Dental Hygiene division has been a part of the School of Dentistry for more than a century, making it one of the oldest in the country with the longest-standing DH graduate program. The division offers an entry-level bachelor’s degree, degree completion bachelor’s degree and master of science degree, with both on-campus and online options in the degree completion and graduate programs. The division provides clinical patient care at the undergraduate and graduate levels, both at the university level and in community-based dental programs. A wide range of educational experiences prepare students for careers as a clinician or for positions in public health, research, education and administration. The school engages students in interdisciplinary education, clinical rotations, dental specialty clinics and community service to broaden their scope of learning.

29 Spring 2024 | M Dentistry DENTAL HYGIENE

New Leadership Roles Announced in Dental Hygiene

Two Dental Hygiene faculty members have been appointed to leadership roles within the division: Iwonka Eagle will be the new Director of the Dental Hygiene Graduate Program, and Stefanie VanDuine has been named Director of the Dental Hygiene Degree Completion Program. The appointments were announced by Jennifer Cullen, Director of the Dental Hygiene Division within the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, both effective July 1, 2024.

Eagle, recently promoted to Clinical Associate Professor effective Sept. 1, will direct both options for earning the MSDH degree – the on-campus version that includes a blend of classes online and on campus, and the fully online format. She brings experience in all aspects of DH education as well as state and national leadership in MDHA and ADEA where she serves as chair on several committees and special interest groups (SIG).

Eagle joined the dental school in 2015 as an Adjunct Clinical Instructor. She holds both a BSDH (2004) and MSDH (2014) from the U-M DH program, as well as a bachelor’s degree in human biology from Michigan State University (2000). She previously worked in research at the Karmanos Cancer Center, before switching her career track to dental hygiene. In between her DH degrees she worked in clinical private practice. Since joining the dental school’s faculty, she has taught across the division of dental hygiene in the undergraduate, degree completion and MSDH programs. She is the Fundamentals of Periodontics course director for D1 dental students. Eagle is active in educational and clinical research and has mentored many undergraduate and graduate students as both faculty advisor and thesis chair, and she currently manages the BSDH research thread.

VanDuine, a Clinical Instructor, will direct both the on-campus and the new AS-MS in DH online branches of the Degree Completion Program. She brings experience in curriculum and course development, has been a peer reviewer of dental and dental hygiene courses, and served on curriculum committees across both dental and dental hygiene programs. She has extensive experience in teaching courses related to dental hygiene education in the Dental Hygiene Degree Completion and MSDH programs. She will lead the education and matriculation of students throughout the degree completion program, while closely managing the curriculum and digital course development according to online-learning best practices. She also will contribute to admissions and enrollment strategies, and will continue her current teaching responsibilities.

VanDuine holds both BSDH (2010) and MSDH (2014) degrees from the U-M DH program. She joined the program as an Adjunct Clinical Lecturer in 2014 and was promoted to Clinical Lecturer in 2017. She has served as course director in several didactic courses and has taught in various clinical settings throughout the dental school. She received the Dental Hygiene Senior Class Faculty Award in 2017 and 2023. She supervised the research thread in the BSDH program from 2017-23. A particular research and educational interest, which VanDuine has presented on nationally, is the oral health of those with bleeding disorders and other systemic health conditions.

The graduate program was previously directed by Danielle Rulli, who has accepted a faculty position at the dental school at Ohio State University. VanDuine takes over the previous role of Cullen, who was promoted to DH Director in January.

Left: Jennifer Cullen, Director of the Dental Hygiene Division, uses a cell phone to capture a group photo of smiling students who participated in the 2024 DH White Coat Ceremony in May in Kellogg Auditorium. Upper-level students assist first-year DH students into their clinic coats during the ceremony, which emphasizes the high standards of the profession. Upper-level students are also celebrated by receiving roses as they mark the halfway point of their time in the program.

M Dentistry | Spring 2024 30 DENTAL HYGIENE
Stefanie VanDuine Iwonka Eagle

STUDENTS Student Engages in the Challenge of Improving Health Equity Issues

Eunji Ko is just starting her second year as a DDS student at the School of Dentistry, but already she is investigating ways to make an impact on the important societal issue of health equity.

A project Ko created to address oral health disparities among low-income children in Michigan was earlier this year named one of 10 finalists in the Michigan Health Equity Challenge, a program administered by the U-M School of Public Health. Finalists received $2,000 and training and mentoring support for implementing their projects.

Ko collaborated with a community-based program, Smiles On Wheels, in Jackson, Michigan, to determine how she could contribute to its mission of improving oral healthcare of children across the state. The non-profit is a mobile hygiene program,

operating under the state’s Public Act 161, that sends Registered Dental Hygienists into schools to treat children in grades K-12. Working in partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the program provides dental cleanings, dental assessments, fluoride treatments, dental sealants and oral health education. It has served more than 30,000 children at 150 schools across Michigan.

