Congratulations on your upcoming matriculation into the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry.
As you are making preparations to start dental school, there are a number of important items we would like for you to be aware of prior to your arrival on campus. We have set up a web site for the incoming students within the School of Dentistry’s student and faculty intranet. You will find required information on the student and faculty intranet that you will need to read prior to coming to school.
The student and faculty intranet is password protected. When prompted, you will need to enter your VCU eID and password. If you have not set up your eID and password to access your VCU email, go to the VCU eID finder web site, supply your V number and birthday and click “find”. Set a password for your eID and set your security questions.
Hope you have a wonderful and fun filled summer. We are excitedly looking forward to you becoming a part of the long-standing history and tradition of excellent dental practitioners representing the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry.
Ryan Brown was born and raised in Richmond, Va., and has been married to his beautiful wife Tiffany for six years with three children: Dakota, 5; Teagan, 3; and Connor, 16 months. Brown is the clinic manager for the Department of Endodontics. He has been with the VCU School of Dentistry since 2010 and with endodontics since April 2012. He manages the day-to-day operations of the graduate clinic and the overall flow of the clinic to ensure the best care for VCU patients. He also assists chairside with the residents during root canal treatments. He loves all things dental but has a special place in his heart for endodontics.
Brown received all of his training here at the VCU School of Dentistry, as this is a second career for him. He went to school to be a machinist and was a machine mechanic for 10 years.
In the graduate endodontics clinic, the team provides quality root canal treatment with eight residents as well as a wealth of full-time and part-time faculty delivering many years of endodontic knowledge. They treat between 24 and 36 patients each day, four days a week, as they service all the departments in the dental school. The team also has a presence at the Mission of Mercy Project in Wise, Va., where they treat underprivileged patients who normally could not afford endodontic care. Go, Team Endo!
Trey Hall is from a little town in southern Virginia called Scottsburg. He moved to Richmond, Va., in 2007. He got interested in dentistry after visiting his family dentist and seeing how he really helped people who were ashamed of their smiles. Hall spoke with his dentist about the profession and decided to try it out.
He attended J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College and received his CDA as well as X-ray certification. After graduating, he came to work at the VCU school of Dentistry. In March 2012, he started working in the Department of Endodontics and has been here ever since. Being at the school, he has learned a lot about root canals and patient management.
Ana Y. Vargas is from Costa Rica. She found her passion for dentistry in Costa Rica when she worked as a dental assistant for an endodontist for one summer as a part-time job. When she came to the United States, she continued to love dentistry and decided to pursue a certificate as a dental assistant while working in public health with a general dentist, where she gained a great deal of experience. Afterward, she worked in pediatric dentistry where it’s impossible not to feel like a kid again. She learned a lot of different procedures and treatments like oral sedation as well as general anesthesia, and she now has an Anesthesia Assistant Certification.
Now, Vargas is happily working in endodontics, which she loved from day one. She has learned how to take CT scans and is amazed by the procedures and surgeries as well as all the different things that she continues to learn every day from faculty and residents.
Sarah Seckman is from Midlothian, Va. She originally became interested in dentistry at a young age through the inspiration of her family dentist, a well-known artist whose paintings you may have seen spread throughout the hallways of the VCU School of Dentistry and other VCU buildings. She started out wanting to pursue art school but shifted her focus to dentistry after a neighbor was diagnosed with cancer and hearing that their mutual dentist, Dr. W. Baxter Perkinson Jr. (D.D.S. ’70) had given her a full mouth restoration at no charge due to her teeth deteriorating from chemotherapy treatment. He simply wanted to reduce some of the stress she was undergoing at the time and help give her confidence. It was then that she knew she could balance both passions – being able to give back and implementing my creative side as well.
As a recent graduate from VCU with a B.S. in biology, Seckman began working in the Department of Endodontics in the summer of 2014 and has grown a deeper appreciation for the specialty, considering that she was not exposed to many root canals from working in general private practices in the past. Working with microscopes and cone beams gives a huge advantage when working in millimeter lengths deep down in a canal that can hardly be seen. Not to mention manipulating X-rays to diagnose abnormal tooth anatomy or extra canals. She especially enjoys assisting with complicated cases, children and patients with special needs and loves seeing what may start off as a negative experience end positively and changing someone’s perception on the way they view dentistry. Root canals have a bad reputation associated with pain, but working in endodontics has been one of the most positive and rewarding opportunities for Seckman. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering with the Virginia Dental Association and attending MOM projects and spending time with her three-year-old son, Ben.
