The American Dental Education Association’s (ADEA) Annual Session concluded on March 14, and VCU School of Dentistry faculty, staff and students made their presence known through multiple awards, poster sessions and overall involvement in the conference. 

ADEA’s Annual Session is an international gathering of institutions dedicated to oral health education. Each year, it showcases emerging trends in dental education and fosters collaborations among the participants through research poster sessions, plenary sessions, exhibit halls and formal and informal gatherings. It also presents a number of awards to students and faculty who are helping to shape dental education and the profession overall. 

Showcasing leadership in diversity, equity and inclusion

Carlos Smith, D.D.S., M.Div., was honored with the inaugural Dr. Jeanne C. Sinkford Faculty Leadership Award.

Two VCU faculty members were honored at this year’s conference, exemplifying the school’s commitment to advancing DEI in the profession. Carlos Smith, D.D.S., M.Div., director of diversity, equity and inclusion and the ethics curriculum as well as associate professor in the Department of Dental Public Health and Policy, received ADEA’s inaugural Dr. Jeanne C. Sinkford Faculty Leadership Award, and Paula Coates, D.D.S., M.S., assistant professor in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, was selected as one of four Faculty of Color Tuition Scholarship recipients. 

The Dr. Jeanne C. Sinkford Faculty Leadership Award award recognizes faculty members who are trailblazers in dental education, embracing compassion, integrity, humanism and social justice and is intended to inspire and empower the next generation of leaders in oral health education. In his acceptance speech, Smith charged everyone to do what is necessary to create a profession that all perceive as trustworthy, just, accessible and free from the systemic ills that plague our society. More information about Smith’s award including his acceptance speech can be found on our news blog

Coates’ scholarship supports professional development activities for faculty of color in dental and allied dental education in the early stages of their careers. Each of the four recipients are chosen to participate in ADEA’s ADEA Emerging Leaders Program, a three-and-a-half-day program that covers topics such as leadership styles, team building and time management. The program strives to improve teaching abilities, increase leadership skills and advance participant’s understanding and mastery of other critical elements of a successful academic career.  

“It is an honor to have been selected to receive one of the  ADEA Faculty of Color Tuition Scholarship Awards,” Coates said. “This award will afford me the opportunity to continue my development as a faculty member and leader within dental academia. I am also excited and proud to represent VCU School of Dentistry in this year’s ADEA Emerging Leaders Program cohort.”

Making an impact within ADEA

Marion Manski, M.S., R.D.H., director of the Dental Hygiene program, and dental hygiene student Makeba Diallo.

The Annual Session is a time at which service positions within ADEA transition to new leadership. This year, VCU had several faculty members and a student assumed new responsibilities. 

Marion Manski, M.S., R.D.H., director of the Dental Hygiene program, began her term as chair of the ADEA Council of Allied Dental Program Directors. The purpose of the council is to represent and promote allied dental education within the policies, procedures and activities of the American Dental Education Association. It consists of directors of dental assisting, dental hygiene, dental therapy and dental laboratory technology education programs at affiliate member institutions.

Ascending to the role of chair following service as member at large, secretary and chair elect, Manski will lead the Council’s board to represent and ensure the interests of allied dental programs within ADEA. She will lead monthly meetings, set strategic direction, and attend the annual Joint Council Administrative Board meeting in January 2024. 

“I’m proud of my service on the Council and appreciate the opportunity to represent the interests of dental hygiene and other allied dental professionals within dentistry,” Manski said. “I hope to use my position as chair to make meaningful contributions and look forward to collaborating with my peers on important issues facing our professions.”

VaCora Rainey, D.D.S., assistant professor in the Department of General Practice, also assumed a new leadership role within ADEA. She was elected to serve as the secretary of the Practice Management Section, which facilitates communication between teachers of dental practice administration and acts as a forum for issues in the disciplines of economics, marketing, finance, sociology, informatics, law, and policy and management. Leadership roles within ADEA Sections are successive positions. Following her term as secretary, Rainey will assume the role of chair elect and, ultimately, chair. 

Ana Andrada, D.D.S., D.M.Sc., director of predoctoral endodontics and associate professor in the Department of Endodontics, also took on new leadership positions within ADEA. She ascended to the role of chair elect of ADEA’s Section on Endodontics, which provides guidance in predoctoral and postdoctoral endodontic education research and service while promoting a strong liaison with its specialty organization. Next year, she will step into the position of section chair. In addition, Andrada began a three-year term on the Council of Faculties, which is part of ADEA’s Administrative Board. 

For the past two years, Aniket Jadhav, D.D.S., M.D.S., has served as councilor of the Section on Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, which helps to increase the knowledge in and appreciation for the art and science of teaching oral and maxillofacial radiology. This year, Jadhav led a presentation on the prescription of radiographs in dentistry, walking participants through considerations when performing clinical examinations on patients.

Dental hygiene student Makeba Diallo is also making a difference within ADEA by serving as an allied dental health liaison on its Council of Students, Residents and Fellows (CORSF). In this role, she will work with the CORSF team to develop an action plan to recruit and include Allied Dental Health students in ADEA CORSF and provide Allied Dental Health perspective in ADEA initiatives. Diallo was also selected to attend the Student Diversity Leadership Program (SDLP), which took place on March 10-11. The SDLP assists participants in the development of leadership skills so that they can better serve as leaders of inclusive excellence within their dental schools and allied programs and engage fully in a culturally competent, complex global society.

Student success on display in fellowship program

Dental students Shree Patel (pictured left with Ana Andrada, D.D.S.) and Suraj Kandalam (right) both presented posters during the conference.

Founded in 2006, the ADEA Academic Dental Careers Fellowship Program (ADCFP) seeks to discover and grow tomorrow’s dental faculty and researchers by providing current faculty tools on how to mentor allied, advanced education and predoctoral dental students. Through one-on-one mentorship, the program provides each academic dental institution a flexible framework that functions as a window for students into the “day-to-day” life and experiences of dental faculty at academic dental institutions. 

Andrada proudly accompanied third-year dental student Shree Patel and second-year dental student Suraj Kandalam to the ADCFP certificate reception. In addition to participating in the reception, both Kandalam and Patel presented posters at the conference. Patel showcased two posters, one focusing on computer-based multimedia and the flipped classroom model in facilitating learning while the other summarized her experience as Andrada’s mentee through ADCFP. Similar to Patel, Kandalam’s poster focused on his mentorship experience with Garry Myers, D.D.S., director of the Advanced Education in Endodontics program and professor in the Department of Endodontics. 

A number of other VCU faculty, staff and students attended the ADEA Annual Session. It’s an event the school looks forward to every year, and we can’t wait to do it again in 2024!

View more photos from the event at the following link: ADEA Annual Session 2023 Photos.

Categories Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Schoolwide News