National Alumni Society Member
Name: Howard R. Gamble, DMD, FAGD
Degree(s) and Graduation Year(s): D.M.D. (1967)
Hometown: Florence, Alabama
Current town: Sheffield, Alabama
Current employer and job: Self employed in the private practice of general dentistry.
How has UAB impacted your life? UAB continues to impact my life because the School of Dentistry has continued to be one of the best dental schools in the country. I have always been very proud to say that I was graduated from the Alabama School of Dentistry.
What made you choose your current profession? I knew early on that I wanted to study either medicine or dentistry. I had applications for three medical schools and one dental school ready to submit. After much study and prayer I felt led to submit the dental school application and the three medical school applications were never sent. The rest is history and has been good.
What would you do if you were given more time in each day? Being a workaholic I would find something. As has been the case I have found the time to serve as City Councilman, Police and Fire Commissioner, and Mayor of Sheffield and Commissioner and Chairman of the Colbert County Commission. My service as an elected public official was in addition to maintaining a full-time dental practice. My service as an elected public official was prior to 1995. My time since then has been devoted to efforts in organized dentistry. I have served on many ADA and AGD Councils and Committees. The privilege of being the first Alabama Dentist to serve as President of the Academy of General Dentistry has been both humbling and rewarding.
What invention have you seen in your lifetime that you believe has been the most important? The personal computer is the invention which has had the greatest impact on my life and my practice. The many advancements in dentistry related to technology have been a continuing source of excitement for me. I have been doing lectures on technology in dentistry since 1990 and have had the privilege of serving on many national committees related to technology standards and the development of the electronic health record.
If you could have 3 wishes, what would they be? 1) I would like to see the United States turn back to the God and the morality I enjoyed in my early years. 2) I would hope that the dentistry and medicine in the United States would continue to be the best in the world. 3) I would wish that those who come after me will continue to have life as good or better than I and I would hope that all my efforts will leave things better because of me.
If you could go back to any age…which age and why? I would not want to go back to any age. At 71 I still find a new excitement every day and look forward to what is still in store for me in whatever time I have remaining.
Which historical figure do you most identify with and why? Sir Winston Churchill who made the statement “So little done, so much yet to be done”. Even with all that I have had the privilege of being a part of, there is so much more that I would like to accomplish.
If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? I would return society to God, Family and Country because I believe if that could be accomplished, all the other problems would be eliminated.
What natural gift would you most like to possess? Compassion
What trait(s) do you most value in your friends? Honesty and Integrity
What is your motto? Treat your friends, family and patients in the same manner you would have them treat you.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Never allow your integrity to be compromised and you will have a good life.
If you could start a charity or non-profit organization, what would it be and why? I would establish a foundation to promote oral health literacy. One of our biggest problems in the US is the serious lack of oral health literacy. If the public could be made more knowledgeable about oral health and the benefits of prevention, we could easily make access and utilization of care a controllable issue.
Student Alumni Society Member
Name: Derrick Mendez
Graduation Year: 2014
Major: DMD Candidate
Hometown: McCalla, AL
Why did you choose to attend UAB? I completed my first major in software engineering at Auburn University. During my time in Auburn, I developed a passion for dentistry. UAB was a natural choice not only because of location, but even more so because of the School of Dentistry’s world-renowned excellence in research and clinical training. Dean Reddy’s new mission for the school is “Leading Oral Healthcare,” and I believe we are well on our way of doing just that.
Who is the best professor that you have had at UAB so far and why? As far as the undergraduate program, Mrs. Leslie Hendon in the Department of Biology immediately comes to mind. She has an incredible energy and passion that is not oft encountered and will do just about anything to help her students succeed.
What is your favorite UAB memory? The Homecoming Gurney Derby Race. The School of Dentistry has won the past two years!
What is your current state of mind? I would say a combination of relieved, anxious, and excited. Relieved in that I just passed part one of my national boards, anxious in that I begin clinic in July and start seeing my own patients, and excited in that I finally get to start applying all that I have learned over the past two years of pre-clinical training!
What do you do for fun? My time is more limited these days, but you have to make it a priority to fit some relaxation into your schedule or you’ll go out of your mind! I enjoy running to work off stress and—when I have the rare free evening to do so—watching movies.
Who are your heroes in real life? My heroes right now are those who have worked hard and sacrificed many of their own goals to support me. This of course includes my parents, but especially my wife who currently works two jobs to ensure we have the least amount of debt possible upon my graduation.
If you were given more time in each day, what would you do? Explore some hobbies that I’ve always been interested in: photography, playing the guitar, skydiving…you name it!
If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Time travel…does that count?
What is the best invention of your lifetime and why? Other than the obvious world-changing answers along the lines of the Internet or the iPhone, I’d have to say the Starbucks Frappuccino. This has been my caffeine-containing beverage of choice since my high school days.
What are your future goals? Upon graduation, I have considered applying for acceptance into a GPR (general practice residency) or AEGD (advanced education in general dentistry) program, both of which are one-year advanced training opportunities in general dentistry. Otherwise, I would like to begin practicing dentistry near my hometown.
What would be your ultimate dream job? I suppose this is pretty unimaginative, but my ultimate dream job would be working debt-free in my own dental practice. This would include having the resources to devote a significant amount of time to pro bono work and tackling my long list of places to see before I die.
If you had a theme song, what would it be? I would say “Waiting for My Real Life to Begin” by Colin Hay. All my life I’ve found myself waiting for the next big milestone in my life: waiting to get my first car, waiting to graduate high school, waiting to get married, waiting to graduate dental school—it took me a while to realize that, like John Lennon said, “life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans!”
If you had the power to solve one, and only one, problem in the world…what would it be and why? I hate to be cliché and sound like a beauty pageant contestant, but it seems that solving world hunger would be the most significant way to help to most amount of people.
What’s the best advice you ever received? My mom to this day still reminds me, “God is in control. Do your best and leave the rest to Him.”
If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be? “Don’t Underestimate the Short Guy”.