Basmah Aref was not some wide-eyed novice when she arrived at UAB in 2021 to start her training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry. In fact, she was already a dental school graduate with a year of experience working as an assistant at a pediatric practice.

Anyone who knows Dr. Milton Essig (Class of ’70), knows his attention to detail and his love of dentistry. During his thirty five years as a UAB School of Dentistry faculty member, he trained hundreds of UAB students, and even more through organized dentistry.

Dr. Nico Geurs

It is not uncommon for dental offices to use an image of a tooth in their signs or promotional materials. What you rarely see is an image of the gums. Yet gum health is an essential part of overall dental care. Nico Geurs, DDS, MS, Weatherford/Palcanis Endowed Professor and Chair in the Department of Periodontology at the UAB School of Dentistry, talks about the importance of not being dumb when it comes to the gums.

School of Dentistry - Front

The UAB School of Dentistry's Class of 2022 enjoyed a big slice of success regarding this year's new Integrated National Board Dental Examination.

Dr. Bruce Young

A self-confessed continuing-education junkie, Young says it’s an exciting time to be a dentist

Julie Duchock, Lauren Brashear, and Kaytlyn McAllister.

UAB School of Dentistry honors Class of 2024 at 22nd White Coat Ceremony

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Cleft lip and cleft palate defects show up in approximately one of every 700 babies born worldwide. It is a condition that can cause feeding problems in infancy, and lead to social embarrassment for pre-teens. UAB School of Dentistry Professor and Chair at the Department of Orthodontics Chung H. Kau, BDS, MScD, Ph.D., works with more than 100 such infants each year through the Cleft and Craniofacial Center at Children’s of Alabama.

Kimberly Carr.

Kimberly R. Carr, D.M.D., M.A., has accepted the position of Co- Director of the UAB Sparks Dental Clinic. The announcement was made by Janice Jackson, D.M.D., chair of the UAB School of Dentistry’s Department of Pediatric Dentistry. The appointment is effective immediately due to Dr. Stephen Mitchell, the current Sparks Dental Clinic director, assuming the duties of director of the SOD International Dentistry Program.

Since 2005, the UAB-led National Dental Practice-Based Research Network has conducted dozens of studies involving thousands of dental practitioners and patients. Now there is statistical evidence that the results of those efforts are being well received by the scientific community.

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The Covid-19 pandemic hit home for several UAB School of Dentistry students the past couple of years. One student was greatly impacted when her father passed due to COVID and her mother was also hospitalized for several weeks. Subsequently the family and the student suffered financially. The student, and others, who had financial hardships last year, were aided by the School of Dentistry Alumni Association’s Joy White Fund. All told, the association awarded $8,000 in emergency aid to four students.

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John P. Anderson, DMD of Rainsville, Ala was named the 2022 H. Moren Fuller Award winner by the University of Alabama School of Dentistry Alumni Association.

Emmanuel Williams standing in front of a grain silo wearing graduation cap and regalia.

New Blaze to D.M.D. program provides pathway for promising new School of Dentistry students

Leslie Buckley, her husband, and children.

Dean Russell S. Taichman has named Stephen (Steve) Mitchell, D.M.D., M.S., as codirector of the International Dentist Program (IDP) effective July 1, 2022. On December 1, 2022 he will take over the directorship. He will replace Dr. Sonya Mitchell, who intends to step down from the position in December.

Leslie Buckley, her husband, and children.

Graduates from the UAB School of Dentistry can guarantee they will leave with an excellent dental school education and clinical experience. Many will also take with them life-long friendships with classmates and faculty members, and fond memories of living in Birmingham. But every so often, students also leave with something (or, better yet, someone) even more special.

UAB School of Dentistry honored more than 75 Doctor of Dental Medicine graduates at its commencement ceremony for the class of 2022. Dean Russell S. Taichman, D.M.D., D.M.Sc., presided over the June 4 event at UAB’s Bartow Arena.

Dr. Anissa Broussard Holmes

One of South Florida’s favorite and fastest sports is Jai-Alai. The ball used in Jai-Alai is called a pelota and it travels at nearly 200 miles per hour. The two contestants bounce the smaller than a baseball pelota off walls with a curbed wicker scoop to score points. The game is fast, furious, and hard to keep up with. The same can be said for Dr. Anissa Broussard Holmes (‘99), who now makes her home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Dr. Keri Miller

Growing up in Montgomery, Ala., Dr. Keri Miller’s childhood interests looked a bit different from what you might expect of an aspiring dentist. Instead of focusing on science and healthcare, Dr. Miller spent her childhood engrossed in the fine arts.

