UAB Dentistry News
The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry held its 18th Annual White Coat Ceremony for first-year dental students on Thursday, Aug. 25, in the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center.
Each of the 59 members of the Class of 2020 were presented with the traditional white coat adorned with the dentistry emblem as a gift from the University of Alabama School of Dentistry Alumni Association. The white coat is a symbol of entry into the dental profession and acceptance of professional responsibilities. It is also symbolic of the collegiality within healthcare and of being united with a common purpose and in mutual respect. Students also received a lapel pin with the school’s crest.
Richard N. Goodroe, DDS, chairman of the Hinman Dental Society Board of Trustees, delivered the keynote address. Gary Myers, DMD, MAGD, alumni association president, welcomed new students into the profession. Michael S. Reddy, DMD, DMSc, dean of the School of Dentistry, shared the tradition of the white coat. The Class of 2020 was joined by family, friends, alumni, faculty, and student colleagues for the event.
The ceremony compliments one of the new students’ first classes, Ethics in Dentistry, which focuses on moral reasoning, case analysis, resolving ethical dilemmas, and what it means to be an ethical dentist. The class kicks off a robust four-year ethics curriculum that includes coursework, case studies, self-reflections, and small group interactions with Alabama leaders in organized dentistry.
The ceremonial presentation of white coats to dental students is a common practice at dental schools throughout the nation. During the ceremony students recite and sign their names onto a code of ethics known as the Dentist’s Pledge affirming their acceptance of the responsibilities and principles of conduct therein.
An occasional battle with bad breath is unfortunately an experience many share, and researchers estimate that more than 80 million Americans suffer from chronic halitosis.
Nico Geurs, DDS, the Dr. Tommy Weatherford/Dr. Kent Palcanis Endowed Professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry, says bad breath can result from the development of a biofilm of bacteria that emits a bad odor.
"Bacteria can organize on the tongue, teeth and mucosal surfaces," Geurs said. "An additional source can come from the throat, esophagus and stomach, and expired air from the lungs." Read more in the UAB News.
Dr. Ben Cumbus and his wife, Ginny, with the 2016 H. Moren Fuller Award
Benjamin J. Cumbus, D.M.D., Montgomery, Ala., has been named the 2016 H. Moren Fuller Award winner by the University of Alabama School of Dentistry Alumni Association. Cumbus received the award, the dental profession’s highest honor in the state, on June 14, 2016 at the Alumni Association Luncheon held during the Alabama Dental Association annual meeting in Orange Beach, Ala. Cumbus, a 1972 dental school graduate, who is being honored for his significant contributions to the school of dentistry, is currently chairman of the Campaign for UAB Dentistry and the Second District Representative for the Alumni Association’s Executive Council. In 2009, Cumbus received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the school. He is also past president of the Alabama Dental Association, and has held numerous leadership positions within organized dentistry. During his tenure as chairman of the Campaign for UAB Dentistry, the school has raised nearly $18 million.
The Fuller Award is named for Dr. Moren H. Fuller, of Centerville, Ala., one of the first members of the School of Dentistry advisory board. Fuller was not well known by his Alabama colleagues but was highly respected by his community, which earned him his spot on the board. He spent a lot of time at the school during its early years. Many of the first students were World War II veterans with impeccable credentials to enter dental school, but could not find a spot in out-of-state universities. Because of his day-to-day involvement with the school from the beginning, the students saw Fuller as their personal benefactor and the Dental Alumni Association chose to honor Fuller and to make the award his namesake. In 1955, Fuller was the first recipient of the award.
Mark R. McIlwain, DMD, MD, walked through the halls of the UAB School of Dentistry the afternoon of May 18 and encountered residents in scrubs and patients in waiting rooms. But what he was really encountering were memories.
McIlwain attended the School from 1978 until 1982, and he has no trouble listing names of people who changed his life along the way. “The people here who truly cared about me were lighting my path. They showed me the way I needed to go,” McIlwain reflected. Now, through philanthropy, he is doing his part to light the way of students and residents.
Friends, family, and colleagues gathered together May 18 for the dedication and sign unveiling of the Mark R. McIlwain Resident Conference Room in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. “I have been so richly blessed in the practice of dentistry, and the School of Dentistry here in Birmingham was directly responsible,” McIlwain remarked as he addressed those in attendance. “I hope this gift will enhance education for the residents in oral and maxillofacial surgery and further the education of dental students.”