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UIC assistant professor receives inaugural ADA award for new investigator in dental informatics

Dr. Emiliya Taneva of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry received the first Robert H. Ahlstrom New Investigator Award for Dental Informatics Research.

Dr. Taneva

Dr. Taneva

The award, named after the first chairman of the ADA Standards Committee on Dental Informatics, aims to highlight the crucial role that dental informatics standards play in improving the quality of patient care, assuring patient health and safety and increasing efficiency through use of information technology.

Dr. Taneva, a new dentist and clinical assistant professor at the Department of Orthodontics, received the honor for her paper, “3-D Evaluation of Palatal Rugae for Human Identification Using Digital Study Models.”

Her research documented the palatal rugae as identifiers in a 3-D manner comparable to the use of fingerprints.

“My master’s thesis project involved developing and utilizing a 3-D approach for human verification and identification using the palatal rugae pattern,” she said.

Dr. Taneva said she sees 3-D digital study models obtained with intraoral or model scanners for diagnosis and treatment planning being “integrated in the personal electronic health record, which can be requested and accessed by forensic institutes and law enforcement.”

The implementation of the algorithms, she added, could bring a major impact to the biometrics and forensic odontology fields and create new standards for interoperability and transmissibility, and for acquiring and transferring patient data in open source formats.

Dr. Taneva credits her mentors — Dr. Carla Evans, who heads the Department of Orthodontics; Dr. Andrew Johnson, associate professor of Computer Science; and Grace Vianna, statistician, Depatment of Orthodontics — for the award.

As the recipient of the Ahstrom award, Dr. Taneva will receive airfare and accommodations to present the award-winning project at the ADA SCDI’s annual meeting Nov. 2-4 in Washington, D.C.

Applicants for the award must have received their D.D.S. or D.M.D. degrees no more than five years prior to the time of selection. The awards committee and the ADA Council on Dental Practice will select the winner. For more about the ADA Standards Programs, visit ADA.org/dentalstandards.

ADA Success program aims for connection

Seventeen member dentists, including several new dentists, attended an ADA Success Speaker Training program July 24 at ADA Headquarters to hone their facilitation and public speaking skills.

The ADA launched ADA Success, an all-new program for dental students offering a series of programs on topics most relevant to students today.

Each program is one-hour in length and is presented by a volunteer dentist or other subject matter expert. The programs are presented at no charge to students or dental schools by the American Dental Association and/or state and local dental societies. ADA Success helps students prepare for life as a dentist — good choices now, great dentists later. Program topics include managing debt and wealth; practice management for all dentists; all about associateships; future of dentistry; finding a job; and understanding employment agreements.

Friday’s attendees are among the total 47 speakers in the ADA Success speaker corps. Additional training will be offered in September.

For more information, or to schedule a program, contact ADA Office of Student Affairs at 312.440.7470 or studentaffairs@ada.org or visit ADA.org/successprogram.

Check out the photos from Friday’s Success program below:

Volunteer dentists sought for 2015 Veterans’ Smile Day

Smile: Dr. Michelle Frawley (right) smile for the a camera with her dental assistant and patient during last year’s Veterans' Smile Day event in Beverly Hills, Calif. Dr. Frawley was among 80 dentists from 50 offices around the country to provide free dental care to veterans during the annual event.

Smile: Dr. Michelle Frawley (right) smile for the a camera with her dental assistant and patient during last year’s Veterans’ Smile Day event in Beverly Hills, Calif. Dr. Frawley was among 80 dentists from 50 offices around the country to provide free dental care to veterans during the annual event.

Los Angeles — Organizers of this year’s Veterans’ Smile Day are seeking volunteers from across the country to expand the annual event and provide more dental care to those who served in the U.S. military.

“We are living the way we are living today thanks to the sacrifices these veterans made,” said Dr. Karin Irani, event organizer and coordinator. “This is a way for us to show some appreciation for what they’ve done for us.”

This year’s event, to be held Nov. 13-14 — the weekend following the Nov. 11 Veterans Day holiday, seeks dentist volunteers to provide services in their own offices.

