Celebrating the First 100

Celebrating the First 100

The “First 100 Dentists of Color” Celebration Brunch on Saturday, April 27, at Richmond’s Black History Museum and Cultural Center was a celebration of accomplishments, achievements and trailblazing where Erma Freeman (D.D.S.’77/D) was recognized as the school’s first black female graduate.

The “First 100” initiative paves the way for the “Next 100” through scholarships for students who are members of the VCU Chapter of the Student National Dental Association. Donors and friends involved with the initiative were celebrated at the event for their generous support of students and the school.

Darriel Cannon (D.D.S. ’19/D), the school’s first African American class president, shared his experiences and vision for the future of African Americans in the oral health profession.

The First 100 initiative is the major driver in the school’s efforts to provide scholarships, mentorship and fellowship for the “Next 100 Dentists of Color” and beyond.

The event was generously underwritten by DentaQuest, an oral health care company dedicated to advancing oral health for all.

To learn more about the First 100 initiative, contact Barbara Payton (B.S. ‘83/MC), director of development for leadership annual giving, at (804) 827-1537 or

Media Contact: Nan Johnson, director of communications, (804) 828-0324 or



Erma Freeman (D.D.S. ’77), center, accepts the First 100 Trailblazer Award from Dr. Olivia Croom (left) chief dental officer, DentaQuest, and David C. Sarrett, D.M.D., M.S., (right) dean of the VCU School of Dentistry.


Erma Freeman paved the way for other black female dentists who followed in her path. Left to right: Dr. Jacqueline Curl, Renita Randolph (D.D.S.’91/D), Dr. Shanail Allen, Dr. Audra Jones, Erma Freeman (D.D.S.’77/D), Tiffany Williams (M.S.D.’14/D), Dr. Sheilandice Holmes, Tonya Parris-Wilkins (D.D.S.’03/D), Dr. Lori Wilson.


Dr. Freeman and Darriel Cannon (D.D.S.’19/D). Cannon, four-time president of his D.D.S. class at VCU, is now preparing for his oral surgery residency at U.C.L.A.


William Nelson (D.D.S.’75/D), Mrs. Hardenia and Jim Watkins (D.D.S.’75/D) and Charles Johnson (D.D.S.’76/D) enjoy Richmond’s Black History Museum and Cultural Center in the city’s Jackson Ward neighborhood. Dr. Watkins was named the dental school’s Alumni Star in 2003 and received the Dr. Harry Lyons Outstanding Dental Alumnus award in 2009.

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Executive Summary – Advancing Dental Education in the 21st Century

In preparation for the VCU School of Dentistry’s strategic planning process, Dean David C. Sarrett, DMD, MS, provides an executive summary representing an analysis of Advancing Dental Education in the 21st Century

This summary provides a “snapshot” of the challenges, trends and issues in today’s dental education.

Areas of Challenge


  1. In past 20 years, public support decreased from 57% to 18%
  2. 2004 to 2011 tuition at public schools increased 67%

Student Debt

  1. In 2014, average is $247K
  2. 20% of grads exceed $350K
  3. 44% of students from families with $100K to $200K income
  4. 15% of students from those with less than $50K
  5. 54% of 1996 grads had paid off their debt 17 years after graduation

Number of Graduates

  • 1980s and 90s school closure reasons:
  1. Budget
  2. Relevance to university
  3. Decline in applicants
  4. Perception that caries is no longer a national problem
  5. Dentists report lack of business
  • 1970s and 80s grads climbed to 6300 per year
  • 1994 dropped to 3744
  • Current: 6000 per year

Dental Schools and the University

  1. 42 of 66 schools are in research intensive universities
  2. New schools are not in research intensive institutions

Pre- and Post-Doctoral Education

  1. Broader integration of biomedical and clinical sciences happening
  2. Number of basic science faculty reduced by 47% in last decade
  3. Community-based experience growing
  4. IPE
  5. Poor preparation of students to treat children
  6. Is goal of “practice ready” still realistic?
  7. Majority of clinical experience in school clinics that lose money
  8. Pre- and post-doctoral and DH clinic income only 13% of average budget
  9. 50% variability in clinical time for students – lack of agreement on amount needed
  10. In 2015, 47% of grads attended post-doc program
  11. Positions have increased to 3616 from 2836 in 2004
  12. 15% of post-doc students are international graduates
  13. Specialist income 67% higher than GPs
  14. School-based advanced education programs have high tuitions

Enrollment of AA and HIS Students

  1. DDS AA 4.7%
  2. DDS HIS 7.7%
  3. One-third of schools enrolled 1 or no AA
  4. Similar percentages for advanced education enrollment

Dental Schools as Safety Nets

  • 1.2M treated by schools


  1. 2005 to 2014 at 3% in full-time to part-time clinical faculty
  2. Basic science faculty decreased 50%
  3. Students rose 30% but faculty only 3.8%
  4. Student-to-faculty ratio increased from 7.3% to 8.7% from 2005 to 2014
  5. These are cost cutting measures
  6. Average faculty associate professor income $146,875 while private practitioner is $179,900
  7. 2014 39% of full-time faculty were 60 years or older

Bailit: How Many Dentists Are Needed in 2014?

