The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston recognized the most outstanding students of the dental hygiene Class of 2013 at a graduation and awards banquet May 10. A dozen students were honored for excellence in leadership, professional commitment, academics and patient care at the awards banquet, held at Bella Elegante in downtown Houston. The event also celebrated the 34-member graduating class.
The San Jose Clinic, which offers health services to Houston’s poor, raised more than $180,000 at its “Art with Heart” fundraiser in April, and University of Texas School of Dentistry student Khushbu Patel was there as a volunteer, telling visitors and donors about her experiences providing dental care to low-income patients at San Jose. UTSD has a long-standing partnership with the clinic, which relies heavily on volunteer dentists, dental hygienists, physicians, nurses, students and others to provide an array of primary and specialty care to patients. At the April 13 event, donated artwork was auctioned off to raise money for the clinic. As a second-year dental student, Patel volunteered frequently at San Jose, including screening children who participated in UTSD’s “Give Kids a Smile Day” in February. The annual event provided free dental care to nearly 150 children from low-income families.
To mark the first year in their new facilities, The University of Texas School of Dentistry and UTHealth Auxiliary Enterprises will host an anniversary celebration from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, June 6 on the patio of the Denton A. Cooley, MD and Ralph C. Cooley, DDS University Life Center. UTSD employees and students are invited to enjoy free cupcakes and punch. At the same time and location, the UTSD Employee Relations Committee will be selling two grilled chilidogs and chips for $4. Proceeds help pay for the ERC’s annual holiday and end-of-year parties.
Two faculty newcomers – Yasmine Haddad, DDS, PhD, and Debra Stewart, DDS – along with popular faculty veteran Harold Henson, RDH, MEd, have won teaching awards at The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston. Haddad is the winner of the John Freeman Award for Outstanding Non-Clinical Teaching, chosen by first- and second-year dental students. Stewart won the John P. McGovern Award for Outstanding Teaching, selected by third- and fourth-year dental students. And dental hygiene students have chosen Henson as winner of the Lorna J. Bruning Award for Clinical Teaching Excellence. They were among 10 faculty members were nominated for teaching awards this year. The other nominees were Dr. Stephen Laman, Dr. Art Jeske, Dr. Amity Gardner, Dr. Long-Duc Tran, Dr. Ted Pate, Dr. Dedra Davis-Wallace and Dr. Cameron Jeter. Henson was the only nominee for the dental hygiene award.
Houston-area children are a little safer this week after UT School of Dentistry and Lifeprint Next Generation teamed up May 11 to provide free dental screenings and oral hygiene information, plus the children’s palm and fingerprints saved on CDs for their parents to keep. Students from UT School of Nursing also volunteered to do blood pressure screenings for both children and adults. UTSD Community Outreach Director Margo Melchor, RDH, MEd, thanked approximately 30 volunteers for their help, noting that while the turnout was lower than expected, the children and parents really appreciated the services provided.
At an open house this week, The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston unveiled its newest state-of-the-art laboratory facilities inside the UT Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) Building adjacent to the School of Dentistry. The buildings are connected on four levels. The BBS fourth floor will house UTSD’s Center for Craniofacial Research, and during the open house, guests got a peek at the area’s cutting-edge research space and equipment.
Safdar “Sid” Khoja has joined the Office of Technology Services & Informatics at The University of Texas School of Dentistry as a systems and applications specialist. He is the department’s newest employee since Brittany Bock joined the staff in October, also as a systems and applications specialist.
Khoja earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UT-San Antonio; Bock earned a bachelor’s degree in health sciences from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. Both she and Khoja earned certificates in health information technology from UT-Austin in 2012 and have experience with various electronic health record programs, including AllScripts, eClinicalWorks, eMDs, Greenway and Nextgen.