Dr. Ben Cumbus Fuller Award

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.

051816MarkMcIlwainDentistry09Mark 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.”

Comprehensive Care ClinicWith a little more than two years remaining in the Campaign for UAB, the School of Dentistry prepares to launch two major clinic renovations. The larger of the two projects will provide much-needed updates to the Comprehensive Care Clinic, also known to former students as the “Second Floor Clinic” or the “General Dentistry Clinic.”

To date, every general dentist who graduated from the School has been trained in the Comprehensive Care Clinic. Today, D3- and D4-year dental students work in treatment teams within an operatory bay alongside two dedicated faculty group managers and additional “floating” faculty members who provide specialized skills. The clinic, which hasn’t been fully renovated since the 1970s, looks much like it did forty years ago. Through the years new dental chairs were purchased and sterilization facilities were upgraded but the structure remains the same.

“Our curriculum reflects state-of-the-art digital dentistry so the clinic needs to be updated to echo contemporary concepts of oral health care. Combined with world-class faculty instruction, the renovated facility will feature an interactive hands-on learning environment that will provide the best possible care for our patients.” Mike Reddy, DMD, DMSc, Dean

Renovation plans include new flooring and cabinetry, as well as a fresh esthetic look. The clinic will honor the Art Deco style of the building with a contemporary feel to stand the test of time. Refurbished dental chairs, a new sterilizer, and enhanced lighting will also modernize the clinic.

In total, the renovation project will cost approximately $2 million and its scope will depend on the contributions of alumni and friends. Donors have the unique opportunity to “name” a single operatory bay by contributing half of its cost, a gift or pledge of $12,500, through the availability of matching funds secured by the School. The operatory bay may be designated in their name or in the name of a dental practice or someone else the donor may wish to honor or memorialize.* Naming opportunities for the project include:

$2 million Comprehensive Care Clinic
$100,000 Bay (8)
$50,000 Waiting Area
$25,000 Sterilization Area
$12,500 Operatory*
$7,500 Coordinator Office

For more information on how you can help with this project or other campaign initiatives, contact J. Scott Huffman, CFRE, Executive Director of Development at (205) 934-3601 or by email.

 Conan Davis 18 croppedGov. Robert Bentley announced April 26 that he had signed an executive order establishing the Health Literacy Partnership of Alabama. The Partnership comprises members from health care-focused agencies and organizations across Alabama. Conan Davis, DMD, UAB Dentistry assistant dean for Community Collaborations and Public Health, was appointed as an inaugural member.

The Health Literacy Partnership of Alabama, created by Executive Order 18, will recommend to the governor ways to improve the health literacy of Alabamians. Recommendations may take the form of regulatory or statutory changes, with initial recommendations due before the start of the 2017 regular session of the Alabama Legislature. Read more about the newly-established Partnership in the UAB News.

health literacy signing

Nico 5x7 lores 3234Nicolaas C. (Nico) Geurs, DDS, MS, Professor and Chair of the Department of Periodontology, has been named the First Holder of the Dr. Tommy Weatherford/Dr. Kent Palcanis Endowed Professorship in Dentistry. The appointment was approved by the Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama at its meeting held in April.

The endowed professorship acknowledges the notable careers of Dr. Weatherford and Dr. Palcanis, two outstanding educators who have made a difference in the profession. It is given in recognition of a full-time Periodontist who has a distinguished career in academics and has demonstrated a commitment to and excellence in the areas of teaching, research, and service.

Read more about Geurs’ appointment in the UAB News.