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For more than thirty years, members of the UAB School of Dentistry Class of 1988 have gotten together in the heat of August to play in the Terry Barrett Golf Invitational, named after Dr. Terry Barrett, a fellow classmate who passed away in 1999. Dr. Frank Kimbell attends the tournament every year.

""“We used to play public and local courses because that’s all we could afford when we first started,” Dr. Kimbell recalled. “But as we’ve gotten older, the venues have gotten much better. This year we played at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida.”

It’s rare for classmates to stay as close as those from the Class of ’88, but these friends make it a point to constantly keep in touch. “We have a big group text chain that we still chat on all the time,” explained Frank. “We keep up with each other’s families. Recently, a few members have parents who have passed away. It’s been nice to be in touch with them, to pray for their families, and to come together to do what we can to help them out through the tough times.”

These friendship bonds were initially formed by spending long hours together in class and in the dental school clinic. “Everyone in our class worked so hard,” said Dr. Kimbell. “We had to quickly learn and master skills we’d never done before. Everyone always remembers their first injections because after just a two-week anesthesia course, you had to pair up and practice on each other! You’re nervous because you’ve never given injections, and you’re nervous about receiving them from someone else who’s never done them!”

Despite the grueling curriculum, Frank quickly recognized his propensity for endodontics and got a summer job working in the Endodontic Clinic with Dr. Bob Barfield, the chair of the Department of Endodontics at that time. After graduating from dental school, he immediately began his Endodontic Residency at UAB.

“Dr. Barfield was a huge influence on my career. He gave me a tremendous philosophy for how to practice endodontics and how to treat people. He stressed the importance of taking the time to do things well, even if that wasn’t necessarily the fastest way to get them done.”

After finishing his residency program in 1990, he and his wife, Jan, were planning to move back to Mobile where they originally met as high school sweethearts. Frank even went as far as purchasing equipment there but just before they were set to head south, he was invited to join Endodontic Associates in Birmingham. Thirty years later, Dr. Kimbell is certainly pleased he made the decision to stay and practice with each of the endodontists of Endodontic Associates, especially Dr. Thomas “Pat” King (’77) and Dr. Ben Looney (’92), with whom he’s worked for the entirety of his career.

“Since Dr. King, Dr. Looney and I started practicing together, we’ve never had a cross word,” said Frank. “Accountants and other professionals who come in to work with us are always amazed that each of us is more concerned about how our decisions impact the other two dentists than how they impact us individually. It really is the ideal situation for a group practice.”

Dr. King retired in 2019, and Dr. Looney and Dr. Kimbell made the decision to merge their practices with Brookwood Endodontics – a subsidiary of HighFive Endodontics, LLC based in Birmingham, AL – about eight months ago, just before the COVID-19 shutdown. The decision to partner with HighFive Endodontics has turned out to be one of the best Dr. Looney and Dr. Kimbell could’ve made. They enjoy the ability to be a shareholder in a company doing things the right way.

“It’s been a dream for me to have someone walk in and tell me, ‘we like you and we want to help you practice endodontics as well as you possibly can,’” Dr. Kimbell said about HighFive. “I just tell them what I need to succeed and, and they provide it to me. It removes a tremendous amount of administrative burden, and I can concentrate on what I like to do, which is treating patients.”

Outside of the office, Dr. Kimbell enjoyed years of involvement in his children’s sporting teams. “My wife and I have four wonderful kids – two girls, Emily (31) and Bailey (29), and then a surprise third child that actually ended up being twin boys, Ben and Mitchell (22)! I coached many softball and soccer teams over the years,” Dr. Kimbell laughed.

Aside from the Terry Barrett Invitational in August, Dr. Kimbell likes to golf year round. “I play locally with a group of about 35 guys. We’re very traditionalist about it – we carry our own bags and walk the course. We call ourselves ‘The Hoofers’ because we’re just out there ‘hoofing’ along!” Frank joked.

Dr. Kimbell is also musically inclined, and has always played the guitar. He’s even had the opportunity to play in a couple of bands. “My dream retirement would be to have a standing gig in some little pub somewhere. And each week, I’d bring in different musicians I’ve met over time, and we’d sing a few songs together.”

It doesn’t sound like Dr. Kimbell is quite ready for retirement just yet though. Thirty years later, he still looks forward to coming to work each day. In January, he and Dr. Looney will welcome a new endodontist to their practice, fellow UAB graduate Dr. Matt Dean (’17).

“From the start of my pre-clinical dentistry courses at UAB, endodontics was just my thing,” explained Dr. Kimbell. “It fit me like a glove. The more I did it, the more I loved it. And that’s still true!”

If you would like to nominate a UAB School of Dentistry alumnus to be featured in an upcoming Alumni Spotlight, please email Elizabeth Carlson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..