Message from the Dean
It’s a very exciting time to serve as Dean of the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry. The College celebrated its golden anniversary in October 2012, and our current first-year students – the class of 2016 – will be the 50th class of new dentists to graduate from our school. Whether they choose to pursue a specialty in the field, enter dental practice, or become educators, they will join more than 2,200 alumni who represent the UKCD so well in their communities.
Along with all the celebrating, the UKCD had many other accomplishments in the past year. A few of those are
- A grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) provided funding for our fourth-year students to experience longer externships – that is, practice opportunities in a community setting that give them real-world experiences in private practice environments they choose. The UKCD was one of only five dental schools in the country to receive this grant.
- The outreach programs conducted by our faculty and students provide dental care for Kentuckians in underserved areas. In 2012, we received funding to purchase an additional mobile dental unit, allowing us to expand outreach in the western part of the state. Mobile units not only serve to meet a great need for oral health care, but they provide our students with opportunities to treat patients in their own communities.
- Our students expanded their traditionally generous philanthropic efforts even further in 2012. Their efforts at the Saturday Morning Clinics and the Mission Clinic in Lexington provided many thousands of dollars in free dental care to disadvantaged child and adults. They also raised money through fundraising events to support the Bluegrass Domestic Violence Center and the Head and Neck Alliance, as well as the Dan Seaver Memorial Scholarship and many other worthwhile efforts.
Our faculty, staff and students have plans for big things in 2013.
- A plan has been approved to renovate the sixth floor Pre-Clinic Simulation Lab, known as D-611. The construction, scheduled for Summer 2013, will create a total of 70 upgraded workstations and provide state-of-the-art training for our student dentists. This lab was last renovated in 1997.
- Our Orofacial Pain Clinic, one of only two to be fully accredited, will relocate to the Kentucky Clinic building in early spring. This program is dedicated to the teaching and management of orofacial pain disorders, and is the only such program in the region to use an interdisciplinary approach to treating orofacial pain.
- As part of our ongoing review of our DMD curriculum, a faculty task force has approved significant changes in the use of technology and collaboration in educating our students. We continually evaluate the latest materials, knowledge and other best practices to ensure our students and patients have the best experience.
The College’s founders insisted that our graduates be biologically oriented, technically capable and socially sensitive.
These principles remain at the core of our educational philosophy today. Given the rapid pace of expansion of medical knowledge, it is more important than ever for us to produce dentists who can meet the oral health -- and overall health – needs of their patients. Our faculty and staff are committed to these objectives, and to a culture of collegiality that supports our students and patients.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in dentistry or working in the field of dental education, I encourage you to learn more about the UKCD. Come see for yourself what a truly special place this is, and talk to our students, faculty, staff and patients. I believe you won’t find a group of people more dedicated to teaching, learning and serving.
Sharon P. Turner, DDS, JD