Dr. Virginia East (D.D.S. ’85, Endodontics ’87) is from the great state of New York. She was a pioneer and attended Villanova University the first year they accepted female students. She moved to Virginia and graduated from the VCU School of Dentistry in 1985. She had two children in dental school completed a certificate in endodontics in 1987. At that time, you had to wait five years before you were eligible to take your boards. East was board certified in endodontics in 1993. She practiced with Dr. Richard Hill in Richmond, Va. A year later, East opened a private practice in Richmond, Va., and worked there from 1987 – 2009. She loved her time in private practice and came to the dental school and taught part-time in the predoctoral clinic for five years.Life is what happens when making plans. East had a sports injury and later sold her practice. She was able to have a new surgical procedure performed in California, which allowed her to return to dentistry. She joined the endodontic faculty at the VCU School of Dentistry in 2012. East continues to teach full-time and enjoys teaching the general dentists of the future to do endodontics well. She finds it interesting to come back to her alma mater and see the changes that have occurred in the school. It has become a very culturally diverse place.
East is excited about the opportunities that are available in other areas of VCU as well. She currently is working with the VCU School of Engineering and VCU Innovation Gateway on projects related to endodontics. She enjoys traveling, camping in the Airstream and playing with her grandchildren.
Dr. Garry L. Myers comes to VCU from Olympia, Wash., where he was a private practitioner in endodontic. After completing a degree in biochemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, he received his D.D.S. from the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio dental school in 1985. Myers then left his Texas roots and entered the U.S. Air Force where he served as a dental officer for the next 13 years with assignments in Virginia, California, Texas, Nevada and Alaska. During his Texas assignment, he completed a residency program in endodontics at Wilford Hall Medical Center in 1991 and, despite the distractions of living in Las Vegas for the next four years, Myers was able to successfully complete the requirements to become a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics in 1994.
In 1998, Myers left the USAF to enter private practice in Olympia, Wash., where he practiced for the next 16 years. In 2007 he began teaching part-time at the University of Washington dental school in Seattle working with the endodontic residents one day a week, which quickly became his favorite day of the week. Myers was actively involved with the Washington State Association of Endodontists where he served as president from 2006 – 2007, and this evolved into his participation at the AAE level where he has served on a variety of committees, represented District VI on the Board of Directors and currently serves as the secretary for the AAE. Myers and his wife, Doreen, relocated to Richmond, Va., where he joined the VCU School of Dentistry Department of Endodontics on a full-time basis in July 2014 as an assistant professor. With him he brings a passion for Texas Longhorn football, an interest in photography and a love for the outdoors, having volunteered for 16 years on the Iditarod trail and hiking all around Mount Rainier National Park.
Dr. Clara Spatafore was born in Clarksburg, W.Va., and attended West Virginia University where she received her undergraduate degree in medical technology. She then earned her D.D.S., M.S. and certificate in endodontics from West Virginia University School of Dentistry. Prior to attending the endodontics program at WVU, she was in private practice as a general dentist in Pittsburgh for three years. After her endodontics program, Spatafore served in the U.S. Navy and then as chairman at the University of Pittsburgh in the Department of Endodontics. She then practiced at Allegheny General Hospital for 16 years and maintained a private practice during that time in Sewickley, Penn.
Currently, she works part-time in private practice in Sewickley, Penn., and also serves as an assistant professor of endodontics and chair of the Department of Endodontics at the VCU School of Dentistry. She maintains hospital privileges and teaches at Allegheny General Hospital and is a clinical instructor at the WVU School of Dentistry.
Spatafore, a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics, has been a member of the American Association of Endodontics since 1987. She has held a variety of leadership roles with the organization’s board, including president, president-elect, vice president and secretary of its executive committee as well as a director of the board, has served on several AAE committees and also serves on the Journal of Endodontics Scientific Review Board. Spatafore is a member of the American Dental Association, the Pennsylvania and Western Pennsylvania Dental Associations and the American College of Dentistry. She lectures nationally and internationally in all facets of endodontics.
She and her husband, Philip Bartling, reside in Sewickley, Penn. and Richmond, Va. They have four children: Daniel and his wife Lena are AEGD residents at the Bay Pines VA Hospital in Florida; Matthew works for Cascades Resorts in Vail, Colo.; Justina is a first-year student at the Tufts School of Vetinary Medicine in Boston; and Alyssa a freshman at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania.
Here in the Department of Endodontics, we owe a debt of gratitude to the part-time faculty who volunteer at the school. Whether it is for a half-day once a month or one day every week, they contribute so much to the department, the residents and the field of endodontics. We appreciate their time and commitment. Here are just a few of the people that give their valuable time back to the school.