Dr. Irani

Dr. Irani

Last year, 80 dentists from about 50 offices in California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Arizona and Florida saw about 600 veterans during the Veterans’ Smile Day.

“There were times when a veteran, who finds out about the event, calls and asks where they can go to see a dentist, and I have to tell them there aren’t any dentists in their area participating,” she said. “So the more volunteers, the better.”

This year, more dentists have already signed on to participate, including dentists from Colorado. In addition, Henry Schein and Procter & Gamble are again sponsoring the event, said Dr. Irani, a graduate of the ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership.

When it comes to dental care, many veterans simply fall through the cracks. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, veterans have to meet certain eligibility factors to receive dental care, such as service-related dental disability or condition, or if they are a former prisoner of war.

In addition, some veterans who qualify for dental benefits still don’t receive the care they need because of the distance to their nearest VA hospital.

“Last year, some doctors who participated were expecting only older veterans from World War II to visit,” Dr. Irani said. “Some were really surprised when young veterans who are in college or working but don’t qualify for benefits showed up because they needed help.”

During Veterans’ Smile Day, participating dental clinics may provide free dental care such as examinations, X-rays, oral cancer screening, cleanings, fillings, extractions and other preventive and restorative dental care.

Dr. Deryck Pham, a Navy veteran and current class member of the ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership, founded the event 3 years ago. Dr. Pham opened his Mays Landing, New Jersey, office to veterans who needed dental care in 2012, treating 33 patients.

After reaching out to his friend and University of Southern California School of Dentistry classmate, Dr. Irani, to helped Veterans’ Smile Day expand to five states last year.

Organizers find veterans who need dental care by promoting the event in colleges, veteran services organizations, and through word-of-mouth and social media. Those veterans are then paired with a volunteer dentist. The day and time of the visit is scheduled ahead of time.

Dentists interested in participating this year, Dr. Irani said, can decide how much time they can contribute, how many people they can see, what time of day they can see the veterans, what dental services they can provide, and whether they can provide the services for free or at a discount. Hygienists and dental assistants are welcome to volunteer as well.

“Whatever dentists can give, we’ll take. Even if it’s just an exam or a cleaning, it’s a big help,” Dr. Irani said. “Everyone can give one day a year. Every dentist can give one day. That’s not asking for a lot.”

For more information on the event and how to participate this year, contact Dr. Irani at ddsusc03@gmail.com.

New Dentist Conference, ADA annual meeting inspire new dentists, dental students

Westwood, Calif. — While many 2015 dental graduates are busy looking for or settling into practices, one of their fellow graduates is urging both them and dental students to mark some days in early November on their calendars.

Dr. Mendoza

Dr. Mendoza

The New Dentist Conference, which for the first time will coincide with the ADA annual meeting, which takes place in Washington, D.C. from Nov. 5-10. New dentists can participate in both meetings this year and experience all ADA 2015 has to offer, featuring high-level networking opportunities during Leadership Day; a new dentist reception at Penn Social; inspiration from keynote speaker Daymond John, entrepreneur and “Shark Tank” co-star; an exclusive, customized continuing education track featuring real-time interactive technology and more.

Dental students and new dentists alike should make every attempt to attend both events, said Dr. Kristopher Mendoza of the UCLA School of Dentistry Class of 2015.

He should know, considering that he is the immediate past president of the American Student Dental Association and has been an active participant in two past ADA annual meetings.

“It’s a great time to recharge and see what’s beyond dental school,” Dr. Mendoza said.

The 25-year-old dentist, who has just begun a three-year residency in dental anesthesiology at UCLA, said that while the advantages of attending the annual meeting are myriad, one in particular is especially useful for dental students and new dentists.

“One of the greatest benefits for students at the annual meeting is definitely networking with other dentists and students,” Dr. Mendoza said. “Everyone there is extremely helpful, helping the next generation of dentists. They want to see you succeed.”

New Dentist Conference 2015There are several reasons why connecting and interacting with students and more established dentists is important, Dr. Mendoza said. One is that dental students close to graduation and new dentists are seeking jobs, and he has found that some of the established dentists have looked at dentists to join their practices or even sell their practices to.

