UCC update – by Dr. Steve Marinelli

The Urgent Care Clinic continues to provide patients with easy access to care as well as invaluable training for undergraduate students in the area of oral diagnosis, endodontics, operative dentistry, orofacial pain, and minor oral surgery. Since inception, the UCC has treated approximately 2,500 patients generating self-sustaining revenue as well as referrals to other specialty departments. Students greatly enjoy the additional experience they receive by treating interesting, and in some instances, very challenging cases.

Every year the Excellence in Urgent Care Clinic Award is given to a dental student in recognition for his/her outstanding service and commitment to providing urgent treatment in full scope of clinical dentistry throughout the year. Congratulations to Linda Nguyen (D.D.S. ’19), who received the 2019 award.

Due to popular demand, a decision has been made for the class of 2020 to increase both the number of D4 rotating students and their duration of time scheduled in the UCC to two weeks. This will significantly enhance student clinical capabilities, increase patient access to care, and allow for a greater number of patient screenings to take place each week. Collaboration between the UCC and various departments such as oral pathology, radiology, oral surgery and endodontics has benefited patients greatly. Diagnosis and treatment is rendered both effectively and efficiently.

In summary, short-term goals for the Urgent Care Clinic have been met, so now we plan for an even bigger vision for the future. Stay tuned.

Pre-doc clinic updates – by Dr. Sameer Jain

Our goal for FY 2019 was to revamp and develop a consistent endodontic curriculum that provides pre-doc students with a firmer foundation in endodontics, including a better understanding of the biologic basis of endodontic disease, diagnosis, treatment planning and prognosis, as well as today’s state-of-the-art techniques and technologies. Apart from training the students to efficiently perform root canal treatments, our emphasis is also to make them lifelong learners of our specialty where their foundation knowledge can lead to better patient care in the future. Since taking over the endo clinical course, we have had a stark rise in the student failures, a testament of higher expectations and benchmarks set by our department. In spite of the initial failure rate, for FY 2019, all the D4 pre-doc students were able to competently finish their endodontic requirements in record time with about two months remaining for graduation. Currently, the pre-doc endo clinic along with the UCC shoulders the burden for endodontic emergencies, providing real world experience for the students.

Dr. Sameer Jain in the clinic.

Welcome new PT faculty

I would also take this opportunity to welcome our new pre-doc part-time endodontic faculty, Dr. Linda Baughan (M.Ed. ’78/E; D.D.S. ’83; cert ’93/HP; HS ’00). She is a Richmond native and comes back to VCU after previously teaching at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Roseman University of Health Sciences in Utah and University of New England in Maine. We admire her enthusiasm to give back and dedicate valuable time and effort to sharing her diverse experience and knowledge with the next generation.

We are also grateful to and sincerely thank Dr. James Heffernan, Dr. Nick Schroeder, Dr. Daniel Bartling, Dr. Enrique Oltra, Dr. Valeria Pizzini, Dr. Deepika Ganesh and Dr. Dentonio Worrell for their part-time commitment.

Research Development

My research activity focuses on endodontic biomaterials and translational technology. This has led to projects for interested D3/D4 students and also has facilitated interns and residents for their master’s thesis projects.

Currently, we are working on establishing the country’s first dynamic navigation model for minimally-invasive endodontics. The long-term goal is to develop a lab facility that is solely dedicated for dynamic guided endodontic research and clinical procedures. In the past year, we were able to collaborate with five students and four faculty members on multiple projects including clinical trials in the realm of endodontics that led to two AD Williams Fellowship and potential faculty research grants and publications. I am also reviewer for three endodontic journals (Journal of Endodontics, International Endodontic Journal and Clinical Oral Investigations). Outside the school, I am serving as a nominated member of AAE’s Research and Scientific Affairs Committee, which reviews and disperses funds for research grants and scientific presentations submitted by all the endodontic programs around the country.

Personal Note

It’s been almost 18 months at VCU, and I continue to strive to find ways to interconnect my teaching, research, and service to create a body of work that has meaning and longevity. I am grateful for the guidance of my colleagues within the department that helped me achieve my board certification last year. I greatly appreciate the opportunities I have been afforded in the past year at VCU and I look forward to continue making a positive impact in the field of endodontics.

Categories Endodontics
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