Each year, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Dentistry graduates enter the field ready to put the knowledge and techniques learned over the previous four years to work. But for Dr. Tom Willis, who graduated from the School of Dentistry in 1977, the school provided him with much more than just dental skills.

Dr. Madelyn Coar has been a valuable part of the School of Dentistry and the Department of Endodontics.

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Dr. Paul Sproul, an orthodontist at Alabama Pediatric Dental Associates, has a master’s and a doctorate degree, but never actually graduated from an undergraduate program.

Raquel Mazer

Raquel Mazer, DMD, MS, MPH, has been honored as a Fellow of the International College of Dentists, USA Section, within the district encompassing Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. She was sponsored by Dr. Toni Neumeier.

The Student National Dental Association (SNDA) chapter at UAB has a proud history of award-winning service.

People sitting in a room watching a presentation.

The courses and speakers were set. The contracts for venues were signed. The brochures were printed and ready to send. UAB School of Dentistry’s continuing education program was geared up for a busy, yet normal spring. That is, until the pandemic changed everything.

Dr. Ralph Kurry Wyatt's headshot

It doesn’t take long after meeting and speaking to Dr. Ralph Kurry Wyatt (‘73) to realize he is a fantastic storyteller, and he does not like to be bored.

Since the inaugural Alabama Schweitzer Fellows class kicked off in 2016, UAB School of Dentistry fellows have made the most of their time in the prestigious program. Though they use different tactics, their projects have one thing in common: improving oral health and overall health in vulnerable populations.

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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.

If Elvis Presley is the King of Rock and Roll, then Presley Pruitt is the Queen of the Dental Office.

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I had the privilege of handing out t-shirts to third and fourth year students last Friday with Alumni Association President Bruce Camp, Dean Russ Taichman, and Alumni and Special Events Coordinator Abby Vinson.

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“I’m sorry, I have to step out for a moment,” Dr. Coggin interrupted. “We have a patient who is apparently refusing to receive their injections from anyone other than me. I’ll be right back.”

Dr. Kumar Patel

Dr. Kumar Patel (’03) traveled across multiple continents to claim the UAB School of Dentistry as his alma mater. Patel is originally from Ahmedabad, India but he calls London his home town because that’s where he spent his formidable years and “…discovered myself as a person.”

Ping Zhang, DDS, PhD

A recent paper by Ping Zhang, DDS, PhD, Professor in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, has been selected for the ‘Frontline Science’ section and featured as leading edge research in the October, 2020 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology (JLB).

Charles Crowder met Kristen Flowers at a fraternity party in 1995, when the two were undergrads at Birmingham-Southern College.

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The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) Student Chapter was recently named national chapter of the year.

Toys for Tots campaign

When a newly reestablished School of Dentistry Staff Council kicked off in July 2019, the group quickly went to work developing initiatives to support and engage staff school-wide. That was before COVID-19 brought its activities to a halt.

Dr. Ben Cumbus (’72) of Montgomery, Ala received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the UAB National Alumni Society.

"Dr. Karen Clements-Crunk"

In 1965, Karen Fox walked into her first day of classes at the University Of Alabama School Of Dentistry in Birmingham, Alabama. She was the only woman in the room. In fact, she was the only woman in her entire class of 52 students.

Dean Taichman

Written by: Russell S. Taichman, D.M.D., D.M.Sc.

In March 2019, I had an opportunity to see the future. So close, but no cigar.

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Mark Abere, DMD, (’19) recently launched The Minor Details (TMD), a blog which he titles “a culmination of minority experiences in dentistry, retold to educate and inspire.”

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Michelle Robinson, DMD, MA, was recognized for her service as interim dean by The Links, Incorporated, Tri-County (AL) Chapter. The award, for international trends and services, was presented at the organization’s annual “Model 2020” event honoring model citizens.

Steven Beard headshot.

Being awarded the Dr. Charles E. Smith Endowed Scholarship means everything to Steven Beard. The Birmingham native plans to graduate from the UAB School of Dentistry in 2023, and he’s hoping to do it without taking on a lot of debt.

Dr. Thomas “Tommy” Weatherford

If you ask UAB School of Dentistry alumni to list the professors they remember from their time in school, chances are good that Dr. Tommy Weatherford’s name will be on that list.

"SHEP class priot to COVID-19"

With UAB in limited business operations, its annual Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) was held virtually in 2020.

Dr. Raquel Mazer headshot.

Dr. Raquel Mazer was appointed Director of Community Collaborations shortly before COVID-19 began upending community outreach. She explained how she is settling in to her new position and advancing community partnerships in the wake of the pandemic.

Austin Stiles wearing surgical mask and standing in front of UAB Dentistry sign.

Austin Stiles, a third year D.M.D. student, has assumed an out-of-the-box role at the School of Dentistry.

Michelle Dandridge

Dr. Michelle Dandridge (’06) opened Dandridge Dental Family Dentistry in Dothan, Alabama in 2011, just five years after she graduated from UAB’s School of Dentistry.

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Lean and mean. This is the phrase Dr. Thomas Dudney (’77) of Alabaster, Alabama uses to describe how his office is organized.

"Julia Pham and Bhumika Patel"

Two D.M.D. student researchers recently participated in the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) ePoster Competition, held virtually this year.