  1. In 2013, there were 195K active dentists
  2. With current graduation rates the number of dentists is expected to increase from 62 per 100K people to 63
  3. 35% to 40% of dentists report they are not busy enough
  4. Estimate based on trends
  • Oral Health Trends
  1. 188% decline in DMFT
  2. Prevalence of periodontal disease 46% with 9% severe
  3. Severe mainly in people older than 50 and smokers
  4. Prevelance or perio disease expected to decline but number of people with disease increases
  5. Edentulism 5% in 2012, by 2050 at 30% decline
  6. 2012 only 8% had one or more missing teeth
  • Utilization of Dental Services
  1. Restorations and crowns have declined 30% to 35% in past 21 years
  2. Extractions and root canals declined 20% to 30%
  3. Bridges and partial dentures have declined 50%
  4. Future services: botox, sleep apnea?
  • New Technologies
  1. No clear trend on how this may affect demand for services
  • Trends in Practice Organization
  1. By 2040, 25% of care may be provided by large corporate dentistry companies
  2. The data supporting this is not robust
  • Trends in Demand for Dental Care
  1. US population expected to grow to 340M by 2040
  2. Per capita dental visits are expected to grow very slowly, less than 1% by 2040
  • Number of dentists needed in 2040
  1. Surplus estimated to be 32% to 110%
  2. HRSA estimates shortage of 15,600 by 2025 based on disease to be treated, not demand and payment for dental services

Manski and Meyerhoefer: Projecting the Demand for Dental Care in 2040

  • US Population expected to grow to 380M in 2040
  • Age Trends
  1. Under 18 flat
  2. 18-65 lower
  3. Over 65 increased
  • Demographic Trends
  1. Growth of blacks and whites steady but a lower rate
  2. Growth of Hispanics at higher rate
  • Income Estimates
  1. Percent of households with income $35K to $75K are declining
  2. Percent of households with income over $100K are increasing
  3. Other income ranges remained mostly flat
  • Dental visits have declined 7% from 2006 to 2012
  1. 316M in 2004
  2. 278M in 2011
  3. 308M in 2013
  4. Adult visits have declined
  5. Children visits have increased
  • Dental Expenditures
  1. $85B in 2012 compared with $1.3T total health expenditures
  2. Dental expenditures have steadily increased between 1960 and 2012 except for several short decline periods
  • Dental Insurance
  1. 64% of population had some type in 2014
  2. $85B spent in 2012
    1. $35B private
    2. $4.7B Medicaid
    3. $789M Medicare
    4. $41B cash
  • Projections
  1. Visits rise from 294M in 2017 to 319M in 2040
  2. This 8.5% increase is less than the 19% population growth
  3. Visits per person drop from 0.92 in 2017 to 0.84 in 2040
  4. Percent of population with a dental visit per year increase from 42% in 2015 to 44% in 2040

Ecklund and Bailit: Estimating the Number of Dentists Needed by 2040

In 2040, the US population is projected to be 380,000,000.28. If 42% of the population use dental care annually, 160 million Americans would have at least one dental visit that year. Assuming that den­tists average 2,000 patients per year in 2040, 80,000 FTE dentists would be needed to provide care to this population. If 67% of the population seek care in 2040, 255 million people would require 127,000 FTE dentists.

Based on ADA estimates, there would be about 240,000 dentists in 2040 if current trends continue with no further growth in the number of graduates. Some 70% (168,000 dentists) would be in full-time practice. This suggests that the surplus of dentists would likely be between 32% and 110%.

Register now for annual ethics lecture

Zarkowski to present at annual ethics lecture

Pamela Zarkowski, J.D., provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Detroit, Mercy, presents “Go- Stop- Yield: The Intersection of Law and Ethics” on March 1, 2019, as part of the School of Dentistry’s Mirmelstein Ethics Lecture. The annual lecture is part of the school’s continuing education program.

Preregistration is required.

About the Mirmelstein Ethics Lecture

Cyril R. Mirmelstein graduated from the College of William and Mary then entered the MCV School of Dentistry in 1938. His education was marked by hard work and good friendships.

“With a class of 28 guys, we were a close-knit group and many friendships endured for years,” he said.

After earning his dental degree in 1942, Mirmelstein spent a short time as an instructor in the school before serving in World War II. When he returned from service, Mirmelstein entered private practice in Newport News, Va., and retired in 1990.

Throughout his career, Mirmelstein served his profession, his school and his community through generous volunteer activities. A longstanding member of the Virginia Dental Association, he was also active with the State Board of Dentistry and served as the organization’s president and as a member of the Southern Regional Testing Agency.

The MCV Alumni Association named him its Outstanding Alumnus in 1998 for his many contributions to his alma mater and to dentistry.

