Dean’s Update #3 – March 29, 2017

March 10 Update Video

Video Updates on School of Dentistry

Check out my new Dean Update for the School of Dentistry.  Let me know if you have news you want me to mention.

Give Kids A Smile VCU Style – Another Record Event

Thank you to all that volunteered for Give Kids a Smile Day! We provided care to 197 patients and provided approximately $82,809 worth of care. This included, but was not limited to, 114 fillings, 39 stainless steel crowns, and 75 extractions. This annual effort is led by Dr. Elizabeth Berry in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry and includes support from the General Practice Department and other School of Dentistry specialty departments. “I wanted to especially thank the GKAS student coordinators that made this day possible. They will continue to work to provide dental homes to some of the patients seen last Friday” said Dr. Berry. Below are the awards given out for the day, please congratulate those awarded. “Thank you again to everyone for your cooperation for us to have this event” added Dr. Berry.

  • GKAS Staff Recognition Award: Julie Soung
  • GKAS Dr. Carl Atkins Award (Provided the most treatment for the day): Dr. Meredith Dugoni
  • GKAS Student Recognition Award: Lance Cheng

The American Dental Association provided great coverage in ADA News

Respect, Tolerance, and Inclusiveness at the School of Dentistry – 2016

Dear School of Dentistry Community,

Intolerance and bias comes in all forms such as religious, racial, sexual orientation or identity, age, gender, and educational or social status.   It is important for us to demonstrate our exemplary character and values in all we do, to all we meet, and to all with whom we interact. As an academic and healthcare institution, intolerance should never find a home at the School of Dentistry.  The expectation is all people that learn, work, and receive care at the School of Dentistry and VCU Dental Care are treated with respect and dignity, provided privacy of their health and personal information, and enjoy freedom of expression without fear of retaliation.  This is my expectation and I ask that everyone join me in that expectation.  The establishment and maintenance of a humanistic environment is everyone’s responsibility and each and every person must take ownership of ensuring a school culture of inclusiveness and tolerance.

According to the VCU Creed: Philosophy for a University Community

“Academic institutions exist, among other reasons, to discover, advance and transmit knowledge and to develop in their students, faculty and staff the capacity for creative and critical thought.  At Virginia Commonwealth University, members of the community should strive to exemplify the following specific ideals in addition to other worthy ideals:

  • To demonstrate academic and personal integrity.
  • To respect the rights and property of others.
  • To be open to others’ opinions.
  • To uphold academic freedom and freedom of intellectual inquiry.
  • To appreciate diversity and to value and learn from the uniqueness of each person.
  • To uphold the right of all persons to be treated with dignity and respect and to refrain from all forms of intimidation, harassment and illegal discrimination.
  • To demonstrate and respect intellectual courage in situations that demand it.”

The VCU Code of Conduct is explicit and defines Real Expectations of all employees.  Similarly, the VCU Student Code of Conduct sets expectations for students.   All members of the VCU Community are required to engage in responsible social conduct that reflects credit upon the University community and to model good citizenship in any community.

As I stated last evening during the Dean’s Dinner with our student leadership, the deans in the dean’s office are there to help any student who feels they need to discuss any problem, including those related to respect and inclusion.  In addition, these are resources available to student, staff, and faculty at VCU to discuss or assist you with these issues:

Division of Inclusive Excellence  (
University Counseling Services (
Wellness Resource Center (
The VCU Dean of Students, Dr. Reuban Rodriguez (
The VCU Student Assistance and Support Team (
Equity and Access Services and Title IX Compliance (
VCU Employee Relations ( or 828-1510)
VCU Dental Care Employee Relations (828-8873)
VCU Ombudsperson (
VCU Helpline (
VCU Employee Assistance Program (http://
VCU Dental Care Employee Assistance Program (1-800-327 2255)

I welcome your thoughts on this message and the accompanying expectations.  Please take a moment to view this short video of what your fellow VCU community members said “What does respect look like at VCU?”

Dr. Tegwyn Brickhouse Appointed Director of the Oral Health Services Research Core

I am pleased to announce the formal establishment of the Oral Health Services Research Core in the Philips Institute for Oral Health Research and naming of its first director, Dr. Tegwyn Brickhouse.  The core’s mission is to conduct oral health services research and partner in strategic initiatives with the university, health system, and community to improve and integrate oral health into overall health and healthcare.  This is a critical area of research expertise that our school must develop to position ourselves for research and education in oral health services and public health dentistry.  Hardly a week goes by that I am not contacted with inquiries on access to care, dental workforce, dental graduates career choices, oral disease statistics, and dental insurance.   I am sure you have seen the headlines on the oral health crisis in America, doubling of hospital emergency department visits for dental problems, and declining dentist migration to rural and underserved areas.  Adults appear to be seeking dental care at lower rates and only 50% of children with public support for dental care have seen a dentist in the past year.