Ko investigated how to improve communication and education about the importance of good oral healthcare among providers like Smiles On Wheels, schools and parents. Among the ideas she is exploring is developing a report card of sorts that Smiles On Wheels hygienists could provide to parents for their children’s oral health status. It would relay the condition of the child’s teeth and point parents toward dental providers if the child has extensive or specialized treatment needs beyond what the mobile hygienists can provide.

To enhance the written aspects of the report card, Ko hoped the grant could pay for an

Generating International Smiles

intra-oral camera so that photographs of the child’s teeth could be attached to the report card as a way to reinforce the importance of good oral healthcare for the child.

“A lot of the parents don’t recognize how important oral health is,” Ko said. “Part of it is because they have so much on their plate to worry about. And often they themselves don’t receive dental care. It’s a cycle: If the parents don’t receive it, the children don’t receive it. So the idea is: OK, we need something that can show them, a visual factor, about the child’s teeth. Then put instructions for how the children could receive additional care. We’re just trying to make communication and education more efficient.”

Ko said she plans to continue developing her ideas for Smiles On Wheels despite learning in April that her project was not chosen for one of two $50,000 grants from among the 10 finalists. The $50,000 grants are used to help the two winning projects implement their plans.

Guatemala is one of several countries that dental students travel to as part of the school’s Global Initiatives in Oral and Craniofacial Health program. In February, seven students traveled to the town of Chichicastenango to provide dental care to local residents at a clinic founded in 2013 by dental school alumnus Dr. Steve Niergarth (DDS 1985) of Traverse City, who led the trip this year. Left: Niergarth oversees a procedure by D3 Clayton Ford (middle) with assistance from D4 Spencer Wills. Right: D3 Sarah Carter poses with some of the children treated at the clinic.

Spring 2024 | M Dentistry 31 STUDENTS

Class of 2024 Graduation

Legacy Graduates

DDS parents who are alumni are invited to assist with the hooding of their children during commencement. This year, three of the five students with alumni parents have both their mother and father as alumni, including Drs. Donna and Peter Rick (above), who hood their son Keon. Only five legacy graduates is low compared to recent years, while the percentage with both parents as alumni is unusually high.

• Kate Beauchamp – Dr. Barry Beauchamp (DDS 1988)

• Matthew Knudsen – Drs. Eric (DDS 1995) and Elizabeth (DDS 1996) Knudsen

• Winston Mallory – Dr. Marc Mallory (DDS 1986)

• Keon Rick – Drs. Peter (DDS 1989) and Donna Rick (BSDH 1984, DDS 1989)

• Pria Shoha – Drs. Louis (DDS 1987) and Sucheta (DDS 1988) Shoha 1 2

32 M Dentistry | Spring 2024 STUDENTS

1. Dean Jacques Nör congratulates Amanda Sotillo, who received a master’s degree in prosthodontics.

2. DDS graduate Bradley Harrison shares some love from the stage with family members in the audience.

3. DDS grads (from left) Leo Merle, Vanessa Mitchell, Robert Mora and

Rebecca Mulder recite The Dentist’s Pledge near the end of the ceremony at Hill Auditorium.

4. DDS graduate August Pearson stops on her way across the stage to hug faculty member Dr. Marcia Campos, who was selected by the senior class for its teaching award.

5. Dental Hygiene graduate Jennenn West does a little dance with a big smile as she crosses the stage.

6. Jylian Underwood, who graduated with a Master of Science in Oral Health Science degree, is joined by her parents and sisters outside Hill Auditorium after the ceremony. 3 4

33 Spring 2024 | M Dentistry STUDENTS 6 5 Watch Related Video https://myumi.ch/2365D

Alumni Profile

Dr. Douglas Peebles – The long and winding road to gratitude

There are lots of key moments and turning points in a person’s career track, some obvious and others less so. With benefit of the view looking back from retirement, Dr. Douglas Peebles often thinks about the forks in the road that he encountered and navigated successfully on his way to a very rewarding career in dentistry.

The Michigan native lives in Lexington, Kentucky, after his start in general dentistry took him on a path that led to advanced training and expertise in implant dentistry. Retired since 2017, he says he has a greater understanding of the importance of his graduation from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in 1978 and how it provided the solid foundation for the rest of his career.

That wasn’t always the case, particularly when he was in the middle of dental school trying to keep up with the heavy academic load in an era when faculty had a reputation for harsh critiques of student work. Having earned his undergraduate degree

at Kalamazoo College, Peebles was accustomed to small classes, sometimes with as few as a dozen students in a class. Now he was trying to keep up with 150 classmates, which at times seemed like chaos. He thought he was pushing himself hard, but his grades were less than stellar.

By the end of his sophomore year, he was stressed to the point of considering that he might not be cut out for dentistry. He met with the school’s academic counselor and shared that he was thinking about dropping out. The counselor retrieved Peebles’ Kalamazoo College transcript, browsed the range of grades and offered, “Well, maybe that’s the best we can expect of you.”

