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School of Dental Medicine

News at One Kneeland: February 2018

Tuesday, February 13, 2018
News from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine
Jessica York's award winning photo
Jessaca York, D1, during an April 2017 Global Service Learning trip to Haiti

“Like looking in a mirror”

The Tufts University Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President announced the winners of the Global Perspectives Student Photo Contest, which honors students who submitted photos of their travels for the University and a reflection of what the photo means to them. Jessaca York, D19, was awarded first place in the Health category for her photo taken during an April 2017 Global Service Learning trip to Haiti, organized by the Tufts chapter of the Student National Dental Association. York reflected on her experience treating patients. “As I looked into her and other young patients’ faces to treat them, it was like looking in the mirror and seeing myself within them and in me, them seeing who they can become,” she wrote. “We spoke different languages and came from seemingly different worlds, yet it was clear that we all knew we were one in the same. The rich color of our matching complexions tells the story of who we are, where we come from, and the strength and power that exists when we band together as a collective community to care for one another.” See all winners of the Global Perspectives contest.

Views of a Perio Selective course

To better prepare students for periodontal surgery, the Department of Periodontology introduced a new workshop for fourth-year students in the Periodontal Selective Program last year. The Perio Selective Program (formerly known as the Honor’s Program) is designed to provide interested fourth-year students with extra experience and skills in periodontology. The program includes hands-on photography training, lectures, and discussions on special topics. In December, Yumi Ogata, DI15, DG11, assistant professor of periodontology, piloted a new workshop, in which students practice surgical techniques on pig jaws. Ogata said pig jaws are more similar to human gingival tissues than other types of models, and are better materials to prepare students for periodontal surgery.

Breaking barriers across the world

A dental school alum has taken the lead in Saudi Arabia, becoming the first woman to lead a residency training program in the kingdom. Maisa Al-Sebaei, DG04, is a graduate of the dental school’s Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS) postgraduate program, and the first woman in Saudi Arabia to complete an OMFS training program in North America. She continued to break barriers as the first woman in Saudi Arabia to become a diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and finally to take on multiple leading roles in the OMFS residency training program at King Abdulaziz University (KAU) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. As of February 2017, she is now a member of the scientific board of the Saudi specialty certificate in OMFS, the chair of the Western region training committee for the specialty certificate, the program director of the OMFS residency at KAU’s Faculty of Dentistry, and a member of the examination committee of the specialty certificate. She has also been a member of the executive board of the Saudi Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery since 2014. “I feel very happy to be the first, as I have a vision for the training in OMFS in Saudi Arabia,” she said. “It’s a huge responsibility, but I feel fortunate to be in this position where I can teach, instruct and guide the training of talented and bright men and women in OMFS.”

Meet our DELTA Fellow: Wed Alyousef

Wed Alyousef, DG16, DG17, DG19, is a trained and experienced dentist and prosthodontist. But when it comes to teaching in the classroom, she wanted to know more. Alyousef got the chance to do so, as the first fellow in the Dental Education Learning and Teaching Academy (DELTA) Fellowship, which started in July 2017. The one-year program is designed to allow post-graduate residents, junior faculty members, and young clinicians to develop as successful educators and leaders in dental education. Alyousef said that the program has been an “eye-opening” experience. “When you’re a student you don’t always know what goes on behind the scenes to deliver information to you,” she said. “I’ve learned there is a science to formulating curriculum, to evaluating progress, to aligning your assessment with the course’s objectives.”

International students celebrate their entry to the clinic

The Dental International Student (DIS) class of 2020 held their White Coat Ceremony on January 19. The White Coat Ceremony formally recognizes the class as they further their educational and clinical training, and symbolizes the adoption of the ethical tenets of the health care profession. There were 30 members who received their White Coats during the event. Robert Kasberg, associate dean of admissions and student affairs, presided at the ceremony, which included remarks from Dean Huw Thomas, Charles Rankin, D79, DG86, D08P, DG11P, professor and interim chair of comprehensive care, Ronald Perry, DG99, professor of comprehensive care and director of the international student program, and Nadeem Karimbux, professor of periodontology and associate dean of academic affairs.

