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In today’s world of multi-media, social media, and bright lights, you’ll be hard pressed to find a thriving dental practice that doesn’t have its own web site. If you start searching for Dr. Jiann-Jang “Eric” Wu’s endodontic practice in Winter Park, Florida you won’t find a website, because he’s never had one.

Dr. Eric Wu and Scott Huffman Dr. Eric Wu and Scott Huffman Just like in the pursuit of his dental education at UAB, Dr. Wu has also been methodical in building his burgeoning endodontic practice. “I’ve been practicing for thirty-three years, and haven’t needed a web site. Our practice is based on referrals. We make sure our patients receive tender loving care,” said Wu.

To better understand Dr. Wu’s professional growth, it’s important to know his journey. Born and raised in Taiwan, Wu was the son of two teachers. He also had siblings and in-laws who were teachers, so bettering his education was of paramount importance. His uncle, a physician, was also an influencer in his early life. Wu would go on to complete his dental training at Taipei Medical University in Taiwan.

While there, a professor introduced him to the world of research. Wu learned there was a lot of new research, specifically in the sterilization for root canals being conducted in the United States, and UAB was at the forefront of this work.  “I looked to continue my education in the United States. I was impressed with all the research in the endodontics specialty. I looked at a few schools in the U.S., but clearly UAB was the best and had the most research opportunities”, he said.

Wu was accepted into the UAB Department of Endodontics residency program in 1984. He and his wife, Rosa, whom he met at the Taipei Medical University, packed their bags and made the twenty-hour flight to Birmingham. He was mentored by Department Chair Dr. Bob Barfield, and Drs. Alley, Buggs, Hunter, and King. “I had a wonderful education at UAB. I was lucky to have great faculty. We always had a lot of questions, and UAB really opened my eyes,” he said.

After earning his endodontics certificate in 1986, Wu entertained thoughts of pursuing a career in academic medicine. In fact, he stayed on another three years at UAB to teach endodontics while earning a Master’s in Dentistry. “Dr. Jack Lemons was another faculty member who was a mentor. He really helped me with my research and was a big reason why I pursued the master’s degree,” said Wu.

But with a growing family, Wu had to decide on whether to pursue a career in private practice or on the academic side. Ultimately, he chose the private practice route. “We looked at practicing in Florida. We looked at Jacksonville and the Florida Panhandle, before landing in Orlando in 1990. “To build a practice from scratch was tough, but we did it”. Wu credits his success to “being careful, patient, and detail oriented”.

Dr. Wu has been practicing in Winter Park, Fla for thirty-three years. Today, he and Rosa are finally slowing down and plan this year to spend time with their grown children and young grandchildren scattered across the globe. Their daughter is living in Chicago and their son currently resides in Africa. After a long, satisfying career in endodontics, Dr. Wu is looking forward to enjoying his retirement. “We owe a lot to UAB, and I am grateful for my wonderful experiences there,” said Wu.