Endodontic residency update

by Dr. Garry Myers

Springtime in Richmond is just around the corner and that can mean only one thing to the endodontic residents — preparing for the final push through this academic year! Before looking forward though, let’s take a quick glance back to the recent past.

Who’s who and what are they doing?

When you last heard about the program we were in late summer with first year residents (Lulu Alyahya, B.D.S., Jeremy Hargrove, D.M.D, Ben Brown, D.M.D., and Inderpal Sappal, D.D.S.) settling into their new clinical routine. Our second year residents (Sarah Alkanderi, B.D.S., Eric Foisy, D.M.D., Ray Pandez, D.D.S., and Madison Saunders, D.D.S. (D.D.S. ‘17/D), were transitioning into seasoned resident clinicians, and our recent graduates were heading off into the real world as endodontists! 

All of these residents have quickly bonded as a group and the graduate clinic has been a busy place with a lot of positive energy as each is working hard at developing their diagnostic and clinical endodontic skills.

AAE, MOM, VDA and more

In November, the eight residents and I had the opportunity to attend the AAE Insight Track in Austin, Texas, where we saw some excellent CE presentations and enjoyed a little taste of Austin. 

Enjoying a little Texas Barbecue in Austin.

Shortly after our return, residents Jeremy Hargrove and Lulu Alyahya ventured to Martinsville to participate in the one-day MOM project sponsored by the VDA and they represented VCU endodontics very well as they completed numerous root canals during their day there.

Representing VCU School of Dentistry Department of Endodontics at MOM in Martinsville.

We had the pleasure of hosting a few guest speakers this fall – John Olmsted, D.D.S., M.S., and later in the fall, Carolyn Primus, Ph.D., M.S. – who each presented about more new materials and instruments in the world of endodontics for our residents to digest. 

Guest speakers this fall included John Olmstead, D.D.S., M.S. (center, rear).
Carolyn Primus, Ph.D., M.S , second from left.

Also, during this past fall we learned that all four of our recent graduates successfully passed the ABE oral examination (congrats to Khalifa Alhaddad, D.D.S. (D.D.S. ‘14/D, M.S. ‘19/D), Lena Holz (M.S. ‘19/D), Adam Polinsky (M.S. ‘19/D), and Adam Sarnowski (M.S. ‘19/D), and one of our 2017 graduates, Eshwar Arasu (M.S. ‘17/D), officially became a Diplomate of the ABE upon passing his Case Portfolio examination (a BIG congrats to Eshwar)! 

With the holiday break looming on the horizon, the residents then joined the rest of the endodontic department faculty and staff at a festive party held this year in the party room at Dr. Spatafore’s complex. It was a great way to wind up 2019.

AAE20 – look for VCU!

Looking forward, the schedule for the residents will be a full one this spring. In late January they will be off to Baltimore to attend the annual College of Diplomates Board Review Course. And then just five weeks later AAE20 comes rolling around in Nashville where VCU has had five resident research posters and two resident table clinics accepted for presentation at this meeting. 

Should you find your way to Nashville, be sure to stop by and visit each of these poster and table clinic presentations as they will cover topics ranging from cervical invasive root resorption to dynamic navigation in treatment of calcified canals to the influence of CBCT scans in planning molar retreatment cases. The residents have worked hard on their research projects all year! 

In addition to these poster clinics and table clinics, our own Sameer Jain B.D.S., M.S., M.S.D, and I have each had presentations accepted for the AAE20 program. 

Dr. Spatafore will be recognized at the AAE20 annual meeting as the recipient of the Coolidge Award, the highest award presented by our organization. Congrats to Dr. Spatafore! 

So VCU will be well represented in Nashville and what better opportunity for our alumni and faculty to attend an annual meeting than one like this where you can share the accomplishments that your program has achieved. 

We are so appreciative of the foundation that has been laid by each of our predecessors (residents and faculty alike) that has spring-boarded your endodontics program to where it is today. Where endodontists train endodontists.

Once the residents return from Nashville they will be staring at the endodontic thesis defense presentations coming their way followed by mock oral examinations. There is no rest for the weary at this point in the semester! 

Where are they going?

When the spring semester does finally conclude, it looks like our second-year residents will end up in the following places – Erik Foisy, D.M.D., is headed to Phoenix; Ray Pandez, D.D.S., to the San Francisco Bay area; Madison Saunders, D.D.S. (D.D.S. ’17/D), to Charlottesville; and Sarah Alkanderi, B.D.S.,will remain here in Richmond as she will complete a one-year fellowship program within our endodontic department.

I would be remiss if I did not express my sincere gratitude to each and every one of you – affiliate faculty, resident alumni and friends of VCU endodontics – for all of the support you have provided to this program and to me. 

You are truly friends and colleagues that I will value for years to come. 

I hope to see you all in Nashville! (Now back to preparing for the next resident literature review seminar.)