Awards and honors

  • Hans Peter Weber, professor and chair of prosthodontics was installed as the 2018 President of the Greater New York Academy of Prosthodontics on January 4, 2018.
  • Sarah Greenlaw, D13, and volunteer faculty member in public health and community service, was named one of Massachusetts Dental Society’s (MDS) “10 Under 10,” a group of ten MDS member dentists who have been in the profession for ten years or less and have made a significant contribution to the profession, their community, or organized dentistry.
  • Nicole Holland, MG12, assistant professor and director of health communication, education and promotion, was invited to serve as a member of the Roundtable on Health Literacy for the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine in January.

Recent grant awards

  • Kathy Dolan, assistant professor in public health and community service and director of Tufts Statewide Community Dental Program, received a $5,000 grant from American ToothFairy: National Children’s Oral Health Foundation.
  • The American Academy of Implant Dentistry awarded $2,500 research grants to three Tufts Dental students: Nari Park, D19, and Yusuf Sheikh, D18, working with primary investigator Yumi Ogata, assistant professor of periodontology, and Shawn Kim, D20, working with primary investigator Yong Hur, DI12, DG08, assistant clinical professor in periodontology.
  • Noshir Mehta, DI77, DG73, J01P, A07P, professor in public health and community service and director of global affairs, received a grant from the International College of Dentists’ International Student Experiences (ISE) program to help support the global exchange offerings at Tufts Dental.
  • The American Dental Education Association (ADEA) awarded $10,000 to the University of Michigan to fund a research project collaboration between UM and Tufts Dental. The project “Development of a handoff entrustable professional activity (EPA): A multi-institutional study,” is led by Irina Dragan, D18, DG15, DG15, assistant professor in periodontology, Nadeem Karimbux, professor of periodontology and chair of academic affairs, and Noshir Mehta, professor in public health and community service and director of global affairs.
  • Evangelos Papathanasiou, assistant professor in periodontology, has been awarded a five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.  This prestigious Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development (K08) award will provide Papathanasiou with five years of support to investigate wound healing under the guidance of Carroll Ann Trotman, professor and chair of orthodontics, and Tom Van Dyke of the Forsyth Institute. 
  • Yumi Ogata, DI15, DG11, assistant professor in periodontology, was awarded a two-year grant from the American Association of Implant Dentistry Foundation. Her study is, “Comparison of dimensional changes in peri-implant buccal bone and soft tissue in grafted and native bone: A prospective clinical study in humans.” The grant award is $20,000.

Staff and faculty changes

  • Kayla Andree joined the dental school as the assistant director of financial aid on December 4.
  • Linda Peckham joined the dental school in early January as a temporary staff member, providing administrative support to Robert Kasberg, associate dean of admissions and student affairs, and Kelsey Simonson, assistant registrar.
  • Kristin Benoit joined the dental school on January 29 as the program coordinator for continuing education. 
  • Ledja Lera, administrative assistant in research administration, left the dental school on January 26. Lex Vazquez will be the temporary administrative assistant for the department.

Alum to teach ADA workshop

A TUSDM alum, Jeff Huber, D78, will be hosting a hands-on workshop at the American Dental Association headquarters in Chicago May 16-19. The workshop “Dentistry for the Modern Age” will offer the opportunity to see the most up-to-date clinical recommendations.

Remembering a dental alum

Daniel Plank, DG12, passed away after suffering a stroke on December 8. Plank was a Board Certified Oral Surgeon and was dedicated to his profession. In addition to his practice as an oral surgeon, he worked with the National Foundation of Ectodermal Dysplasia to evaluate and treat patients with the disorder. Read his obituary.

Returning to her roots at TDF include photo

The Tufts Dental Facility clinic in Wrentham saw a familiar face last semester. Annie Le, D18, who completed a special care rotation at the clinic, is a former dental hygienist for Tufts Dental Facilities. Le began working at the Waltham TDF clinic in 2011, and then moved to the clinic in Canton when Waltham closed in 2012. She continued working in Canton until she was enrolled in dental school in 2014. She said her experiences at TDF, and mentorship by Richard Miller, D78, assistant clinical professor in public health and community service and director at Canton, inspired her to become a dentist. “I never thought about dental school,” she said. “But I really admired Dr. Miller, who encouraged me to go to dental school. And working with this population – you have to have the heart to do this, and we need to find all the hearts we can for this work.”