The rising cost of dental education and the national average educational debt of $250,000 of graduating dental students have negatively impacted the distribution of dentists and are fueling the development of alternative providers and practice models.  The Commission on Dental Accreditation recently announced it is implementing accreditation of Dental Therapy Programs.   The 2016 Virginia General Assembly adopted a bill to expand remote supervision of dental hygienist beyond the Virginia Department Health and into certain venues to increase access to preventive care for underserved populations.   The effectiveness of our current and future models of care delivery require ongoing study and assessment.

Over the past two years, Dr. Tegwyn Brickhouse and I have conducted meetings and conference calls with researchers, academic leaders, leaders in the insurance industry, leaders in government agencies, and political people to understand the need and to create a vision for this research core.  There is so much that is needed to be learned regarding dental public health and dental services utilization, particularly in Virginia.   Additional exploratory projects are underway with the Chesterfield County Schools Systems and the VCU Health System’s Community Memorial Hospital in South Hill, VA to bring needed dental services to underserved individuals.

With VCU School of Dentistry the only dental school in Virginia, we must become experts in oral health services and disparities research.   Dr. Brickhouse is being appointed full-time to lead the development of this initiative effective July 1, 2016 as a member of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry.  Dr. Brickhouse will continue to serve as the Chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry while we conduct a national search for a new department chair.

Dr. Brickhouse has served as department chair since 2010 and she led a number of key initiatives and has been recognized for her work.  These include:

PI of HRSA grant for VCU to receive $2.4 million grant to increase dental care access for underserved children and adolescents and to improve inter-professional training for pediatric dentistry students

Founding Chair of the Virginia Oral Health Coalition, a state-wide non-profit which strives to:

  • Change perceptions of oral health
  • Remove known barriers between people and oral health services
  • Build an effective oral health infrastructure by ensuring that Virginia’s dental health system can meet the needs of underserved populations
  • Under her leadership this organization secured over $1M in grant funding, contracts, and donations.

Established a relationship with Children’s Hospital of Richmond and VCU’s pediatric  dental program that led to integration of faculty support and resident patient care rotations at the Brook Road hospital practice.

Created the Pediatric Dentistry Board of Advisors and led the fund raising effort which resulted in the establishment of the Farrington Mourino Distinguished Professorship.

Serves as a member of the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (Medicaid) Dental Advisory Committee and established a data sharing agreement with DMAS to examine dental utilization in Virginia’s Medicaid program.

VCU Health’s representative to the Children’s Health Insurance Program Advisory Committee of Virginia (CHIPAC).

On-going collaborations with VDH Division of Dental Health related to their needs assessments, sealant programs, and courses for training dentists to treat patients with disabilities.

Chair for the Council of Scientific Affairs of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s Jerome B. Miller For the Kids Award awarded by Healthy Smiles Healthy Children Foundation.

The Professional Achievement Award for Women in Dentistry, WISDM Virginia Commonwealth University.

Fellow of the Virginia Dental Association and Fellowship in the American College of Dentists

Served on the scientific advisory board of the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation, awarded Affiliate Site of the Year and received grant funded for five years to support community outreach and engagement.

VCU iCubed Program Trandisciplinary Core Team Member for Oral Health in Children and Adolescences

“Quote” from Sarah Bedard Holland-Executive Director of the Virginia Oral Health Coalition

“I applaud the VCU School of Dentistry for putting resources towards the oral health access issues and the future of oral health.  VCU is uniquely suited to address issues related to access, disparities and workforce; the Coalition looks forward to working collectively with the school and Dr. Brickhouse to seek solutions to improve oral health for all Virginians. Dr. Brickhouse has a long-standing, demonstrated commitment to furthering evidence-based solutions to complex oral health access issues. She is the perfect fit to lead this new initiative.”

The cores’ activities will include:

  • Analysis of health care claims data to understand the impact of healthcare reform and innovations in healthcare delivery, including a focus on solutions to dental workforce and oral health disparities among vulnerable, rural, and under-served populations.
  • Explore additional educational programs and curriculum for students in the area of dental public health.
  • Support the School of Dentistry’siCubed Core of “Transdisciplinary Oral Health in Childhood and Adolescence”.  This core supported by the provost’s office will promote diversity and inclusion in urban-focused research, creative activity and scholarship and focus on:
    • Broadening access to education for students of diverse backgrounds.
    • Creating an inclusive environment for diverse faculty.
    • Being a catalyst for connections within the university community and with the community at large.
    • Fostering innovative research and solutions to societal problems across boundaries.
  • Partner with local and national organizations (e.g. ADA, VDA, Virginia Oral Health Coalition, Virginia Health Care Foundation) to connect national data with state-level needs and initiatives.
  • Engagement in the broader university and health system to increase capacity for dental care to children and individuals in rural and underserved populations (e.g. South Hill).
  • Fundraising and Advocacy related to student pipelines for dental careers and support for clinical training opportunities and dental care for underserved populations (e.g. general assembly, middle schools, community foundations)
  • Representation of the school of dentistry and health system for children’s insurance and safety net programs. (e.g. Children’s Health Insurance Program Advisory Committee, DMAS Dental Advisory Committee, VDH, Virginia Oral Health Coalition)
  • Continue as PI of the school’s HRSA grant grant to increase dental care access for underserved children and adolescents and to improve interprofessional training for pediatric dentistry students.
  • The Director will lead the development of proposals to seek additional extramural funding to support the core’s mission.



