MISSION: To optimize oral health in Alabama and beyond.

VISION: Leading oral health care.

STRATEGIC PLAN SUMMARY: Our values of excellence, patient-centered care, innovation, and teamwork are the guiding principles to the development of the plan. Our goals fall into 5 main themes: Research, Patient Experience, Students, Facilities, and Faculty. We are excited about the future of our School and look forward to collaborating with internal and external constitutes to accomplish our goals.



  • National Dental Practice Based Research Network: A unique investigative union of real-world practicing dentists and academic scientists working together to improve the nation’s oral health by building the knowledge base for clinical decision-making and moving the latest evidence into routine care.   Practicing dentists suggest problems and provide data and observations; UAB researchers investigate solutions and communicate these back to the practitioners.
  • Craniofacial and Dental Genetics: An inter- and multi-disciplinary integrated forum for the diagnosis, treatment, and development of novel therapeutics and gene discovery of disorders and syndromes related to the craniofacial. This program is designed to bring together basic scientists, geneticists, epidemiologists, molecular and developmental biologists to understand underlying causes of normal and abnormal development.
  • Oral Microbiome & Overall Health Research Program: A multi-disciplinary collaboration to determine the genomic, molecular, and cellular basis of oral microbiome and host interactions. The intent of the program is to study the impact of oral microbiome on disease outcomes in the oral cavity and in other parts of the body including cardiovascular, osteoarthritis, and diabetes.
  • Oral Cancer Research Program: According to the CDC, more than 30,000 new cases of cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx are diagnosed each year and more than 8,000 deaths are caused by oral cancer. This multi-disciplinary collaboration will look at the cellular basis of the disease and identify new methods of prevention and treatment.


  • No. 1 for NIDCR Funding – The school continues to strengthen its research themes with 317 publications this year (4.6 papers per full-time faculty member) and $12 million-plus in research funding ($220,000 per faculty member).
  • Global Center for Craniofacial, Oral, and Dental Disorders – This program was renewed as a UAB-funded Universitywide Interdisciplinary Research Center and continues to promote and foster basic science, translational, and clinical research-based partnerships among faculty, residents, students (health professional, graduate, and undergraduate) in the area of craniofacial, oral, and dental disorders.

Patient Experience


  • UAB Dentistry Cares Community Day: This program challenges dental professionals and shelters around the state to work in partnership with the School to provide free dental care to low and no-income adults and raises awareness of the increasing difficulty low-income adults’ face in accessing critical dental care.
  • Electronic Dental Record: Innovative technology moving the paper dental chart to an electronic dental record housed in a centralized practice management software, building the bridge to integrating medical and dental records.
  • First Impressions Program – Digital Signage: Electronic message boards networked together to promote branding, share internal information with faculty, staff, and students; and, enhance the patient experience by providing a platform to illustrate and communicate important dental health information.   Visual, interactive dentistry in 2D.
  • Wellness Clinic: A new and innovative clinic devoted to promoting healthy living and the prevention of illness and disease by bringing the holistic approach in medical care to dental care, providing patient’s optimal health care.


  • Electronic dental record – Full implementation expected in the fall 2015. Our next step will be to merge patient identifiers with UAB Medicine, paving the way for a system in which health-care providers can better work together to facilitate patient care, improved outcomes, and research.
  • Wellness Clinic – Seed funding has been received from the American Dental Association to pilot a program in spring 2015 with full implementation planned for the fall. This innovative clinic will be devoted to promoting healthy living and the prevention of illness and disease by bringing the holistic approach from medical care to dental care, providing for the patient’s optimal health. Additional donors are being sought to operate the clinic after seed funds have been spent.
  • Inter-professional screening program – A $150,000 grant from the DentaQuest Foundation enabled collaboration between UAB schools of Medicine, Nursing, Optometry and Health Professions to design an inter-professional training program to increase the oral health knowledge of health-care providers so they can collaborate with other health professionals to treat and refer patients appropriately.
  • UAB Dentistry Community Cares Day – For the second consecutive year, the SOD hosted this event with 400 patients in attendance. Patients received free exams, cleanings, extractions, and fillings, as well as educational sessions and oral cancer screenings. Event partners included the Birmingham District Dental Society, Cahaba Valley Health Care, Fortis Institute School of Dental Hygiene, Samford School of Pharmacy, and the UAB School of Nursing.
  • Health Resources and Services Administration – A $500,000 workforce grant providing six dentists over two years with the opportunity to practice four years each in an area with limited access to oral health care.



  • Diversity Recruitment: With rapid change in demographics our classrooms must reflect those changes. Integrating global talent into the classroom with a concentration on underrepresented minorities to ensure a critical mass of diversity within the dental profession is a mission we are passionate about at the School of Dentistry.
  • New Education Model: Blending the traditional classroom with an on-line classroom will provide more flexibility and convenience to students and capture the richness that great instructors bring to the classroom. Delivering high quality learning experiences to students will enhance their educational experience by increasing student engagement, giving them more time to absorb the material and increase overall achievement.
  • New Degree/Certificate Programs: Programs that allow students flexibility in designing degree programs that relate to their personal academic and career goals is critical to preparing them to be educationally competitive in today’s ever changing job market. Developing multidisciplinary fields of study will encourage and support creativity, innovation, and critical thinking and allow students’ a structured study format.


  • New degree/certificate/fellowship programs
    • Global Dentistry Program – Approval received from the ADA to increase enrollment for an advanced placement program. First class will be enrolled in fall 2015.
    • DMD/MPH – Joint partnership between the SOD and School of Public Health to offer a five-year program leading to both degrees.
    • Fellowship Programs – The departments of Orthodontics and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery have implemented programs to provide alternate pathways for enhanced training.
    • New educational model – the SOD is currently piloting online formats for three courses while maintaining traditional face-to-face meetings to augment the educational experience through case-based discussions and experiential learning exercises.
  • Diversity Recruitment
    • Impressions Program – The Student National Dental Association reported a 50 percent increase in the number of college students participating in this program, which is designed to recruit diverse students to the dental profession
    • Lessons in a Lunchbox – Nutritional education for elementary students in underserved areas that introduces them to the dental profession
    • Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) – A hands-on experience for middle- and high-school students with emphasis on a career in dentistry
    • Summer Health Enrichment Program (SHEP) – A recruitment program offered to college students interested in dentistry providing a hands-on introduction to the program



  • Modern, well-equipped and maintained facilities have a strong influence on the recruitment and retention of students, patients, and faculty. Renovating student laboratories, clinical space, and classrooms is one key to making UAB Dentistry the best place to work, learn, and seek patient care.


  • During the past seven years, the SOD has completed $7 million in needed major building renovations, including $1.4 million in minor refurbishments and $2.5 million in repairs, maintenance, equipment, and computer software. We just completed renovation of our dental laboratory space and are developing plans and pursuing funding to renovate our general dentistry clinic.

Faculty/ Philanthropy

Goal: Philanthropy plays an important role in the success of our School because support from generous donors allows us to establish endowments and professorships used to recruit and retain talented faculty. Building academic excellence is critical to the growth of our School and private giving helps us bridge the financial gap experienced as a result of declining state resources.


  • As of December 31, 2014, the SOD has raised $14 million in gifts.
  • A newly established Hinman Endowed Professorship for Comprehensive Dentistry was recently awarded to Perng-Ru Liu, DDS, MS, DMD, chair of the Department of Restorative Sciences.