Dr. Gayle Shaffer

It was supposed to be just a quick bite of lunch. Instead, it turned into a chance meeting that propelled second-year UAB School of Dentistry student Gayle Shaffer down the path toward becoming Rear Admiral Gayle Shaffer, Deputy Surgeon General in the United States Navy.

Dr. Nate Lawson

A lot has changed in the dental industry since the days of George Washington’s dentures (which actually were made of ivory, not wood). Innovations and advancements have regularly taken place over the centuries, from the invention of the dental drill in the late 1700s to the creation of the modern nylon toothbrush in 1938.

Dara Johnson and Zoie McIntosh.

Dara Johnson and Zoie McIntosh did not know each other when they arrived at the UAB School of Dentistry a year ago. But they have become such good friends since then that they are now embarking on a 13-month community health project together as members of the 2022-23 class of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship of Alabama (ASF).

Gerald Kugel and Nate Lawson

The 17th Annual Scholars Symposium will feature Gerald Kugel, DMD, MS, PhD, as keynote speaker. He will deliver an address entitled “Who Cares About Research, I’m a Clinician.” The talk will kick off the afternoon session, which will be held virtually on Thursday, April 7 beginning at 2:00 p.m.

Dr. Russell Taichman, Dean of the UAB School of Dentistry, used a couple of cliches to introduce the recipients of the School of Dentistry Alumni Association’s 2021 award winners. The recipients are pillars in dentistry and the Gadsden community.

School of Dentistry Alumni Association Officers

Every year, alumni from across Alabama and the nation converge on Birmingham, Ala for the Alabama Dental Alumni Association’s Alumni Weekend. This year it was different.

Entrance to UAB School of Dentistry.

UAB’s Student Research Group, a chapter of the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR) National Student Research Group (NSRG), has been recognized for having the greatest percentage of new AADOCR student members in 2021-2022.

Caris Smith

Caris Smith, a DMD/PhD student, has been selected for the 2022-23 Gert Quigley Government Affairs Fellowship by the American Association for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research (AADOCR).

Dr. Bruce Camp

Dr. Bruce Camp (’84) grew up in Alabama, graduated from the UAB School of Dentistry, and has lived and practiced dentistry in Georgia for 37 years. For the better part of those 37 years, he has been crossing state lines to maintain a strong bond with the School of Dentistry and its alumni association.

Dr. Stephanie Teichmiller

Dr. Doug Smith is no stranger to long days and hard work. That is because, on top of serving the Dothan, Ala. community as a trusted dentist of almost forty-five years, Dr. Smith works on his family farm where he raises pure bred Black Angus cattle.

Dr. Stephanie Teichmiller

At the time she was growing up on the family farm in Western Kentucky, Dr. Stephanie Teichmiller (’90) had no inkling she would become a dentist.

Dr. Jim Phillips, Jr.

Growing up, Dr. Jim Phillips, Jr. didn’t always know he was going to become a dentist. But he did know he was destined to love sports and Auburn University.

Dr. Clay Wright

Dr. Clay Wright (’01) doesn’t look near as big or menacing as he did when he played linebacker and offensive guard for the Troy University Trojans, but he still carries many of the life lessons he learned on the gridiron.

Dr. Bill Sasser

Charleston, S.C. is home to several nonprofit dental and medical clinics that provide healthcare to underserved communities around the city. And chances are good that, if you walk into any one of these clinics, you might run into periodontist Dr. Bill Sasser.

Dr. Bob DeShazer

If you’ve ever attended the Alabama General Dentistry (AGD) meetings in Destin, Fla., you’ve likely seen and heard the man who emcees the raffle drawing each year, possibly wearing a Hawaiian shirt and winning the crowd over with his laidback charm and clever one-liners. That’s Dr. Bob DeShazer, one of the most fun and easy-going dentists to have ever walked the halls of the UAB School of Dentistry.

Dr. John Anderson

In the fall of 1969, Dr. Charles “Scotty” McCallum, dean of the School of Dentistry at the time, hosted a meet-and-greet reception at his home for the School’s incoming freshmen. Among those in attendance were John Anderson, and his new wife, Mimi.

Amjad Javed in his lab

Amjad Javed, Ph.D. has been named director of the Global Center for Craniofacial, Oral and Dental Disorders (GC-CODED). He also serves as the interim associate dean for research and director of postgraduate education in the School of Dentistry.

Hope Amm headshot

An R21 award will help Hope Amm, Ph.D., further a lifelong journey of scientific discovery by advancing her research on genetics and signaling pathways in oral tumors.

Members of the class of 1972.

