Celebrating 50 years of dental education and research

On September 11 and 12, 2015, dentistry alumni, faculty, staff and students will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the dentistry program. Dr. Wesley Dunn, founding dean, as well as the Programs leaders, will take part in a campus BBQ and Open House and Gala Dinner to commemorate the significant achievement.

Planning for the dentistry program began in the mid-1960s. At the time there was a severe shortage of dentists, one dentist for every 2,462 Ontarians, and only one dental school in the province. Dr. Dunn, who was part of the planning, was appointed dean, and tasked with the responsibility of building the school from the ground up.

Looking back, Dr. Dunn takes pride in the school and the students and applicants he mentored for more than 17 years.

“When I arrived at Western 50 years ago, it didn’t enter my mind that I would be helping to celebrate the golden anniversary of the establishment of the School,” said Dr. Dunn. “It’s a very special thing for me to see that a School that came from absolutely nothing 50 years ago is now a fully established, well-accredited program, graduating dentists for public service in this province and beyond.”

Schulich Dentistry has marked several milestones during the past 50 years, establishing programs to further advance dentistry, such as the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Postgraduate Program and the Internationally Trained Dentist program.

Locally, Schulich Dentistry, alumni faculty and students believe strongly in the value of social responsibility – giving back to the community and vulnerable populations through year-round activities, which include the Dental Outreach Community Service program and Oral Health, Total Health Sharing Smiles Day.

Schulich Dentistry is also dedicated to optimizing life-long health for all Canadians with its commitment to research excellence. Interdisciplinary research programs have made significant contributions to the understanding of a number of diseases and disorders, the development of novel biomaterials for tissue repair and regeneration, and new diagnostic tools to predict disease. These collaborations are improving the quality of life for people as researchers identify medical solutions to serious life-threatening diseases and medical complications.

“Celebrating Schulich Dentistry’s 50th Anniversary is not only the School’s accomplishment, but London’s as well,” said Dr. Michael J. Strong, dean, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. “Schulich Dentistry graduates practise in communities across the country and train the next generation of students, improving overall health for all Canadians. Dentistry is part of the School’s foundation – a solid example of our values of outstanding education, patient-centred care, social responsibility and scientific excellence shaping health care for the next generation.”