Acting Dean’s Message

Photo of Dr. Davy Cheng, Acting Dean of Schulich Medicine & Dentistry

It has been another exciting year of new opportunity and change at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and I’m honoured and humbled to be serving as Acting Dean, working alongside the team in the Dentistry.

I officially began my term as Acting Dean on October 1 and it wasn’t long after that I had the pleasure of meeting many Dentistry alumni during Homecoming Weekend. I was pleased to attend several alumni events and to take part in recognizing the 2018 Dentistry Alumni of Distinction Award recipients, Drs. Karen Campbell, DDS’82 and Olaf Plotzke, DDS’77.

There is no shortage of good news to share about Dentistry this year.

A few months ago, we learned the Doctor of Dental Surgery Program received successful results from the Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP) in 2018.This review is undertaken once every seven years and is completed by the Quality Assurance Council of Ontario.

A few months later, a new leadership structure was announced for Dentistry. The structure includes four new roles: Associate Dean, Undergraduate Dental Education – Dr. Gildo Santos; Associate Dean, Graduate and Postgraduate Dental Education – Dr. Walter Siqueira; Associate Dean, Faculty Affairs – Dentistry – Dr. Hiran Perinpanayagam; and Assistant Dean, Dentistry Research – Douglas Hamilton, PhD. Each was appointed for a five-year term.

This team is providing strong leadership support within Dentistry and collaborating with programs across the School.

There was welcome news on the research front with oral health research receiving more than $1.1 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, supporting work led by Douglas Hamilton, PhD, looking at periodontal disease and Dr. Walter Siqueira, looking at novel treatment for dental caries. Meanwhile PhD Candidate Karla Crosara was awarded the prestigious NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship-Doctoral Award, which included funding of $63,000 for a three-year period. Crosara is supervised by Dr. Siqueira.

This past year, we proudly celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Dental Outreach Community Service (DOCS) program. It was founded with a desire to improve the oral health of people in the community who don’t have access to dental coverage or who encounter barriers to receiving dental care, and has had a profound impact. During the past 10 years, it has been supported by more than 160 volunteers and 650 dental students, partnered with 10 community agencies and hosted 159 clinics providing care to more than 2,156 community members.

We are grateful to Dr. Kenneth Wright for his founding of DOCS and to Dr. Les Kalman, DDS’99, for continuing to support such an important program, as well as to all the students and volunteers who give their time to this community outreach initiative.

Meanwhile, we’ve made strong progress in the recruitment of a new Vice Dean and Director for Dentistry and I look forward to providing updates on this important recruitment process.

Our work continues on Schulich Dentistry’s renewal. There’s no question that at times, this can be challenging, but together, we continue to work through day-to-day issues and focus on our goals. We remain committed to the directions and goals outline in Schulich Dentistry’s 10-year strategic plan. And there have been a number of accomplishments this past year.

Several major projects were advanced including the installation of the new patient management system for the clinic, a new PLA Preparatory Course being used in connection to recruitment for the Internationally Trained Dentists Program, and approval was given on the new clinical education model. We also welcomed several new adjunct faculty members to the team.

I look forward to our continuing work and to future opportunities and events to meet with more Schulich Dentistry alumni. In the meantime, I invite you to read this year’s issue of The Bridge. There are some very interesting stories featuring students, faculty, and alumni, and celebrating the achievements in Dentistry.

Acting Dean, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
Distinguished University Professor & EPICOR Research Chair, Western University