"Dean Taichman"

Written by: Russell S. Taichman, D.M.D., D.M.Sc.

July 1 marked my first anniversary as your dean. It has been an amazing and exhilarating experience filled with great highs, as well as many fun and certainly unusual challenges. If you will indulge me, I’d like to share the year from my vantage point.

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Earlier this summer, Dr. Peter Waite stepped down as Chair of UAB’s Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMS). Dr. Patrick Louis was appointed the interim successor to Waite, who had served as chair since 1993.

"Dr. Mark McIlwain"

For most dentists in Alabama, the COVID-19 shutdown during March and April meant slowing down and spending a lot more time at home. Unless, of course, you are Dr. Mark McIlwain.

"Dean Taichman"

Written by: Russell S. Taichman, D.M.D., D.M.Sc.

These past few months, the University of Alabama System and our campus community have worked together to implement guidance at UAB in response to COVID-19.

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Dr. Forrest Bryant (’97) was recently recognized as a 2020 UAB Excellence in Top 25 Business Class member, but it wasn’t in dentistry, the profession he trained for at UAB.

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Dr. Karen Connell (’00) has been with the Anniston Dental Group in Anniston, Alabama for ten years, and took the practice over from her father and fellow UAB School of Dentistry alumnus, Dr. Art Lewis (’67), in 2012.

Bhakti Desai and Parker Alison headshots.

Dr. Christy Savage, Dr. Lindsay Limbaugh, and Dr. Keith Harvey all closed their offices by the March 19 COVID-19 mandate from the state legislature, and they remained closed to patients until Monday, May 4.

Bhakti Desai and Parker Alison headshots.

As Glen Smith, D.M.D., graduated from the University of Alabama School of Dentistry in 1969, his incredible journey was just beginning.

"Dean Taichman"

Written by: Russell S. Taichman, D.M.D., D.M.Sc.

Words matter. Words matter a lot.

Bhakti Desai and Parker Alison headshots.

The Class of 2020 was presented on May 30 in a virtual commencement ceremony. Dean Russell S. Taichman, D.M.D., D.M.Sc., presided to confer the Doctor of Dental Medicine degrees.

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It’s a good thing Dr. Rodney Marshall (’85) has been a student of leadership for much of his adult life. He has been called upon to be a leader in his community and profession time and time again.

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Dr. Holt Gray (UAB School of Dentistry ’04, ’07), is a prosthodontist at the Luma Dentistry in McCalla, where he has worked since 2008.

Raymond (Ray) Dawkins II and Bhakti Desai.

The School of Dentistry hosts Honors Convocation each spring to recognize students for their outstanding academic and leadership efforts.

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UAB School of Dentistry will stream a virtual commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 30 to honor its 2020 Doctor of Dental Medicine graduates in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Most of us look for the silver lining in this dark cloud known as the COVID-19 pandemic. For me, I’ve learned to use Zoom and visit with family and alumni virtually.

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Drs. David and Melissa Roden are both graduates of the School of Dentistry at UAB.

"Faculty and staff manage school's COVID-19 screening station"

It’s hard to imagine a world where the UAB School of Dentistry, its faculty and students aren’t focused on treating patients, learning, researching, and helping the underserved.

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When Ben Ingram, D.M.D., of Piedmont, AL was honored with the UAB School of Dentistry’s Distinguished Alumnus Award at the alumni association’s recent Alumni Weekend, the 1984 graduate said he was “humbled and surprised."

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

Dean Russell S. Taichman recently announced several senior leadership appointments and updates regarding key positions within the School of Dentistry.

Group of volunteers wearing TeamSmile shirts.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Student Recreation Center was bustling with volunteers, sponsors and program staff who came together on February 5 for the city’s second TeamSmile event.

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Dr. Bill Chesser (Class of 1967) and his wife, Chris, recently included the School of Dentistry in their estate plans. The Hueytown native has been giving back to his profession for more than 50 years.

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Dr. Kent Palcanis and his wife, Phoebe, have pledged $500,000 over the next five years to endow a professorship in the Department of Periodontology. Palcanis is a School of Dentistry Professor Emeritus and serves on the UASOD Alumni Association Executive Council as an Alumnus By Choice (ABC) representative.

Woman standing in front of poster and talking to two people.

Scholars Symposium is an annual celebration of the school’s research accomplishments, highlighting the achievements of students, residents, and faculty as they impact oral health locally and globally. This year’s theme is Craniofacial Development and Dental Genetics.

Harunur Rashid being presented with a certificate.

Harunur Rashid, Ph.D., a Dental Academic Research Trainee (DART) postdoctoral scholar in Dr. Javed Amjad’s lab, received first place for his poster presentation entitled “Title: Runx2 Activity in Hypertrophic Chondrocytes Regulate Cartilage and Bone Homeostasis” at the Sixth Annual CAMBAC Research Day at UAB.

Two dentists in scrubs sitting in an exam room.

Over 200 underserved and homeless people in the Birmingham area received teeth cleanings, fillings and extractions at no cost as part of the seventh annual ‘UAB Dentistry Cares’ Community Day, which took place on October 16 at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry.

Woman presenting information from a poster.
Scholars Symposium is a yearly celebration of the school’s rich history and current accomplishments, showcasing the achievements of students, residents, and faculty in preparing the next generation of academicians and scientists to impact oral health locally and globally.

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