A second reason is that the ADA annual meeting exposes current and new students to a national community of dentists who provide perspective and inspiration. Attending dental school can place students in a bubble but going to a conference with hundreds of other people who had gone through the experience or were going through the experience invigorated him, he said.

“It was my break,” Dr. Mendoza said. “It helped keep me going. You’re not the only one going through it. It gave me a better outlook on the dental field.” It helped Dr. Mendoza because when he grew up in Fresno, California, he didn’t have any dentists in the family to relate to.

Dr. Mendoza gets asked frequently from younger dentists and dental students if they should join the ADA. “I would challenge them to explore all that being a member offers,” he said. “The value far exceeds the cost.”

Registration for ADA 2015 is open online at ADA.org/meeting.

For a list of courses planned, visit eventscribe.com/ADA/2015.

Search for #ADADC on Twitter and Facebook for more on the ADA annual meeting.

ADA president points dental students to ethics contest

The ADA Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs is currently accepting entries for this year’s Student Ethics Video Contest. The deadline to submit entries is July 31.

“The American Dental Association has a 150-year-old Code of Ethics,” Dr. Feinberg says on ADA YouTube video. “For a century and a half, it’s been our moral compass – our North Star – and it guides everything we do. I graduated from dental school 35 years ago, and every day it’s my goal to earn and maintain my patients’ trust by abiding by this code. Students, we’d love to see what you can do.”

This year, the contest will include a second competitive category, created for videos that promote patient safety through ethical treatment. A grand prize and an honorable mention award will be available for each category.

The new category is the result of the participation and support of CNA in this year’s Student Ethics Video Contest.

The contest is open to degree-seeking students at, or new graduates of, any ADA-accredited dental school who are 18 or older and U.S. citizens. Entrants must also be ADA student members or members in good standing of the American Student Dental Association.

To qualify, videos should be no more than four and a half minutes and must portray the application of one or more principle, code or advisory opinion contained in the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct. To be eligible in the new category, the video should focus on ethical treatment promoting or enhancing patient safety and treatment outcomes.

CEBJA will announce the winners at the ADA 2015 – America’s Dental Meeting in Washington, D.C. For more information, contest rules and entry forms, contact Earl Sewell at sewelle@ada.org or access the link here.

ADA Humanitarian Award nominations due Sept. 15

Do you know an ADA member who has created a legacy of volunteer work both in the U.S. and abroad? Nominations for the ADA Humanitarian Award are due September 15th.

ADA Humanitarian AwardThe award, one of the highest honors bestowed by the ADA Board of Trustees, recognizes individual ADA member dentist volunteer who has:

  • Demonstrated significant leadership over a period of at least 10 years
  • Served as an inspiration to others
  •  Established a legacy that is of ongoing value and benefit to those in need both in the U.S. and abroad

The award winner receives a $10,000 donation to support volunteer work and is honored at the ADA annual meeting.

Download the nomination packet here or contact ADA International Relations at 1-312-440-2726 or international@ada.org.

UNC, dental foundation establish memorial award for slain students


Deah Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21

Chapel Hill, N.C. — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Dental Foundation of North Carolina have established a memorial award in honor of two dental students killed this year.

On Feb. 10, Deah Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21, and his 19-year-old sister-in-law Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha were fatally shot in their Chapel Hill, North Carolina, apartment. Police officers arrested their neighbor, Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, for the shooting.

The Deah Barakat and Yusor Abu-Salha Memorial Award was established in consultation with both students’ families and will be presented for the first time this fall. Mr. Barakat was a second-year student at the UNC School of Dentistry and Ms. Abu-Salha was to enter as a first-year in August. The award will provide support to a UNC School of Dentistry student or group of students who plan a local, national or international service product that, Mr. Barakat’s brother, Farris, said “will give back to communities that need help the most,” according to a UNC news release.

