Dr. Hartsfield receives the award.

Amy Hartsfield, D.M.D., of Birmingham, AL is widely regarded as a problem solver by her friends and fellow dentists.

That is just one of the many reasons she was named the Outstanding Young Alumnus by the University of Alabama School of Dentistry Alumni Association at its annual Alumni Weekend.

Hartsfield graduated from the UAB School of Dentistry in 2004. After personally suffering from a sleep disorder and facial pain, she decided to give up her regular dental practice to specialize in the treatment of headaches, sleep disorders, and facial pain. “I have suffered from both of these disorders. I sought out help through the medical and dental community trying to get a diagnosis for my issues and no one could give me a diagnosis,” she explained.

“It was through further studying orofacial pain and dental sleep medicine where I found the correct diagnosis,” she continued. “It made me realize there are other people out there suffering and they are getting no answers either. This made me determined to further my education to help patients who have been suffering like I did.”

As a result, Hartsfield has earned more than five hundred hours of continuing education in these areas. With her expertise, she now lectures at her alma mater, as well as presents at numerous state and national meetings. “I think she is helping us all elevate the quality of care we can provide for our patients,” said Deborah Sema, D.M.D., M.S., who nominated her for the award.

In addition to serving as an active member of the dental alumni association, Hartsfield is a member of the Birmingham District Dental Society, the American Academy of Orofacial Pain, the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, the International Headache Society, and several other professional organizations. She was awarded Diplomate of the American Board of Orofacial Pain. She is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine and National Headache Foundation, making her the only clinician in the state to be simultaneously accredited by all three organizations.

She has remained active with the school of dentistry since her graduation, coordinating class reunions and leading a fundraising effort to endow the Eric Hughes Scholarship Fund. “Since I have been studying with dentists from all over the nation and world for orofacial pain, we do talk about our dental school experiences and requirements. I realize in hindsight how much more the UAB School of Dentistry requires from us as students compared to other schools. I feel like I was far closer to be ready for the “real world” of dentistry than dentists I know from other programs.”

Asked what advice she might give to current students or recent graduates, she said, “You are not done learning when you receive your Doctorate of Dental Medicine. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Continue to educate yourself with evidence-based dentistry programs. Remember what our school has taught us about evidence-based dentistry.”

By J. Scott Huffman, CFRE