By RUTH CUMMINS
When the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry opened in 1975, the founding faculty and the very first students who walked its halls set expectations for the future of dentistry in the State.
Today, a group of esteemed faculty and prominent practitioners in the community support and promote the state’s only dental school through the establishment of four named development funds. Each laureate has designated an area of ââneed that will be at the center of their fund.
“Here are seven people who are much admired, well respected and who were kind enough to say that they would be willing to have their names associated with these funds,” said Dr. Sreenivas Koka, Dean of the School of Dentistry and Professor of Planning care and restorative sciences.
âThey don’t just put their name on a fund. They support initiatives that really matter and matter to them. “
Together, the winners are building a better future for the School of Dentistry. Two of them, Dr John B. Smith and Dr Daniel Quon, are members of this first class and together graduated in 1979.
What the four funds have in common, Koka said, is their focus on students.
“All of them will be used to improve something about the student experience, whether it’s scholarships, a fund to help the patients they work with, diversity and inclusion or an award. faculty, âhe said. “The winners want to make sure it improves the student experience.”
The funds and those they honor:
Dr. John Smith, Associate Professor of Dentistry in the Department of Care Planning and Restorative Sciences, received the John B. Smith, DMD Scholarship Fund.
The John B. Smith, DMD Scholarship Fund will provide college scholarships to attract top students to become future dentists.
Smith, Second Level Dean and Associate Professor in the Department of Care Planning and Restorative Sciences, is the only current full-time professor in the founding class. He began his tenure in 2012 after selling his long-standing family practice and joining the faculty as an associate professor.
The new development fund can play a role not only in bringing stellar students to campus, but encouraging them to practice in Mississippi, he said.
âWhat I’ve noticed about the admissions process since 2014 is that we have so many good students that we want to recruit, but so do the other schools. The best students are accepted at several schools, but we do not have the funding and scholarships available to keep them. They want to come here, but some of the other schools have scholarships that we can’t, âSmith said.
“The more dentists we can train here at our school, the more likely they will stay in Mississippi.”
Dr. Leon Anderson, who practices with Anderson Dental LLC in Jackson, has been honored with the Leon Anderson Jr., DMD Diversity and Inclusion Fund.
The Leon Anderson Jr., DMD Diversity and Inclusion Fund will enable more underrepresented and disadvantaged students to graduate and practice dentistry and practice in Mississippi.
Anderson cares for patients in his private practice, Anderson Dental LLC in Jackson. After graduating from the School of Dentistry in 1985, he joined the Department of Care and Restorative Planning as Deputy Director of the General Medicine Residency Program. He served UMMC as Director of the Multicultural Affairs Division from 1989 to 2002 and was Chief of Dental Services at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Jackson from 2005 to 2015.
It has a simple message for alumni and friends of the School of Dentistry: Please support the fund.
âWe need your help to increase the number of underrepresented and disadvantaged studentsâ who stay in Mississippi to practice after graduation, Anderson said. âThere are great people who live in this state, want to serve this state and are committed to stay in this state. We need our students to stay here.
There are many pockets of communities across the state that don’t have dentists, Anderson said. âWe want to recruit people who will live and serve in these areas. “
Dr. Tracy Dellinger, Professor of Dentistry and Chair of the Department of Care Planning and Restorative Sciences, received the Tracy M. Dellinger, DDS Patient Relief Fund.
The Tracy M. Dellinger, DDS Patient Assistance Fund will provide billing assistance for low-income and underserved patients. It will also benefit dental and dental hygiene students who need vital hands-on training.
Dellinger, professor and chair of the Department of Care Planning and Restorative Sciences for the past five years, previously led the dental residency program. She graduated from the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston, completed a one-year residency in general dentistry at UMMC School of Dentistry in July 1996, followed by a fellowship dental, and never left.
She believes the creation of the fund can make a real difference in getting the care patients need, as well as recruiting and training students to treat them.
âI hope the alumni will be very supportive of the fund,â Dellinger said. âThey were part of an education system where they were dependent on support, and they also recognize the financial constraints of the patients they treated while in school and the issues they had with it. access to care.
The Outstanding Faculty Award in Recognition of Dr Jeffrey Brown, Dr Stephen Gandy, Dr George May and Dr Daniel Quon is awarded annually to a full-time faculty member chosen by the D4 dental class as the teacher most influential during the DMD program.
May, Quon, and Brown are oral surgeons practicing in the Jackson metro area and are also part-time clinical professors in the Department of Oral-Maxillofacial Surgery and Pathology. Gandy retired from private practice five years ago, but remains a part-time clinical faculty member.
A graduate of the School of Dentistry in 2001, Brown is vice president and partner of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates at Flowood and Madison. He was also Associate Professor and Program Director in the Department of Surgery and Oral-Maxillofacial Pathology of the School of Dentistry from 2013 to 2016 and has been a part-time clinical professor since 2016.
âUltimately, (professors) are the ones who light the flames, allowing students to carry the torches of the profession,â Brown said. âIt is very fitting that the students choose who receives this award. “
Gandy, who graduated from the School of Dentistry in 1988, has enjoyed a 24-year career with associates in oral and maxillofacial surgery. He has been a part-time clinical faculty member since 1994.
âIt’s one thing to get a salary and financial support for the things you need to do in your job, but this award would encourage our faculty,â Gandy said. “They can use it to advance their education, if they want to, and then turn around and bring that expertise back to the school.”
May, who graduated from the School of Dentistry in 1986, practiced in a private family practice before separating 15 years ago to form George W. May Jr. DMD Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Flowood.
He hopes alumni and dentists across the state donate to the fund in hopes of retaining and recruiting stellar professors.
âThe hardest working teachers should be encouraged,â he said. “They are doing everything they can to do more and to make the dental school experience and training the best it can be.”
Quon has been a clinical faculty member in the Department of Oral-Maxillofacial Surgery and Pathology since 1984 and today holds the rank of Affiliate Professor. Since 1984, Quon has practiced in a private solo practice, Daniel Quon, DMD Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Jackson.
âBeing in the first class that started and ended, I want to give back to school,â Quon said. âA faculty member can make or break you. We felt like we wanted to recognize the people who make a difference in the lives of the students.
For more information on fund support, visit umc.edu/dentistryfund