Dr. Joe Vaughn Chief Resident

Hello, alumni! Hope this update finds you well. 

Last July we welcomed three incoming first year residents who, along with Dr. Aziz Mallik, make up VCU Endo’s Class of 2025. This has really been a great group of guys to work with. We’ve all meshed well together and have made the resident room not only a place of learning, but we make sure to have some fun as well. 

Things are business as usual around the halls of Lyons. All eight of us are staying busy in clinic and balancing that with a healthy dose of classic literature seminars. Because first year residents transitioned to shorter appointments in January, we are now seeing three to four patients a day. 

We’re always talking about how thankful we are to be a part of a program with such a great clinical reputation and chairs that are always filled with patients. We have a lot of pride in VCU and would put our experience up against any other program in the country.

First day of a new scrub color. L to R: Rudnicki, Hediger, Lee, Vaughn, Ye, Mallik, DeGracie

The second year residents (Jake DeGracie, Colton Fischer, Jing Ye, and I) have finished our thesis projects. Despite our limited research experience, we all feel like we’ve put together some nice projects. We’re excited about sharing our work with the endodontics community, so if you’re at AAE23 in May, come see what we’ve been working on! We will all be participating in the Oral Research category. The first year residents will also be busy at this meeting, as they are putting together some nice table clinic presentations and are on the floor presenting during the conference as well. 

We residents have been working hard, but we also have some fun too! Dr. Myers has been great at making sure we get out of Richmond every now and then to attend some great resident events. In June 2022 we attended the Microsurgery course at Penn Endo in Philadelphia. It was a great learning experience and served as a nice transition into second year, where we perform the majority of our surgical procedures. In August 2022, residents attended the APICES conference at the AAE in Chicago

at the Penn surgical course
At the Penn microsurgery course. L to R: Fischer, DeGracie, Dr. Christina Martin (MS ‘22/D), Vaughn, Ye
AT APICES at the Chicago bean
At the “bean” in Chicago for APICES L to R: Colton Fischer, Banks Lee, Will Rudnicki, Ryan Hediger

There are some valuable continuing education topics at these conferences, but they also serve as great networking opportunities. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that we should take great pride in being part of the VCU family. Our program continues to be one of the most impressive in the country, and this becomes evident from our conversations with other residents. 

holiday party at the Myers'
Holiday at the Myers’ L to R: Jing Ye, Jake DeGracie, Garry Myers, Colton Fischer, Joe Vaughn

We have some fun back here in Richmond as well. So far this year, we’ve had group outings from rafting down the James and ax throwing, to the infamous Myers’ Christmas Jeopardy game and a very competitive day of bowling. 

halloween in the clinic
Halloween 2022: The Endo Files L to R: Myers, Fischer, Vaughn, Rudnicki, Mallik, Hediger, DeGracie, Lee, Ye

Proud to be a part of VCU and a soon-to-be VCU alum! 

See you on the other side,

Joe Vaughn, chief resident

Meet the Endo Resident Class of 2025

Abdulaziz Mallik (D.D.S.’17/D), grew up in Kuwait and attended VCU for dental school. After earning his D.D.S. degree, he completed the Kuwait Ministry of Health advanced education in general dentistry program and joined the Kuwait University Faculty of Dentistry as a clinical instructor. He is excited to be back in Richmond to continue his dental education in endodontics. Abdulaziz looks forward to enjoying the River City with his wife, Fajer.

Ryan Hediger grew up in Loveland, Colorado, and his love for science bloomed at Colorado State University where he graduated with honors in 2014. He earned his D.M.D. at Midwestern University in Glendale, Arizona, where he also enjoyed hiking, camping, and the endless outdoor opportunities the Southwest has to offer. From 2018 to 2022, he served in the United States Navy Dental Corps. He was first stationed in Virginia Beach where he met his wife, Asha. He went on to serve the dental needs of the Marine Corps Special Operations Unit, MARSOC Raiders in coastal North Carolina. He completed his time in service at Camp Pendleton, California, with his wife and 11-year old dog, Breck. Ryan is passionate about helping his patients save their teeth and overcoming the common fear of receiving root canal treatment.

Banks Lee, originally from Manning, South Carolina, finished his undergraduate degree at the University of South Carolina. From there he received his DMD at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. He was a HPSP Air Force recipient and did his first active duty tour in Las Vegas, Nevada, along with an AEGD residency. He was then stationed in Washington, D.C., to serve out the rest of his commitment, after which he moved to Richmond to start the graduate endodontic residency at VCU. In his free time, Banks enjoys hunting wild deer and turkeys, going down ‘rabbit holes’ on various topics, and gamecock sports.

Will Rudnicki, D.D.S, grew up in rural north Louisiana and went to Texas Christian University (go Frogs!) for his undergraduate degrees. Then he studied at Texas A&M College of Dentistry in Dallas. After graduating dental school in 2021, Will moved to Chicago for a General Practice Residency at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. Will is very excited to explore Richmond and be a part of VCU’s dental team!

Categories Endodontics