Dr. Timothy J. Finkler (D.D.S. ’01, Endodontics ’11) was raised in Chester, Va. He received a B.S. in electrical engineering from the Virginia Military Institute in 1990. In 2001, he received his D.D.S. from the VCU School of Dentistry. He followed dental school at McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Richmond, Va., for a two-year General Practice Residency.After time in private practice, he returned to VCU and joined the Department of Endodontics. In 2011, he received his certificate in endodontics and M.S.D. from the VCU School of Dentistry and retired from more than 20 years of service in the Virginia Air National Guard.In 2011, he joined Commonwealth Endodontics. He is the first endodontist to provide IV Conscious Sedation to patients in the greater Richmond area.Finkler currently resides in Glen Allen, Va., with his wife Kim and their four almost always perfect children. He enjoys sports, most any outside activity and spending time with his family and friends. Finkler finds teaching very rewarding and a great way to give back. He has enjoyed teaching at the McGuire Hospital GPR and the VCU School of Dentistry general practice and endodontic departments.
Dr. Madelyn Gambrel (Endodontics ’03) was born and raised in Bonham, Texas, a small town northeast of Dallas. She received a B.A. in Spanish from Baylor University in 1993 and graduated from the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio dental school in 1997. After receiving her D.D.S., she joined the U.S. Navy and served as a dental officer in Rota, Spain, until 2001. She then attended the VCU School of Dentistry, where she received her certificate in endodontics and Master’s degree in 2003. Upon graduation from endodontic residency, Gambrel moved to San Diego, where she completed her obligated service to the U.S. Navy in 2005. She then returned to Richmond, Va., in the fall of 2005 and joined Commonwealth Endodontics.
Gambrel is very active in the Richmond community and is a member of several local study clubs. She enjoys spending free time with her family, and her hobbies include attending live music concerts, movies, skiing, sailing, traveling and interior decorating.
Gambrel teaches at the VCU School of Dentistry because she loves interacting with the residents and giving them any advice she can to help guide them both clinically and professionally. The residents also help her stay current on the latest and greatest endo gadgets, technology and research. So she learns a lot from them too!
Dr. Kalisha C. Jordan (D.D.S. ’05, Endodontics ‘11) received her undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She pursued a dental degree at the VCU School of Dentistry, graduating in 2005. Jordan continued her education with an AEGD at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2006.
Jordan practiced dentistry in Richmond, Va., from 2006 to 2007 and then joined the VCU School of Dentistry faculty as an assistant professor in the Department of General Practice. She taught from 2007 to 2009, after which she decided to specialize. Jordan received her M.S.D. in endodontics from the VCU School of Dentistry in 2011. She currently is in private practice in Williamsburg, Va., with Jordan Endodontics.
Jordan continues to teach at the school because she feels that giving back to the community and the specialty starts at the academic level. She, along with other adjuncts, devotes her time and experience to young endodontic residents, and they see that others care about their education and are committed to growth of the specialty of endodontics.
Dr. Harold J. Martinez (Endodontics ’00) was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He attended Kansas State University and, in 1989, received dual B.S. degrees in exercise physiology and foods and nutrition. In 1995, he obtained his D.D.S. from the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, University of Maryland Dental School. He continued his dental education as a Dental Officer in the U.S. Air Force where he completed an AEGD in 1996 while stationed at Barksdale A.F.B. in Louisiana. After serving two additional years as a general dentist in Tyndall A.F.B. in Panama City, Fla., he came to Richmond, Va., to attend the VCU School of Dentistry, where he earned his certificate in endodontics in 2000.
Since graduating from the endodontic program, Martinez has been in private practice with Commonwealth Endodontics and serves as a part-time clinical instructor with the Department of Endodontics at the VCU School of Dentistry. He genuinely enjoys teaching the residents in the graduate endodontic clinic and providing them with the clinical knowledge gained through his years in private practice.
Martinez lives in Short Pump, Va. with his wife, Conchy, and their two children. He enjoys sports and nutrition, baseball, traveling and spending quality time with his family and friends.
Dr. Vaughn Mayo graduated from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry in 1979. After graduation, he served in the U.S. Navy and completed a GPR at Balboa Hospital in San Diego in 1980. The GPR helped prepare him for assignments in Gulfport, Miss., Puerto Rico, Diego Garcia, and New Orleans. Following his military service, Mayo completed an endodontic residency at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center, San Antonio.
Immediately after completing endodontic training in 1985, Mayo moved to Virginia Beach, Va., and practiced endodontics as part of a group for 24 years, including 17 years in practice with Dr. Rick Archer. Mayo started a solo practice, Mayo Endodontics in 2009.