That might sound like the wrong thing to say to a struggling student, but it was the right thing for Doug Peebles. He has always considered himself “a bit of a rebel” and the tough-love response from the counselor proved effective. “It really lit a fire under me,” he recalls. “I said to myself: I’m gonna show him.”

“What I eventually realized was that everyone is going to fail some part of the training,” he said. “The idea was we had to learn to do it properly and correctly and that we would get another chance. I developed a belief that everything was going to be OK. I learned to go back after failing something and immediately work on it until I got it right.”

His conversation with the counselor was one of those forks in the road. He could have bailed out of dental school, but instead he refocused his considerable intellect and built on the earlier successes he had achieved in high school and college.

The son of a General Motors engineer, Peebles had developed excellent hand skills through his interest in building model cars, airplanes and rockets as a kid growing up in Flint and Grand Blanc. In high school, he was active in public speaking through the Junior Achievement program and earned one of its college scholarships. At Kalamazoo, he majored in chemistry and took advantage

M Dentistry | Spring 2024 34 ALUMNI

of its Junior Abroad program, living in Hannover, Germany, for six months and traveling around Europe. For his senior independent study project, Peebles worked at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, at a time when dental implant research was in its early stages. That experience was an excellent set-up for research opportunities that would come at the dental school and later as his dentistry career evolved.

With those earlier impressive successes as a track record, and his newfound commitment, the last two years of Peebles’ dental school went well. Once his DDS degree was in-hand in the spring of 1978, Peebles was facing another fork in the road: What to do next? He considered moving to Australia to practice with some colleagues he had met, but that didn’t work out for various reasons. He also weighed the benefits of going to law school. Then the kindness of a classmate intervened.

The classmate, Rick Scavo, was working as a dentist at a community clinic in Pontiac, Michigan. When Scavo was accepted into orthodontics graduate school, he reached out to alert Peebles about the job opening in Pontiac. Peebles applied and became “Doctor 81” on the staffing list at the Medicare clinic. “It showed me what I didn’t want to do,” he says, but it was a start and provided his first paydays as a dentist. Peebles soon accepted a position as an associate dentist in Dearborn with Dr. Harold Simon, a denture specialist who needed a general dentist at his practice. Peebles learned a lot about fabricating dentures and their limitations for many patients. Eventually, he purchased Simon’s practice and, with no business experience, learned that growing a practice was exhausting, but he stayed with it.

A couple of years into it, while looking for Continuing Education courses, he discovered information about the Midwest Implant Institute (MII) in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1980, the institute trained dentists and their staff members in the then newly-developing techniques of implants. Peebles was skeptical of the fledgling implant research, but he also was well-versed in the shortcomings of traditional dentures, so he attended a session at MII. He liked what he learned and began taking more courses, receiving training in many areas at the forefront of implant dentistry, such as I.V. sedation, surgical grafting techniques and temporomandibular joint disorders, among others. This was more than a weekend CE course; MII would bring in 20-30 dentists at a time for an extended period. It was intensive training with long days that involved studying test cases and literature, assisting in surgery, being graded and eventually leading surgery on each dentist’s own patients. Peebles embraced the new methods and became an instructor at MII, maintaining ties with it for more than 25 years and significantly changing the trajectory of his career. “Basically, we were constantly learning and passing it on to others,” he said. He helped establish a group of MII Fellows who put together an annual symposium that drew participants from around the world. He was still offering general dentistry to his patients in Dearborn, but he was so committed to the benefits of implants that he re-named his practice the Michigan Implant Institute, a slight variation of the original MII.

In 1994, after years of practicing and teaching implant dentistry, another fork in the road presented itself when Peebles decided that earning a graduate degree in periodontics would enhance his teaching and career options. He was accepted into the 3-year perio program at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. He sold his Dearborn practice and moved south to Bluegrass territory. The UK program refined his understanding of various periodontic procedures and, as an older non-traditional grad student, he enjoyed sharing his knowledge with other students. However, he withdrew from the program after two years when he realized that what he liked most was taking a patient from start to finish, not just the implant surgery that is typically done by a periodontist, but also fabricating the final prosthetic components.

After leaving the perio grad program, Peebles worked as an implantologist in the Lexington area at a couple of practices, finishing his career at the Audubon Dental and Implant Center from 2004 until his retirement in 2017. “Being able to take patients from beginning to end was a great advantage,” he said. “That was a big selling point for people. It’s hard enough meeting one doctor, but if you then have to meet another to finish the process, that is stressful and not as efficient.”

Peebles’ career, both in Michigan and Kentucky, also included occasional periods of freelance dentistry when, for example, a dentist at another practice would need to take

35 Spring 2024 | M Dentistry ALUMNI
Left: Doug Peebles poses in front of an operatory bearing his name during the open house at the dental school in 2022 that accompanied the ribbon-cutting celebrating the completion of the major Blue Renew renovation project.
Right: Doug Peebles with his Piper Dakota plane in 2023 during a trip to the Toledo Zoo.

medical leave. At one point he filled in for several months for a dentist in Traverse City, Michigan, which was a long commute north from Dearborn, made easier because Peebles had completed his pilot’s license and owned an airplane. That was also his faster method for most of his trips to MII in Columbus over the years. In Kentucky, on weekends in the spring and fall for about six years, he used his pilot skills in a program that took forest rangers aloft to watch for forest fires as he flew “low and slow over the mountains.”