2016 Student and Resident Research Fellowships and Faculty Mentors Selected

AD Williams Student Research Fellowships 2016

The purpose of this fellowship program is to expose promising students in the School of Dentistry to an active and productive research atmosphere, and to serve as an avenue for exploring options for a future academic and research career. This year’s fellowships have been awarded to:



Alexander Fellowship Awards 2016

It is crucial that dentists, whether practicing or in academic careers, understand the role of research in dentistry and appreciate its impact on the changes that the profession will experience in years to come. The Alexander Fellowship program provides funds to postgraduate students in the School of Dentistry to pursue research activities while training. This year’s fellowships have been awarded to:


VCU Give Kids A Smile A Huge Success

Last Friday a large host of students, residents, staff and faculty members contributed to our annual Give Kids A Smile event at VCU School of Dentistry.  Under the leadership of Dr. Liz Berry in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, preliminary data indicated over 200 children benefited from this event.  With the increased volume of patients, the entire Douglas and Pediatric Dentistry Clinics were full and busy way past 5 pm.  Faculty from the Department of General Practice jumped in with our entire pediatric dentistry faculty and residents to help these children go home and on the road to better oral health.  Students from all dental and dental hygiene classes volunteered in mass.  They even let me help out!  There are too many people to mention by name but you all know who you were and I appreciate your service, dedication, and hard work.   If you were there record a “Like”  or comment on SOD Facebook.





Paul Dado Kim Earns Third Place the ADA/DENTSPLY Student Clinician Research Program

Paul Dado Kim (D 2018) participated in the ADA/DENTSPLY Student Clinician Research Program at the 2015 American Dental Association (ADA) Annual Session which was held in Washington DC last weekend and won the 3rd place award in the basic science category. Kim’s study titled “TLR9-mediated inflammation triggers alveolar bone loss in experimental murine periodontitis” investigated the involvement of an innate immune sensor, TLR9, in the progression of periodontal disease utilizing a transgenic mouse model.  The results of the study showed that mice lacking TLR9 was protected against alveolar bone loss thereby identifying a possible new therapeutic target for periodontitis. “I am really happy to be part of this project. Our findings will hopefully be translated to the clinics to improve treatment outcomes,” said Kim.

A total of 61 students from each dental school across the country competed in the 56th ADA/DENTSPLY Student Clinician Research Program. “It was a great honor to represent VCU and came back home with an award among so many outstanding projects from all the different institutions,” said Kim. “I also would like to thank my mentor, Dr. Esra Sahingur, and the entire research team for giving me the opportunity to work in this project and for their continuous support”.

The results of this award winning study was published  in the journal Infection and Immunity last May; Kim, P. D., Xia-Juan, X., Crump, K. E., Abe, T., Hajishengallis, G. & Sahingur, S. E. (2015) Toll-Like Receptor 9-mediated inflammation triggers alveolar bone loss in experimental murine periodontitis. Infection and Immunity 2015; 83:2992-3002.

Congratulations to Paul Dado Kim!


Dental Continuing Education Office Update

Dr. Perry Jones has been serving as our Director Continuing Education since 2011.  At the end of September, Dr. Jones will be stepping down as director but will continue as a part-time faculty member and continue to provide instruction in the continuing education courses he has been offering.  Under his leadership, much positive change has taken place including reorganizing the office as a branch of Dentistry@VCU, implementing a state-of-the-art management system for course registration and record keeping, and lowering the operating cost of the office.   Under Dr. Jones watch, and with the help of Dr. Laurie Carter, our ADA CERP accreditation was successfully renewed.  I am very thankful for his service and his willingness to step into this role at a time when many other changes were taking place in the school.   With Dr. Jones stepping down, the Office of Continuing Education will be reorganized with Ms. Pamela Flynn reporting to Ms. Kim Jacobs in the Office of the Executive Associate Dean, Ms. Rebecca Pousson.  Ms. Flynn has relocated to Wood first floor, room 102.  As required for CERP accreditation, the program has an advisory committee which we plan to expand.  The advisory committee’s role is to provide guidance on priorities for course offerings.  If you see Dr. Jones, please thank him for his service to our CE program as well as to our school.

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