In July 2010, with coaxing from Archer, Mayo joined the VCU School of Dentistry as an adjunct professor in the Department of Endodontics. He enjoys teaching and sharing his perspectives and experiences handling challenging endodontic cases with the residents. He find their intelligence and enthusiasm contagious. Working with them helps him stay current on research, literature, technology and provides a great break in the routine of a solo endodontic practice.
On the personal side, Mayo is married to Jill, and they have two children plus a yellow lab. Their son, Chet, is a fourth-year student at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, and their daughter, Katie, is a fourth-year engineering student at the University of Virginia. He enjoys spending time with his family outdoors and especially likes to fly fish and engage in archery activities including bow hunting. Mayo is active with All Saints’ Episcopal Church.
Dr. Nick Schroeder (D.D.S. ’12), a 2012 graduate of the VCU School of Dentistry, is the current intern and will matriculate into the VCU School of Dentistry Endodontic Residency Program as a first-year resident in 2015. Schroeder is newly engaged to his fiancée Erica, and, during his free time from planning the wedding, he is either cooking or playing with his two dogs.
Dr. James Stanley (D.D.S. ’80, Endodontics ’91) is a native of Virginia and received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C., a Master’s degree in biology from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and completed his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree with honors at the VCU School of Dentistry. He also completed a general practice residency at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago, Ill., prior to completing his endodontic residency at the VCU School of Dentistry in 1991. Stanley holds a faculty appointment as associate professor in the Department of Endodontics at the VCU School of Dentistry.
Stanley routinely takes continuing education courses so he can keep abreast of the latest endodontic advances. He introduced the use of advanced microsurgical endodontic techniques into his practice in the early 1990’s, one of the first in Virginia to do so. These techniques allow him to provide exceptional care, usually in a single appointment. Stanley is certified by the American Board of Endodontists. By taking the initiative to achieve Diplomate status, Stanley has gone beyond the endodontic specialty education and licensing requirements of the American Dental Society and the state Board of Dentistry. Stanley also has completed a comprehensive training program in implant dentistry offered through the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry, Atlanta Institute for Advanced Education and American Academy of Implant Dentistry.
Stanley, who has practiced endodontics for more than 20 years, remains an active member of several dental organizations, including the American Dental Association, the Virginia Dental Association, the Lynchburg Dental Society, the American Academy of Implant Dentistry and the American Association of Endodontists.
Dr. Ronald N. Vranas (D.D.S. ’96, Endodontics ’02) was born and raised in Mesa, Ariz. He attended the University of Arizona and received a B.S. in chemistry in 1990. In 1996, he obtained his D.D.S. from the VCU School of Dentistry.
After completing dental school, Vranas joined the U.S. Navy as a dental officer and completed an AEGD in 1997 while stationed with the marines at Parris Island in South Carolina. After serving three additional years as a Navy dentist at the Naval Air Facility, Atsugi, Japan, he returned to the VCU School of Dentistry, where he earned his certificate in endodontics in 2002. Vranas has been with Commonwealth Endodontics since 2002.
He lives in Richmond, Va., with his wife of 22 years and their four children. Vranas loves teaching part-time as an adjunct professor in the Department of Endodontics at the VCU School of Dentistry and has been teaching since 2002. He loves meeting and teaching the new residents, learning their stories and watching their knowledge of endodontics grow during their time in Richmond, Va.
Captain Terry D. Webb, Dental Corps, U.S. Navy, is currently the chairman of the Endodontics Department, program director of the Endodontics Residency Program and Specialty Leader for Endodontics to the U.S. Navy Surgeon General, Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. He received his D.D.S. from the University of Tennessee in 1992. After a brief private practice experience, Webb joined the U.S. Navy and was stationed at NDC, San Diego. From there he spent 28 months stationed onboard the U.S.S. Fort McHenry (LSD-43) in San Diego and Sasebo, Japan. After a three-year tour at NDC Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Webb entered residency training where he received his certificate in endodontics in 2001 from the Naval Postgraduate Dental School along with an M.S. from George Washington University. After tours at 2D Dental Battalion, 2D FSSG, 12th Dental Company Cherry Point, N.C., and NDC, Mid-Atlantic in Norfolk, Va., he joined the staff of the Naval Postgraduate Dental School in 2006. He has served as the endodontics residency program director since 2008. He is a fellow of the International College of Dentists, an associate professor at the Postgraduate Dental College of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, an affiliate faculty member of the Department of Endodontics at the VCU School of Dentistry and a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics.