These days, from the hindsight of retirement, Peebles is well-stocked with memories and gratitude for his dental career and the lifestyle it allowed him to create. He lives with his wife Linda in Lexington and keeps busy with traveling, various volunteer activities and his reputation as a fix-anything handyman, occasionally taking his adult step-children and grandchildren on flights over the Kentucky countryside.

“It’s all beyond what I would have ever expected, I can tell you that,” he says. “It’s been tremendously satisfying. I took on the challenges and it put me in a very good

situation. I was able to retire with a nice lifestyle. I’m very thankful for my health and my skills and the fact that I was able to help an awful lot of patients.”

A few years ago, as the dental school’s Blue Renew renovation was underway, Peebles returned to Ann Arbor to tour the building and learn about the project. He was impressed and decided to make a financial gift as part of the school’s operatory-naming program. In 2022, when the school held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house at the completion of Blue Renew, Peebles was again on hand to celebrate and see the operatory bearing his name. He was particularly moved by the school’s innovative new Integrated Special Care Clinic that focuses on the unique needs of special needs patients. Among its specialized features, the clinic has a customized, tilting wheelchair lift so there is no need to transfer the patient to a dental chair. Radiology equipment is integrated into the space so that patients don’t need to leave the comfort of the clinic’s quiet space to use the radiology equipment that other nearby clinics share. It inspired him to make

an additional financial gift – as lead donor for a new fund supporting operations of the special care clinic.

“When I went back and saw the dental school being redone, I was overwhelmed and I actually started crying. I didn’t expect that,” he said. “I was overcome by the fact that I had been so blessed to be a part of this wonderful university. When I was a student, I didn’t really appreciate the fact that I was at the best dental school in the country, and second in the world. I am so thankful that I got my training there and I am so thankful that I am able to give back because of things that I learned there and applied later with implantology.”

Peebles says he donates to a variety of causes. “In retirement, I couldn’t be more blessed. I realize that we only go around once in life, so I feel compelled to give back in a number of ways. My favorite is the opportunity to give back to the University of Michigan. I know this is only a small portion of all the benefits I have received. I would strongly encourage other alumni to take this opportunity as well.”

36 M Dentistry | Spring 2024 ALUMNI
Alumni Profile (Continued)

Why We Give... Kevin and Pam Cooper

It would be difficult to find a couple more grateful for their U-M School of Dentistry degrees than Kevin and Pam Cooper. After they graduated in 1983 –Kevin with a DDS and Pam with a BSDH – they worked in Detroit for a few years as Kevin fulfilled his National Health Service Corps obligations at a community clinic. In 1987 they returned to their hometown, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. They started a practice with Kevin as the dentist, Pam as the hygienist and one employee who both assisted Kevin and helped Pam run the office. Over the years it grew substantially and in 2005 they moved to their current Brady Street Dental location.

The Coopers have made annual financial gifts to the School of Dentistry for decades. They say it fits well with their strong belief in the value of public education. It also reflects their understanding that the cost of education is much higher and public funding for it is much lower than when they went through K-12 schools and Lake Superior State University (LSSU) in the Soo, as well as dental school at U-M. Initially, they designated their gifts for the dental school’s scholarship fund for students from the Upper Peninsula, as a way to help increase the number of young dentists interested in practicing in the underserved areas of the U.P. Lately, they have increased and broadened their gifts to also include the general needs of the school. They also contribute to LSSU and local public schools through a volunteer dental program, among other ways.

Pam was the first in her financially-strapped family to go to college, first at LSSU, then transferring to U-M for her Dental Hygiene degree in a program more comprehensive than those at smaller schools. “From day one, the faculty in the hygiene program said you are going to come out of here the best educated and the best practitioners, because you are at the best school,” Pam recalls. “They emphasized that the reason we were getting this great education is because the people before us gave back and made this program what it is. So remember to give back.”

DDS graduates of Kevin’s era found faculty to be demanding, but he looks back in hindsight with gratitude for the excellence that was required “You had a sense that you were getting as good a dental education as you could possibly get,” he said. “It was a rigorous program and I knew I was going to be ready to practice dentistry. The connections and the mentorship with some of the faculty made it rewarding. And in every class you developed great relationships with your classmates. So that total package was a great experience. And U-M has maintained that high level of training today.”

Kevin says their financial gifts are a way of paying forward the benefits they received from public education at the various schools they attended. “They made it so we could have, and are still in, a fantastic career. We just feel really strongly that we need to support that.”