Mirmelstein established the Cyril R. Mirmelstein Ethics Lectureship in 1988. His objectives were to educate and stimulate faculty and students to become aware of their responsibility to dental and professional ethics, to pioneer an ongoing program that would be effective in achieving these goals by stressing the satisfaction derived from the dental profession, and to establish an ongoing program that would gain national recognition and serve as a model for other schools.

Through Mirmelstein’s generosity and imagination, the lectureship has grown, nurtured and supported new generations of students, and become an integral part of the school’s curriculum.

To learn more about the school’s lectureships, professorships, special endowments and scholarships, visit Reflections, a special area of the school’s website that showcases alumni and donor philanthropy.

December 2018 Newsletter

Department of Endodontics December 2018 Newsletter

Watch: Dr. Richard Archer 2018 Osetek Award Winner

Watch: Dr. Gary Hartwell 2018 Coolidge Award Winner

Watch: Dr. Garry L. Myers’ presidential speech AAE 18

Our own Garry Myers D.D.S., 2017-2018 president, spoke at the 2018 American Association of Endodontists meeting in Denver.

Akinkugbe and Brecher named Revere Scholars

Recognizing outstanding achievements of junior faculty


RICHMOND, VA – Aug. 27, 2018 –  Aderonke A Akinkugbe, B.D.S., M.P.H., Ph.D., assistant professor, Oral Health Promotion and Community Outreach, and Erica A. Brecher, D.M.D., M.S., assistant professor, Pediatric Dentistry, have been named Revere Scholars at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry.

Revere Scholars exemplify the highest standards of the oral health profession as modeled by James H. Revere Jr. (D.D.S. ’65), former instructor, interim dean, fundraiser, mentor and friend to the school for more nearly 50 years.

“Congratulations to Dr. Akinkugbe and Dr. Brecher on their professional accomplishments and outstanding service to our school,” says David C. Sarrett, D.M.D., M.S., dean of the VCU School of Dentistry and associate vice president for health sciences, faculty affairs. “The selection process was rigorous and I am proud to announce this well-deserved recognition.”

The Revere Scholars program, funded by the Dr. James H. Revere Jr. Professorship for Faculty Excellence, an endowment fund, recognizes outstanding achievements of junior faculty members at the rank of assistant professor and provides funding for their research and scholarly efforts.

“Dr. Revere taught, advised and mentored several thousand students in their chosen career, a career that he truly loves,” says Sarrett. “It is through the generosity of these former students that this award in his name has been made possible.”

Spearheading the efforts to make the professorship fund possible were fellow alumni James C. Burns (D.D.S. ’72; Ph.D. ’80) and John A. Svirsky (D.D.S. ’73; M.Ed. ’79).

Revere Scholars are appointed for a term of four years.

About the VCU School of Dentistry

Founded in 1893, the VCU School of Dentistry educates practitioners capable of meeting the oral health care needs of the communities they serve. The school provides opportunities for selected qualified individuals to study dentistry, advanced dental specialties, and dental hygiene under most favorable conditions and in accordance with the standards established by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association.

May 2018 Newsletter

May 2018 Newsletter

Honoring a long-time leader at Delta Dental of Virginia

Student scholarship helps retain best and brightest

RICHMOND, VA – April 4, 2018 – Through a $50,000 scholarship gift, Delta Dental of Virginia is honoring one of its own and improving access to dental care.

The George A. Levicki, D.D.S., Scholarship at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry memorializes Levicki’s service as the dental benefits carrier’s president and CEO. After more than three decades with the Roanoke-based company, Levicki retired in 2017.

“This scholarship will be just one more enduring legacy of Dr. Levicki,” said Laura Thomas, chair of the Delta Dental of Virginia board of directors. “By investing in the education of Virginia dental students, we are increasing the likelihood that our best and brightest will stay right here to help improve and protect the dental health of Virginians,” said Thomas.

The national average for dental graduates’ educational debt is over $250,000. On average, a dentist leaves VCU slightly more than $200,000 in debt. While VCU graduates incur lower than the national average in debt, they are still faced with this financial burden. Many new dentists choose to practice in areas with opportunities for competitive salaries and greater earning potential due to their indebtedness. Those decisions often help further the gap between service providers and those who need access to oral health care the most.

“In some rural areas of Virginia, the dentist to patient ratio may be a low as 1-to-5,000,” says David C. Sarrett, D.M.D., M.S., dean of the VCU School of Dentistry and associate vice president for Health Sciences, Faculty Affairs. “Through this gift, Delta Dental of Virginia is paving the way for more students to provide critical health care to underserved Virginians. That’s a legacy of which Dr. Levicki, a Virginia native from Wise County and one of our leading alumni, can be very proud.”

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 225 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Seventy-nine of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. The VCU Health brand represents the health sciences schools of VCU, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center and Level I trauma center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, MCV Physicians and Virginia Premier Health Plan. For more, please visit and For more about the VCU School of Dentistry, please visit

About Delta Dental of Virginia

Delta Dental of Virginia is a member company of the Delta Dental Plans Association, the nation’s largest, most experienced dental benefits carrier providing dental coverage to more than 75 million people in more than 139,000 groups across the nation. For additional information about Delta Dental of Virginia, visit

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