There’s no question the rigors of dental school are just as demanding today as they were 50 years ago. While dentistry has changed in so many ways the past 50 years, the tight bonds developed between classmates remains a constant. Set to have their 50-year reunion in 2022, the Class of 1972 may be the tightest of them all.

UAB students in the 2021-22 class of Alabama Schweitzer Fellows

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF) of Alabama recently announced the selection of its 2021-22 class of Alabama Schweitzer Fellows and UAB School of Dentistry is well represented.

Dr. Calvin Sanders

Dr. Calvin Sanders attended Auburn University from 1965 to 1969, and remembers how much fun he had as an undergraduate student. Perhaps even a bit too much fun at first.

Dr. Grady Price

For one reason or another, the Medical College of Alabama in Birmingham chose not to accept Dr. Grady Price’s application to enter medical school for the fall of 1959. At the time, Dr. Price was studying pre-med at the University of Alabama and was preparing for a career as a physician when his plans abruptly changed.

Karter Smith accepts Dean’s Medal during Class of 2021 Commencement ceremony

UAB School of Dentistry honored over 150 Doctor of Dental Medicine graduates at its recent commencement ceremony. Held for the Class of 2021, the June 5 event also included members of the Class of 2020 who returned to celebrate in-person following a virtual ceremony last year.

Warren Arrasmith, D.M.D., associate professor and clinic director in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, was honored with the SSOMS Lifetime Achievement Award at the 72nd meeting of the Southeastern Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

The statue of Vulcan overlooking the Birmingham skyline.

Yuyin Lin, D.D.S., a third-year resident in pediatric dentistry, has been awarded the prestigious 2021 American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) Graduate Student Research Award (GSRA).

The statue of Vulcan overlooking the Birmingham skyline.

Whether it’s hunting big game, treating dental patients, or making a big time philanthropic gift, Dr. Bill Adams (’69) of Albertville, Ala., believes in going all out. Adams recently made an $800,000 planned gift commitment to endow a professorship for the UAB School of Dentistry. The dental school will realize the gift through his estate.

The Gillespie family poses with Micky and Minnie Mouse.

It’s no secret that dentistry is an excellent profession, and most dentists love their jobs. However, most would also agree that much of their four years of dental school were spent grinding, just putting one foot in front of the other to push to the end. Dr. Mary Leigh Gillespie is the exception.

Dr. Sonia Makhija.

Sonia Makhija, DDS, MPH, was integral to the Department of Clinical and Community Sciences and to the National Dental Practice Based Research Network, housed within the UAB School of Dentistry. Having passed away last Fall, she continues to be missed by her colleagues and friends.

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Dr. Clark Browne grew up in Vincent, Ala., a small rural town just outside of Birmingham with a population of about 1400 at the time.

Dr. Peter Waite shares his memories about the late Dr. Scotty McCallum, former dean of the School of Dentistry and president of UAB.

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Mark McIlwain, D.M.D., M.D., provided leadership in Alabama when the dental profession needed it most – to address the COVID-19 pandemic, while keeping patients and personnel safe and making it possible for practices and the school of dentistry’s clinics to reopen.

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The Student National Dental Association (SNDA) chapter at UAB recently hosted one of the school’s leading diversity initiatives.

West Princeton Dental Clinic PC, owned by Dr. Adolphus Jackson, sits quietly tucked away on the west side of Birmingham. It is located on the same property where an Italian-owned grocery store once stood in the West Princeton community where Dr. Jackson was raised.

In 2020, Scholars Symposium was our school's first event to be impacted by the pandemic. While not yet on limited business operations, we had to postpone our guest speaker and limit the event to on campus participants only.

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The Russell Wing on the first floor of the UAB Hospital is a special place. Here, faculty and residents of the School of Dentistry’s General Practice Residency (GPR) and Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) programs provide dental care to medically complex patients of all ages.

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School of Dentistry graduate, retired faculty member, and former Leadership Council member Dr. Wilson Wright, Jr. shares his “Stories About Scotty.”

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The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Dentistry’s Alumni Association has established the Scott and Susan Huffman Endowed Scholarship Fund, named in honor of their executive director, J. Scott Huffman, and his wife Susan.

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The Clifton O. Dummett Sr. Essay Competition on Diversity in Dentistry & Dental Education announced the winning essayists on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2021. Jacob Martin, a first year D.M.D. student, won Magna Honors for his submission.

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.

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.

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.

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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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Ashraf F. Fouad, DDS, MS, has been appointed chair of the School of Dentistry Department of Endodontics following a national search. He will also serve as the Endodontics program director.

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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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