International Students
Randall Laffre Jr., Robert Justice and Gerald Rowe were members of the first graduating class of the UAB School of Dentistry. Laffre, Justice and Rowe and 49 other men, all of whom were World War II veterans, graduated May 31, 1952. Since that time, UAB has educated dentists from across America and the globe. In June, 10 students from the School of Dentistry became the first graduates of the school’s International Dentist Program. Read about it in UABReporter Retro’spectives.

janice jackson 2018

Janice Jackson, DMD, advanced program director in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry’s Department of Pediatric Dentistry, has been awarded the Manuel M. Album Award by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. The annual award is given to the individual or organization that has made the greatest contribution to the oral health of children with special needs.

Manuel M. Album devoted his pediatric dentistry career to serving children with special needs and improving their oral health. Nominees are selected by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Awards Committee.

“To be recognized for my career in pediatric dentistry and serving children — particularly those with special needs — is a tremendous honor, and one that brings my career full circle,” Jackson said. “My team and I in pediatric dentistry at UAB strive to treat our patients as Dr. Album did, and we will continue to provide the utmost care to our patients.”

seniors dental stream

In Oral Health America’s newly released 2018 A State of Decay report, Alabama rose to No. 29 from No. 50 in the new state-by-state rankings on the status of oral health and outcomes in Americans age 65 and older. This elevated ranking reflects a joint commitment made by state public health officials, other dental organizations, and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry faculty, students and alumni to improve outcomes in this population after an alarming last-place ranking in the previous report. Read more about this important joint effort in UAB News.

Stanley Beard

For Dr. Stanley Beard (’89), University of Alabama School of Dentistry Alumni Association President, dentistry has been a part of his life for the last 55 years. In other words, since he was born. His dad, Dr. Bobby Beard (’64), was a dentist and at a very early age, he knew being a dentist was exactly what he wanted to do. “I was raised in Jackson, Alabama, a small town, so I could pal around with local doctors, “ he recalled. “I enjoyed those experiences, but felt more connected to dentistry.”

Throughout his formative years, his love for dentistry never wavered. After graduating from the University of Alabama, he earned a merit scholarship to the UAB School of Dentistry. He said his fondest memories were creating lifelong friendships with his classmates. “We go to our children’s weddings. We attend continuing education classes together. We travel together for vacations. When you spend four years with people, you become real soul mates with a core group of them.”

Following graduation he spent three years in postdoctoral work at the Foundation for Advanced Continuing Education in San Francisco. He has continued his education at LSU in New Orleans, as well as in Texas and in a residency for implants through the Alabama Institute in Birmingham. He currently practices cosmetic and general dentistry in his hometown of Jackson.

In addition to delivering the best dental care possible to his patients, Dr. Beard believes it is important to maintain a connection to the School of Dentistry. For example, he has served on the committee that chooses merit scholarship winners. “It’s very unique that this has come full circle for me and it’s rewarding to see extremely bright students choose to attend our School of Dentistry,” he said. In addition to being a member of that committee, Dr. Beard has been a long-time member of the Alumni Association. “My primary and original example of being an active member of organized dentistry was my father,” he explained. “I saw how organized dentistry was important to him, in addition to being involved in the community.

“My second greatest influence for staying connected to the School of Dentistry after graduation was Dr. David Greer,” Dr. Beard said. “He instilled in us to be part of the Alumni Association and give back to the School. That is why I believe the Alumni Association has grown and been so successful in all its efforts, from mentoring young dentists to fundraising. Most dentists are giving people and they contribute their time and efforts to many causes outside of dentistry. I think it was bred in us at a very early age in the School of Dentistry and when we host events for our students, they see the relationships that last a lifetime.”

As the president of the Alumni Association, Dr. Beard is keenly aware of the importance of choosing the right person as the dean of the School. “What a loss Dr. Michael Reddy is for the School of Dentistry,” he says with obvious conviction. “He’s done a phenomenal job in re-establishing us as one of the top dental schools in the nation. He’s tremendously talented, smart and knows how to run a dental school. He relates equally well to the students and the alumni. That’s one of the reasons we’ve been able to reach our goals. Those are the very characteristics we want in our new dean. It has to be someone who has excellent managerial and political skills, who understands the importance of political dentistry, who can appeal to our alumni, and who knows the importance of bringing in large grants for research and development. And finally, someone who can reach out and create relationships and work well with all of the other professional schools at UAB.”

In addition to being extremely interested in who is chosen to be the new dean, Dr. Beard has other concerns as Alumni Association President. One is the aging population of dentists across the state. “We are retiring out dentists, especially in rural areas, and we’re not able to replace them,” he explained. “In the next five or 10 years, it’s going to become very critical.” He said that for the most part, young dentists graduating from school, especially those with families, are choosing to establish their practices in urban areas. “Dentists in rural areas tend to work long hours,” he said. “And, there are other non-dental issues to consider as well. School systems are very important to young dentists with children or those who know they will have some in the future.”

For Dr. Beard, the issue is not just philosophical and theoretical. “Just in my area, in the last several years, three dentists have retired and there was nobody to buy their practices from them. We are extremely busy all the time. It’s crazy.” His solution? “I’d like to see the School, through the Alumni Association, create a program where we link dentists who want to retire in the next three to five years with prospective graduating students and get them in these rural areas.”

Being connected to the School after all these years. Mentoring young dentists. Staying in touch with fellow dental students. Making a difference. These are the touchstones of Dr. Beard’s affinity for dentistry and the School of Dentistry. “I feel strongly about our obligation to be involved,” he noted. “Keeping up with colleagues is important, as is mentoring young and upcoming dentists. You can’t do that if you stay within the four walls of your office.”

Michelle Robinson 14 stream

Michelle Robinson, DMD, associate professor and associate dean for Health Information and Business Systems in the School of Dentistry, will become the interim dean of UAB School of Dentistry effective May 1. She will begin working alongside Dean Michael Reddy, DMD, who leaves this summer to accept another position.

“We are fortunate to have Dr. Robinson. She has provided support for the growth and excellence of many of the school’s initiatives and programs,” said Provost Pam Benoit. “Her heart for student success and dedication to the school and campus has earned the respect of her colleagues.”

Robinson said it is an honor to have the opportunity to continue Reddy’s work as the school searches for new leadership. “We have a strong and engaged student, faculty, staff and alumni base,” Robinson said. “I look forward to working with them and our campus and community partners.”

Robinson’s research interests include electronic dental records, teaching and learning technologies, strategic planning and organizational culture. She provides leadership in a broad range of IT and business services and has guided the school through the implementation of an integrated electronic dental record. She has also served more than 10 years on the Electronic Dental Record User Group International Advisory Panel.

Robinson is the school’s director of diversity and equity action officer, and in 2017 she was recognized as a National Role Model with an award from Minority Access Inc., for her efforts in advancing the recruitment, retention and enhancement of underrepresented students and employees in the school.

She also is the faculty advisor for the Student National Dental Association chapter and student American Association for Women Dentists chapter.

A national search for a permanent dean will begin during the summer, Benoit said.