We want to hear from you. Send us news about your achievements, awards or honors. Contact: SODalumnirelations@umich.edu University of Michigan | School of Dentistry 1011 N. University | Ann Arbor, MI 48109 Send Us Your News! Spring 2024 | M Dentistry ALUMNI 37

Alumni featured in new speaker series for students

The school’s Office of Alumni Relations and Development launched a new alumni Lunchand-Learn speaker series in January for dental students. Alumni presentations provide a representative sample of the portfolio of career options available to students upon graduation.

The informal sessions, about once a month, open with a presentation by the alumnus and allow students to ask questions and talk directly with the presenter before, during and after the presentation.

The first session in January featured Dr. Gary Scott (DDS 1996), who talked about his background and experience building a private practice in Caledonia, Michigan. In March, Dr. Maryam Beryamian (DDS 2001) visited the school with her husband, Dr. Nabil N. Fehmi (DDS 1999), and provided details on the privately owned dental service organization (DSO) they have developed in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area in Arizona. Dr. Kristi Thomas (DDS 1999) spoke in April about leadership and careers in public health dentistry, including her current position with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. In May, the featured alumna was Dr. Christine Tenaglia (DDS 1992), who discussed her experience as a solo private practice owner in Okemos, Michigan.

Carrie Towns, Executive Director of Alumni Relations and Development, said her office started the sessions to provide a valuable “voice of experience” for DDS students to learn from, while allowing alumni to maintain their connection with the dental school. Alumni interested in learning more about the speaker series can contact the Alumni Relations office at sodalumnirelations@umich.edu or 734-763-3315.

M Dentistry | Spring 2024 38 ALUMNI
Dr. Christine Tenaglia Dr. Kristi Thomas Dr. Maryam Beryamian Dr. Gary Scott

Rainforest reflections of a National Championship WOLVERINE FANS

Three School of Dentistry alumni (pictured from left) Drs. Donald Vander Linde (DDS 1982), John Bouws (DDS 1971) and David Cramer (DDS 1978) show their University of Michigan colors as they stand on the bank of a remote river in the middle of the Amazon rainforest in northern Brazil on Jan. 8, 2024. As the sun set that day behind the fishermen and their “bungalow” boats, the trio were gearing up for the NCAA National Championship football game featuring their beloved Wolverines vs. the University of Washington later in the evening.

One of the selling points of this week-long fishing trip to the Rio Cuiuni River is that it is “off the grid” after a seaplane flight to the middle of nowhere – far from civilization, no cell phone service, no Internet. However, guides for the trip revealed a bit of a secret: If a need arose, they could access the internet via a satellite connection. The National Championship was maybe not strictly a need, but it was definitely a want.

After a bit of trouble-shooting, the expedition leaders were able to connect to a video feed of the game. The only snag was that the announcers were speaking Portuguese. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Using a second satellite connection, the fishing party was able to find the U-M radio broadcast with the home team announcers Doug Karsch and Jon Jansen, “so we had our good, biased announcers,” Vander Linde said.

The alums propped up the cellphone showing the video feed of the game on a cooler next to the second phone with the U-M audio commentary. They proceeded to watch and listen from their fishing boat deep in the heart of the Amazon as the Wolverines won the National Championship, 34-13.

Vander Linde said Cramer picked the dates of their fishing trip in August 2023, long before the Wolverines went undefeated on their way to the National Championship game. Cramer’s fishing friends have given him a fair amount of fake grief, claiming that he should have anticipated that the mighty Wolverines would make it to the championship game and, thus, he should have scheduled the fishing for later in January.

While linking up with the game coverage was a highlight of the trip, so was fishing every day for peacock bass, which is a large, fiesty, plentiful and beautiful species. Add in the solidarity and solace in that remote part of the world and it all made a fabulous trip for the three retired dentists.

Vander Linde and Cramer still live in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area, where all three practiced; Bouws now lives in nearby Holland, Michigan.

39 Spring 2024 | M Dentistry ALUMNI

Alumni Notes

Three U-M dental school alumni were among the recipients of the 2024 Michigan Dental Association awards presented at the organization’s annual session in April:

The late Dr. Richard Charlick of Brighton, Michigan, was posthumously named the recipient of the Emmett C. Bolden Dentist Citizen of the Year Award. The distinction was approved by the MDA Board of Trustees last December. Charlick died March 22, 2024, before the annual awards were presented at the Annual Session in Lansing in April. Charlick earned his DDS at U-M in 1959, served three years in the U.S. Navy, then returned to U-M to obtain a master’s degree in restorative dentistry. He taught dental anatomy and other courses at U-M for 30 years while maintaining his practice in Brighton for 57 years, retiring in 2019. MDA cited Charlick as “a noted educator, volunteer, mentor, and writer” whose occlusion textbook and video lectures were used around the world, along with another textbook, “Dental Anatomy: Workbook and Study Guide.” MDA also noted Charlick’s extensive involvement with dental mission trips through a Christian group, Health Teams International, which he led as president for 23 years. Beginning in 1981, he completed 59 mission trips with more than a thousand volunteers. He wrote a book about his mission travels entitled “Mission Possible” and was a frequent speaker at local education, religious and service groups. Dr. Katherine Cramer (DDS 2010), who practices in the Lavender Dental Group in Lansing, received a new MDA award this year, the Donated Dental Services Rising Star Award. Cramer started volunteering for the Michigan Donated Dental Services (DDS) Program in 2018 and has continued to accept patients from that program into her office. MDA noted that her spirit of kindness and volunteerism extends to her entire staff as they generate the best care possible for the patients. “As her practice grows, so does her heart,” MDA said. “She believes strongly in taking cases that can bring about change in her patients’ lives. The change in these lives is real, her care is compassionate, and always patient-focused to produce the best possible outcomes.”