“Deah and Yusor led lives of great purpose and this fund is a fitting tribute to their humanitarian devotions,” UNC Chancellor Carol L. Folt said in a news release. “Through this award, the Carolina community is honoring their legacy of creating a more compassionate world through dentistry and delivering aid to those who are more vulnerable and in need.”

Mr. Barakat had volunteered at dental clinics overseas and had plans to travel to Turkey with 10 dentists this summer to help Syrian refugee students in need of dental care. He had posted a YouTube video last September asking for donations to raise money for supplies and equipment. Through his efforts, Project Refugee Smiles successfully raised the funds for the trip.

“Deah and Yusor had incredible hearts for service,” said Dr. Jane Weintraub, dean and alumni distinguished professor at the UNC School of Dentistry. “They often gave their weekends to working at homeless shelters or the North Carolina Missions of Mercy clinics and were no strangers to international service trips. Through this award, we’ll be able to not only educate our students about their lives of service but also continue their legacy of giving back for years to come.”

The Dental Foundation of North Carolina and UNC each committed $30,000 to the endowed fund. Those who wish to contribute can visit giving.unc.edu/gift/sod and select “Barakat Memorial Fund” from the dropdown menu.

ECU dental school’s first graduating class establishes endowment

ECU dental school Class of 2015

ECU dental school Class of 2015

According to the ECU School of Dental Medicine News, the first graduating class of East Carolina University dental school established an endowment to support patient care and student learning.

The endowed gift — the Inaugural Class Patient Care Endowment — received 100 percent participation by the 50 graduates and matching funds from the ECU Medical and Health Sciences Foundation. It currently stands at $33,000.

“The Class of 2015 takes great pride in the palpable impact that the school is already having on North Carolina, and we are inspired by our faculty’s commitment to service. Our dedication to carrying out the school’s mission and fulfilling our class pledge extends beyond our years here. It is with this in mind that we have established the patient fund,” said Dr. Kelly Walsh, class vice president, who co-presented the gift at the school’s convocation on May 8.

To read the full story, click here.

Take action to support student loan reform

2014 Dental Student Loan DebtContact your member of Congress and urge him or her to cosponsor the Student Loan Refinancing Act of 2015, H.R. 649.

The American Dental Education Association estimates that the average graduating dental student’s debt was over $247,000 in 2014.

H.R. 649 will allow borrowers, under the federal student loan program, to refinance their existing loans multiple times. If the current interest rates are below the rate they are paying, they can refinance their loans. This would assist new dentists in reducing their overall debt, thereby opening opportunities to practice in areas of need.

Fill out the form here.

After earning dental degree, new dentist wants to return to Zambia to open clinic

The Dallas Morning News profiled the extraordinary story of a new dentist, Dr. Given Kachepa, who just graduated from Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry, and his hopes to return to open the first dental clinic in the city where he was born — Kalingalinga, Zambia.

According to the article, Dr. Kachepa was brought to Texas by traffickers at age 11. In 1997, he joined a boy’s choir that would tour the U.S. through a ministry called Teaching Teachers to Teach: Partners in Education, which promised to send stipends to the boys’ families and raise money for Zambian schools. The ministry, however, poorly treated the choir members — if they didn’t sing, they weren’t fed — and never paid the boys, Dr. Kachepa told Dallas Morning News.

A former volunteer, Sandy Shepherd, ultimately reported the ministry to authorities and the Zambian Embassy in the U.S. Ms. Shepherd became Dr. Kachepa’s foster mother. They recall, in the story, that enrolling in the eight grade was difficult for Dr. Kalingalinga.

“When you’re missing the foundation, I think it’s very hard to recover,” he said. “I was limited in my language. Nobody ever sat down with me in Zambia and taught me to read. Sometimes, it took me many, many hours to finish the homework.”

Dr. Kachepa became interested in dentistry after getting braces. In 2013, while visiting Kalingalinga, his cousin went to a clinic over a toothache and needed an extraction. According to the article, the dentist had two men hold his cousin down because there was no anesthetic.

While it’ll take Dr. Kachepa few years to pay back his student loans, he said he’s already preparing for his clinic in Kalingalinga.

To read Dr. Kachepa’s story, click here.