Dental college

DCG News Briefs: Summer 2021

Licensure Appointees
Drs. Babak Baban, Kim Capehart and Mahmood Mozaffari were appointed by the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations to the Integrated National Board Dental Exam Test Constructor Pool and the Advanced Dental Admission Test Construction Team. The Advanced Dental Admission Test helps advanced dental education programs assess applicants’ potential for success. The Integrated National Board Dental Examination is the new examination for dental licensure. It replaces the National Board Dental Examination, Parts I and II, in assessing the ability to integrate basic sciences with behavioral and clinical science information.

White Coat Ceremony
DCG students entering the patient-care portion of their education were officially honored during the college’s White Coat Ceremony July 9. The ceremony, sponsored by the American and International Colleges of Dentists, was modified to reflect COVID-19 protocols. But the sentiment remains the same, welcoming into the fold the students beginning faculty-supervised patient care.

Research Recognition
Innovations in research and clinical care were highlighted during the DCG’s annual Research and Table Clinic Day, held virtually on April 21. Events included a poster presentation and competition; the sixth annual David A. Pashley Lecture, in which a clinician, scientist and external consultant discussed shared experiences and lessons learned in a pandemic; and a continuing-education course, co-sponsored by the Eastern District Dental Society of Georgia, featuring Dr. Jeff Brucia as the Distinguished Lecturer in Evidence-Based Clinical Treatment.

Hinman Inductees
Drs. Butch Ferguson, Alan Furness and Kent Knoernschild, all members of the DCG faculty, were inducted into membership in the Hinman Dental Society.

Committee Service
Several DCG faculty were honored for outstanding committee service during the seventh annual DCG Most Valuable Participant Committee Awards presentation. The faculty and their committees are Dr. Eladio DeLeon, Advanced Education; Dr. Mira Ghaly, Infection Control; Dr. Veerinder Pannu, Admissions and COVID Restart Taskforce; and Dr. Bruce Riggs, Student Academic Review.

Elashiry Honored
Dr. Mohamed Elashiry, a DCG graduate research assistant, was one of four finalists in the 2020 Balint Orban Memorial Competition for Basic Research. He also defended his PhD thesis with “distinction honor” for his project using specially treated exosomes derived from dendritic cells to inhibit bone degeneration.

General Dentistry Recognition
Drs. Gregory Griffin and Barry Hammond, both in the Department of General Dentistry, and Chair of Restorative Sciences Kent Knoernschild received Department of General Dentistry Inaugural Certificates of Appreciation for their contributions to the department. Drs. Courtney Babb, Gregory Griffin and Barry Hammond, all in the Department of General Dentistry, were inducted as fellows of the International College of Dentists.

Research Program Awards
DCG students Amber Durand and Caroline Glessner, as well as residents Elizabeth Floodeen and Kyle Frazier, received 2020 Augusta University Student Research Program Awards. Durand, mentored by Drs. Ryan Bloomquist and Lynnette McClusky, is studying neuroimmune mechanisms that promote taste bud regeneration following Chorda Tympani nerve sectioning. Glessner, mentored by Dr. Ryan Bloomquist, is researching nerve regeneration in a clinical setting. Floodeen, mentored by Drs. Ryan Bloomquist and Jeffrey James, is studying head and neck manifestations of COVID-19. Frazier, mentored by Dr. Jeffrey James, is researching mouth rinses that reduce the viral load of COVID-19 in the oral cavity.

ACD Fellows
Seven DCG faculty members were inducted as fellows of the American College of Dentists during an Oct. 15 centennial celebration, which was held virtually due to the pandemic. The inductees are Dean Carol Lefebvre, General Dentistry Interim Chair Kim Capehart, Assistant Dean of Patient Services Alan Furness, Associate Professor of Pediatric Dentistry Cynthia Hipp, Assistant Professor of Restorative Sciences Ray Jeter, Department of Pediatric Dentistry Chair Tara Schafer and Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Nancy Young. Also inducted were Dr. Shirley Fisher (’91), who received the 2019 DCG Distinguished Faculty Award, and Dr. Miles Mazzawi (’01).

Sword Honored
Dr. Rhoda Sword, associate professor in the Department of Restorative Sciences, was elected to the American Dental Association Council on Membership. She is an ADA delegate and a delegate, editor and secretary/treasurer of the Eastern District Dental Society.

Project Honored
Dr. Kim Capehart, interim chair of the Department of General Dentistry, received a $500 Henry Schein Cares Humanitarian Stimulus Grant from the International College of Dentists to support his project with Girls on the Run of the CSRA. The organization, which uses a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running, seeks to promote confidence and healthy self-esteem in girls.

Teaching Excellence
Dr. Mario Romero, assistant professor in the Department of Restorative Sciences, received the 29th annual DCG Teaching Excellence Award. The award honors subject knowledge and competence in a professional discipline; teaching skills and methods; modeling professionalism; and impact on students. It is the DCG’s highest teaching award. Romero was cited for mentorship in research writing and the publishing process. One of his nominators published 15 peer-reviewed articles with him. Nominators also noted his “thirst for knowledge,” “daily dedication and passion,” attention to detail and professionalism.

Tooth Talks
The DCG Chapter of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry created virtual “Tooth Talks,” lectures for students from public-health dentists.

Outstanding Faculty Award
Dr. Brent Haeberle received the DCG 2020 Outstanding Faculty Award. He was nominated by two of his peers. Said one, “Brent’s course provides one of the earliest experiences that combines anatomy, material science and theories of occlusion. In other words, an introduction into management of patients versus the management of teeth. He has an open-door policy with students and is responsive to questions and concerns without minimizing his expectations of success. He is admired for his ethics, his flexibility, his modesty and low-key approach to interpersonal interactions.”

Nasal Swabs
Dr. Jeffrey James, program director and associate professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, was honored by the Augusta University Research Institute for the development and 3D printing of thousands of nasal swabs for COVID-19 testing.

Bergeron Elected
Dr. Brian Bergeron, professor in the Department of Endodontics, was elected president-elect of the American Board of Endodontics for 2021-22. The board develops and implements written, oral and case portfolio examinations resulting in board certification in endodontics. Bergeron previously served as vice president of the board.

Career Development
Dr. Ryan Bloomquist, assistant professor in the Department of Restorative Sciences, received the fall 2020 Career Development Scholar Award for his studies of the de-novo innervation of transplant organs. The Career Development Scholar Program internally develops independent translational researchers in basic and/or clinical areas through intense mentoring modeled after programs in the National Institutes of Health.

Nobel Biocare Award
Dr. Mohamed Meghil, a resident in the Department of Periodontics, received the Nobel Biocare 2020 American Academy of Periodontology Annual Meeting Scholarship.

DeLeon Awarded
Dr. Christopher DeLeon, instructor in the Department of Orthodontics, received the Southern Association of Orthodontists’ 2020 Sharon Hunt Emerging Leader Award. The award honors an emerging leader who has significantly advanced the mission of the SAO, component organizations and/or the American Association of Orthodontists.

Committee Chair
Dr. William Bachand, associate professor in the Department of Restorative Sciences, was named chair of the Georgia Dental Association Membership Committee.

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