MDA presented its University of Michigan Dental Faculty Award to Dr. Sarah Tomaka (DDS 2015). She is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Cariology, Restorative Sciences and Endodontics, and Assistant Director of the CommunityBased Collaborative Care and Education program. MDA cited Tomaka’s outstanding commitment for advancing oral health and dedication to educating the next generation of oral health professionals. She oversees students both in pre-doctoral clinics and in pre-clinical courses, and also practices at the Dental Faculty Associates Clinic. Tomaka is recognized for supporting students in ways to enhance a positive learning experience and for taking on leadership roles in student mentorship programs. She has significant experience in public health and with underserved patients in Federally Qualified Health Centers.

The Michigan Section of the Pierre Fauchard Academy announced a number of awards this spring for alumni and students at the school. Dr. Scott Hodges (DDS 1986, MS endo 1991) received the Joseph B. Harris Mentorship Award. Noted for his service to the profession in a variety of leadership roles including dentist, dental educator, mentor and community advocate, Hodges established and built a large endodontic practice in Grand Rapids. Over the past 35 years, he organized and participated in multiple dental mission trips worldwide, including to Guyana, Alaska, Lebanon, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Haiti, Ukraine, Costa Rica, Jordan and Uganda. Closer to home, he has served as the Dental Chair for all four of the MDA Foundation’s Missions of Mercy outreach program. Hodges is an adjunct clinical professor in the Graduate Endodontic

program at the U-M School of Dentistry. A recipient of ADEA’s Certificate of Recognition of Volunteer Service, he also was awarded the MDA’s Public Service Award, the American Association of Endodontist’s Lifetime Spirit of Service Award. He is a member of the American and Michigan Association of Endodontists, the West Michigan Dental Society and the Pierre Fauchard Academy. Dr. Haley (Neal) Wilson (DDS 2023) received the 2023 Student Award, given to a graduating student at each of the state’s dental schools. While at the dental school, she served on the executive board for the school-wide Honor System Review Committee, which fosters a culture of honesty and ethical decision-making. She pursued an interest in oral and maxillofacial surgery, including an elective course that provided extensive surgical experiences with OMFS residents and faculty; leadership roles in the Oral Surgery Student Association; and serving on the planning consortium for the Women Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Leadership Symposium in 2022 and 2023. After graduation, Wilson joined a private practice in Dallas, Texas, where she focuses on cosmetic and restorative dentistry. Two alumni were named fellows of the Academy in 2023: Dr. Rachel Sheridan (DDS 2014, MS 2017), of Grandville, Mich., who also serves as Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor of Dentistry, Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, and Dr. Elizabeth Knudsen (DDS 1996), of Escanaba, Mich.

Dr. Elizabeth Soulas (MS ortho 2023) received the 2024 Milo Hellman Research Award from the Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Association of Orthodontists. She received the award and presented

Dr. Richard Charlick Dr. Katherine Cramer
M Dentistry | Spring 2024 ALUMNI 40
Dr. Sarah Tomaka Dr. Scott Hodges

on her research, “In Vivo Analyses of Small Pore Polymer Scaffolds for Creation of an Artificial Cranial Stem Cell Niche,” during the 2024 AAO annual session in New Orleans in early May. She practices with Markowitz Orthodontics in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area.

Dr. John Farah (DDS 1978) of Ann Arbor (above at a book-signing) has authored his second book documenting his life as a dentist, researcher, publisher, business owner, sailor, marathon runner, husband and father, along with many other distinctive interests he pursued. Imagine – A Palestinian’s Journey shares an incredible breadth of stories beginning with growing up in a Palestinian family in Jerusalem and attending a Catholic boarding school. He came to the United States from Israel in 1962 at age 19 to join family here. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering at the University of Michigan while working at the School of Dentistry to conduct research in what was then called dental materials. The dental school work led to a unique joint PhD in dentistry and aerospace engineering, then to his DDS degree and a short stint in

academic research in Florida. In 1980, he returned to Ann Arbor to open his private practice, which grew into what is today Enspire Dental. In 1984, he founded and published The Dental Advisor, a widely popular newsletter that provided dentists with reviews of the latest dental products, from bonding agents to dental chairs. The publication and his interest in the growing field of cosmetic dentistry led to speaking engagements that took Farah around the world, even as he continued his dental practice. In 2006, Farah used his business acumen to create Apex Milling and Printing to make dentures, crowns and other appliances. In his non-dentistry life, Farah was a longtime member and leader of the Ann Arbor Sailing Club, and he completed 137 marathons and many other running events around the world. His running adventures were documented in his first book, Let’s Pick Up the Pace, which was featured in an Alumni Profile article in the Fall 2021 M Dentistry alumni magazine. Ordering information for the new book can be found at johnfarahimagine.com

