Sharon K. Lanning, D.D.S. (cert. ’99/D)
Professor and Chair, Department of Periodontics
Core Faculty, VCU Center for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Care

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the way we live, study, work and connect with each other. I hope this message finds you and your family well, both physically and emotionally, during these unprecedented and challenging times. I also hope your staff and patients are safe as you continue to adapt to new protocols while ensuring the financial stability of your practice.

Over the past few months, I have had the distinct honor of witnessing our resilient and capable faculty, residents, and staff maintain the department’s mission under the most difficult of circumstances. In March, Governor Northam’s executive orders closed the university and prohibited non-emergency dental care. During this time, periodontal residents joined those from other disciplines in providing phone triage for all School of Dentistry acute and emergency patients. Periodontal residents also continued their educational journey via remote learning as guided by Drs. Robert Sabatini (D.D.S. ’81/D) and Thomas Waldrop (D.D.S. ’73/D). Faculty, residents and alumni also came together in numerous virtual sessions to share best practices of patient care and clinical procedures.

The following alumni presented on a topic of their choice.

Fadi Hasan (M.S.D. ’15/D) – Photography and Case Presentation: Soft Tissue and Anterior Implants

Sarmad Bakuri (M.S.D. ’14/D) – The Evolution of Gum Grafting Techniques

Thomas Glazier (D.D.S. ’12/D; M.S.D. ’15/D) – Perio-Pros on Natural Teeth

Samuel Malkinson (M.S.D.’12/D) –  Tertiary Implant Stability and Beyond Residency

Will Trahan (M.S.D. ’15/D) – Case Presentation: Various Topics

Anya Rapport Rost (M.S.D. ’14/D) – Hybrids

Stephanie Voth (D.D.S. ’09/D; M.S.D. ’13/D) – Case Presentation: Soft Tissue

John White (M.S.D. ’18/D) – Ridge Augmentation

VCU granted the re-opening of the School of Dentistry, including the J. Gary Maynard, Jr. D.D.S. and Richard D. Wilson, D.D.S. Clinic, on May 26, 2020. Upon re-opening the clinics, the first priority was provision of treatment for the backlog of School of Dentistry patients first by our faculty, and subsequently by our residents. Clinic staff supported this effort with teamwork and tenacity. We were recognized as a leader in the schoolwide effort to safely resume patient care, and contribute to its financial recovery. Much appreciation goes out to the Class of 2020, Drs. Jill Beitz, D.D.S. (D.D.S. ’15/D; M.S.D. ’20/D), Peter Lee, D.M.D. (M.S.D. ’20/D), and Denver Lyons, D.D.S. (D.D.S. ’17/D; M.S.D. ’20/D), who led by example, worked tirelessly, and utilized their terrific surgical skills to help us earn this recognition. 

The beginning of the fall semester came with many twists and turns. Faculty, residents and staff tolerated numerous scheduling changes and adapted to continuously evolving clinic protocols. Faculty dug-in to learn new strategies for remote instruction and student assessment as most didactic teaching was converted to virtual platforms, and largely remains so today. Their flexibility, perseverance, and commitment to achieving the department’s mission have been exemplary and are greatly appreciated.

On behalf of the periodontal faculty, we wish we could be with you at the American Academy of Periodontology Annual Session and hear about your personal and professional challenges and successes. In lieu of this face-to-face event, we have put together this newsletter to update you on our many accomplishments beyond those shared above. Please look at the exciting things happening at VCU within the department, school and health science campus through the links listed below.

EDITOR’S NOTE: My thanks to all who helped create this newsletter and to Dr. Robert Sabatini for his expert editing skills. And I am extremely grateful to those who supported my journey to serving as permanent Chair of the Department. I am honored to have this opportunity to lead in this new capacity and work with alumni, department members and school administration to ensure our evolution as an effective and productive Department in the areas of teaching, service and scholarship.     

Resources and links you might like:

VCU School of Dentistry

VCU School of Dentistry Department of Periodontics

VCU Health

School of Dentistry Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Lanning appointed chair of the Department of Periodontics

Categories Periodontics
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