The reason why Webb sought out the additional educational experience with VCU was to gain experience with a civilian residency program and also to gain a better understanding of how an endodontic residency program operates with a university setting and a dental school it supports. He continues to volunteer at VCU because he believes in the philosophy of giving back and enjoys working with the residents in a clinical setting. He appreciates how valuable an outsider’s perspective can be and hopes to help the residents in the clinic as well as help the staff in any way.
Dr. Gary R. Hartwell earned his D.D.S. from West Virginia University School of Dentistry in 1966. He graduated from the U.S. Army Dental Corps Endodontic Residency Program in 1973 and earned an M.S. in special studies (oral biology) the following year from George Washington University. In 1980 he completed the certification process and became a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics. During his 20-year military career, he served as director of the Endodontic Residency programs at both Madigan Army Medical Center and Eisenhower Army Medical Center. He was the Consultant in Endodontics to the Surgeon General of the U.S. Army from 1983 to 1987.
Upon retirement from active military service in 1987 at the rank of colonel, Hartwell became a full-time faculty member in the Department of Endodontics at the VCU School of Dentistry. In 1992 he was promoted to associate professor with tenure and appointed chair of the Department of Endodontics. He was promoted to the rank of full professor with tenure in 1999. In 1996 he also assumed the position as director of the VCU Postgraduate Program in Endodontics. He then served in both positions until his retirement in 2003. At some point in time during his 16 years at VCU, he also served as course director for every predoctoral endodontic clinical, didactic and laboratory course.
In 2003, he was appointed professor and chair of the Department of Endodontics at the New Jersey Dental School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now Rutgers School of Dental Medicine), Newark, N.J. At the time of his appointment, he also became director of the UMDNJ Postgraduate Program in Endodontics. He held both of these positions until his retirement from UMDNJ in January 2013.
He has authored or co-authored more than 100 manuscripts and abstracts in dental journals and seven chapters in three endodontic textbooks and has lectured extensively at the local, state, national and international levels. His honors include election to membership in the Order of Military Medical Merit, International College of Dentistry, American College of Dentistry, Pierre Fauchard Academy, Omicron Kappa Upsilon and as a Virginia Dental Association Fellow. He was selected as the 2009 recipient of the I. B. Bender Life-Time Educator Award given by the American Association of Endodontists and the 2012 recipient of the Dr. George Feldman Memorial Award for Endodontic Excellence given by District II of the American Association of Endodontists. In October 2012, a scholarship was named in his honor by UMDNJ. He was awarded professor emeritus status by both VCU and UMDNJ in 2013.
Other notable activities include: two-year terms as president for both the U.S. Army Association of Endodontists and the Virginia Academy of Endodontists; chair of the Section on Endodontics of the American Dental Education Association; president of the Richmond Dental Society; delegate to the Virginia Dental Association; two terms as a Consultant in Endodontics for the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation; six years as a director of the American Board of Endodontics (two years as secretary and one year as president); two terms as a trustee of the American Association of Endodontists Foundation; two three-year terms on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Endodontists (one term representing District I, which includes the commonwealth of Virginia and one term representing District II); 10 years as an Endodontic Specialty Examiner for the Northeast Regional Dental Testing Board; reviewer for the Journal of the American Dental Association and Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery; more than 20 years of service on the editorial board and as an associate editor of the Journal of Endodontics and a reviewer and member of the Scientific Advisory Panel of the Journal of Endodontics. He served as vice president of the American Association of Endodontists for 2011 – 2012, president-elect from 2012 – 2013 and as president of the American Association of Endodontists for 2013 – 2014. He just recently completed a nine-month appointment as the acting executive director of the American Association of Endodontists. In October 2014, he was elected to serve a four-year term on the Appeals Board of the Commission on Dental Accreditation.
He currently serves as an adjunct faculty member in the departments of endodontics at both the VCU School of Dentistry and the Rutgers School of Dental Medicine.
The VCU School of Dentistry plans to offer a Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in oral health research starting in Fall 2015. The programs will train students to conduct basic and translational research in oral health with a particular focus on
Cancer and developmental biology of the head and neck
Infection and immunology
Bioengineering, stem cells and new materials
Research will be carried out in the Philips Institute for Oral Health Research which brings together teams of scientists from the VCU schools of dentistry, medicine and engineering to address areas of unmet need in oral health.
M.S. applicants may find this program useful for gaining entry to professional degrees or advancing their academic positions.
Ph.D. applicants will be trained in methods, techniques and critical thinking skills to become the next generation of scientific leaders in biomedical and health related research fields.
If you are interested please fill in the form below