Dr. Robin Henderson (DDS 1998) of Clarkston, Washington, a Fellow in the American College of Dentists, was elected last fall to serve as a Regent for the ACD. She oversees Regency 8, which covers Sections in Washington, Oregon, Utah, Montana, Colorado, British Columbia and Western Canada. Founded in 1920, the ACD is the oldest honorary dental organization in the country. Its mission is to advance excellence, ethics, professionalism, and leadership in dentistry. Fellows are nominated by existing fellows based on their exceptional contributions to organized dentistry, oral health care, dental research, dental education, the profession and society.

Wherever you go, Go Blue!

Adjunct faculty member Dr. Carolyn Romzick (DDS 1982) and her husband Dr. David Clark (DDS 1983) were touring Europe with their daughter Dr. Meredith Clark (DDS 2020) last December. There was a magical feel about the cobblestone courtyard in the town square of Rothenburg, Germany, at dusk during the medieval walled city’s famous Christmas market. It seemed like a good place and time to break out the M Dentistry flag they had brought along to join with other alumni who in recent years have displayed the flag at famous tourist attractions. Last August, Carolyn and David sold their private practice that they had started in Farmington Hills, Michigan, in 1984. “This was our first trip away from the office for more than seven days in 40 years,” Carolyn said.

Spring 2024 | M Dentistry ALUMNI 41
Dr. Haley (Neal) Wilson Dr. Elizabeth Soulas Dr. Robin Henderson

These dentists really are superheroes

Twin sisters who are School of Dentistry alumnae have been turned into twin superheroes in a children’s book that was written and illustrated by high school students in Alabama.

Dr. Belinda Rhodes King (DDS 2005) and Dr. Melinda Rhodes King (DDS 2006) practice together in Tuscaloosa. They were among 17 professionals from Alabama chosen for a project designed to inspire elementary students’ interest in the so-called STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

The project – called “That Could be Me!” – was conceived by the Foundation for the Art & Science of Learning, an educational consulting group in Pinson, Alabama, that provides teacher and leadership development. The foundation identified Alabama professionals who are Black, indigenous or people of color with careers that require STEM training. The idea is to inspire elementary students to see themselves in the biographies of the STEM professionals,

Michigan town names park for local dentist

Dr. Charles Burling (DDS 1976), a retired dentist in Dowagiac in southwest Michigan, was honored last fall with the naming of a city park to commemorate his many years of public service in the community.

Friends, family and public officials gathered along the city’s Riverside Drive to formally dedicate Burling Park, which features a new multi-level deck overlooking Dowagiac Creek. Water flows over a small dam next to a large area of open space.

A native of Dowagiac, Burling returned there after his graduation from the dental school and opened a practice in 1978, serving patients for more than four decades before retiring in 2017. He served on the City Council for 16 years and was chairman of the city’s Planning Commission, among many other community service activities.

while providing high school students with experience in writing, art and publishing.

The sisters, who practice as Rhodes and Rhodes Family Dentistry, worked with high school students Bryan Nguyen and Britiana Cross who were the author and illustrator, respectively, for “The Cavity Conquerors.”

According to the foundation’s promotion for the book, “Through the musings of a boy named Timothy about his visit to the dentist, The Cavity Conquerors elevates the power of imagination and teamwork. With the help of the dentists’ whole office, Timothy overcomes his fears and is inspired by twin superheroes, Drs. Belinda and Melinda Rhodes. He becomes enchanted by what they might have been like at his age growing up in

Alabama, their visions since high school of practicing dentistry together, and their work in Tuscaloosa today. The book is a celebration of dentistry and what to expect for a teeth cleaning and a filling!”

The book is available for $10 from the Foundation for the Art & Science of Learning website. The foundation views the Alabama project as a pilot that they envision spreading to other states around the country.

Dr. Charles Burling with the sign at the park honoring his community service. (Photo by Max Harden, Dowagiac Daily News)

Dowagiac Mayor Don Lyons thanked Burling for choosing to return to his small hometown after dental school and for leading numerous community improvement projects over the years, along with his work as a dentist and at the local hospital. “There’s no place that you can turn in this community and not see Chuck Burling’s fingerprints on

it,” the mayor was quoted as saying in a news story in the Dowagiac Daily News. Burling thanked city officials for the park honor. “The opportunity to put a family name on something, especially something this beautiful, is special,” he said at the dedication.

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Melinda (left) and Belinda Rhodes hold the children’s book written about them.

In Memoriam

Dr. Arnold Morawa, former Assistant Dean for Alumni Relations and Continuing Education and Associate Professor in the Department of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry, died Feb. 9, 2024, in San Diego. He was 83. He earned several advanced degrees despite never completing his bachelor’s degree because he began dental school after only two and a half years of undergraduate study. He earned a DDS (1964), MD (1965), MS in Pediatric Dentistry (1966), MS (1968) and PhD in Anatomy and Cellular Biology (1973). He established the first pediatric dentistry practice in Ann Arbor and while still practicing joined the dental school as an assistant professor in 1973, with promotion to associate professor in 1976. He held an appointment as an attending staff member in the University Hospitals from 1977-93 and was appointed to the assistant dean position at the dental school in 1990. He retired from active faculty status on June 30, 2001.

Morawa was an important contributor to the School of Dentistry, including his oversight of the two-year Kellogg Building expansion and renovation project, completed in the fall of 2000. He also played a significant role during one of the school's five-year capital campaigns. He was active with Michigan dentistry organizations as well as the American Dental Association throughout his career. In 1995, Dr. Morawa helped organize a program commemorating 50 years of water fluoridation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as part of the International Fluoridation Symposium. In January 2000, he was instrumental in organizing the program, “Scientific Frontiers in Clinical Dentistry,” hosted by the School of Dentistry and sponsored by the Delta Dental Fund and the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research. In 2000, Morawa received the Distinguished Service Award from the Alumni Society Board of Governors.

James Baad (DDS 1962), Feb. 18, 2024, Louisville, Ky., formerly of Howell, Michigan.

Raymond Bjorklund (DDS 1952), Feb. 5, 2024, Brooklyn, Michigan.

Eldon “Bud” Bradham (DDS 1969), March 13, 2024, San Antonio, Texas.

David Lee Brower (DDS 1975), Feb. 29, 2024. Grand Blanc, Michigan.

Raymond Burchell, Jr. (DDS 1963), Jan. 16, 2024, Ironwood, Michigan.

Robert “Doc” Campbell (DDS 1958), March 26, 2024, Scottville, Michigan.

Chee T. Chan (DDS 1957), May 5, 2024, East Lansing, Michigan.

Richard Charlick (DDS 1959), March 22, 2024, Brighton, Michigan.

Sally (Hubbard) Clark (DH certificate 1953), Nov. 28, 2023, Novi, Michigan.

John Coxford (DDS 1958), Jan. 11, 2024, Escalon, California.

Robert Crossman (DDS 1954), Feb. 29, 2024, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

A. Bruce Dresbach (DDS 1963), April 14, 2024, Ft. Myers, Fla., formerly of Flint, Mich.

Janis (Chmura) Duski (DDS 1989), Jan. 5, 2024, Indian River, Michigan.

Edward J. Hartmann, Jr. (DDS 1951), Feb. 5, 2024, Kalamazoo, Michigan.

W.R. “Ted” Kuball (DDS 1971), March 20, 2024, St. Joseph, Michigan.

Walter Liskiewicz (DDS 1975, oral surgery 1979), May 6, 2024, Jackson, Michigan.

Richard McDonald (DDS 1960), April 13, 2024, Clarkston, Michigan.

Dennis McGinn (DDS 1965), May 16, 2024, San Diego, California.

William Millar (DDS 1962, MS orthodontics 1972), March 4, 2024, Petoskey, Michigan.

Robert Minkoff (MS orthodontics 1959), October 18, 2023, Agoura Hills, California.

Nancy Ramsey (MSDH 1970), Dec. 5, 2023, Knoxville, Tennessee.

Claudia (Esbaugh) Schwendeman (DDS 1982), Dec. 26, 2024, Troy, New York.

Nancy Ann (Lindberg) Stetten (DH certificate 1958), Jan. 19, 2024, Smithfield, Kentucky.

Patricia (Jaffke) Wright (DH certificate 1953), Dec. 5, 2023, Hillsborough, North Carolina.

43 ALUMNI Spring 2024 | M Dentistry


Two weeks after the University of Michigan football team won the National Championship Game against the University of Washington in January, there was still a strong buzz of “Go Blue!” enthusiasm for that outcome in every corner of the School of Dentistry. The leadership team issued an invitation for faculty, staff and students to gather in their best Michigan gear to celebrate the 34-13 victory with a commemorative group photo. The resounding cheer is pictured here.

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45 ALUMNI Spring 2024 | M Dentistry

Thank You, Donors

Matthew Woods

DDS Class of 2025

Hometown: Upper Marlboro, Maryland

Undergraduate degree: Public Health, University of Maryland

“I remember the exact day when I got the phone call that I had received a scholarship. I was feeling very, very grateful that a person would invest their time and finances to support someone else’s progress. You don’t always see the fruits of your labor, but this support gave me the confidence and comfort to leave home and come to Michigan. Being here opened up a lot of other opportunities. My feeling is an abundance of gratitude.”

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1011 N. University Ave. | Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1078
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