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The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston hosted white coat ceremonies for 100 new dental students Aug. 10 in the Denton A. Cooley, MD and Ralph C. Cooley, DDS University Life Center, where the school’s 40 new dental hygiene students were honored in a separate ceremony Aug. 8. Houston dentist W. Kenneth Horwitz, DDS, of the Class of 1961 was the keynote speaker for the DDS ceremony, focusing on ethics and the professionalism expected of those who wear the white coats of health care.  Karen Novak, DDS, PhD, was the featured speaker for the dental hygiene students. Novak is associate dean for professional development and faculty affairs at the School of Dentistry, but she began her career as a dental hygienist.


Twenty-eight dental students from various Mexican universities visited The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston in June under the auspices of University Links (ULinks), a career and educational program in Mexico that helps students choose the right college for their career interests. ULinks organizes groups of Mexican students to visit educational institutions in the U.S. In Houston, the visitors were greeted by UTSD’s Hispanic Student Dental Association. President Paola Salazar and Vice President Lourdes Tavarez, both third-year dental students, opened the visit with a presentation, followed by tours of the facility led by HSDA members Diana Reyes, Patricia Lopez, Erika Mendez, Diana Carrillo, Jessica Rodriguez, Nemesio Rodriguez, Jessica Gonzalez and Diana Carillo. The visit concluded after an open forum where questions could be asked and answered.


A new book updating the history of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston from 2000-2015 is in the works and needs a name.  Clinical Professor Robert R. Debes, DDS, and Clinical Associate Professor Donald P. Butler, DDS, are working on the as-yet-unnamed sequel to their original departmental history, “Looking Back:  A History of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Training Program of The University of Texas – Houston 1949-1999.” A PDF version of the first book is on the departmental website.


Assistant Professor Sridhar Eswaran, BDS, MS, of the Department of Periodontics and Dental Hygiene at The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston has been chosen to receive the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) Foundation Fellowship to the American Dental Education Association/Academy for Academic Learning Institute for Teaching and Learning in the Health Professions for 2014.


At the invitation of Texas Children’s Health Plan, The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston participated in the recent Texas Black Expo Health Fair at the George R. Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston. Dental hygiene students joined dental students, two UTSD staffers and two faculty members in providing oral screenings, oral hygiene instructions and referral sources. UTSD’s mobile dental van was on site. UTSD volunteers included C.D. Johnson, DDS; Community Outreach Director Margo Melchor, RDH, MEd; Dental Van Coordinator Pat Henshaw, Dental Assistant Marina Munoz;, dental students Arsene Hanana, Brian Anyanwu, Terrell Thurman and Abimbola Olutimehin; and dental hygiene students Nina Pham, Sarah McCullough, Jessica Martinez, Kimberly Paz, Denise Murray, Elizabeth Castillo, and Jennifer Tran.

Texas Black Expo is an annual event designed to strengthen businesses, inspire youth and build better lives. 


Dean John A. Valenza, DDS, has announced the promotion of seven faculty members at The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston. Titles will change on Sept. 1 for Drs. Sercan Alkyalcin, Isabel Gay, Carolyn Huynh, Sudarat Kiat-amnuay, Joe Ontiveros and Kavitha Parthasarathy, as well as Joanna Allaire, RDH, MDH of the Dental Hygiene Program.  Their full credentials, departments and new titles are as follows:


Student members of the Beta Eta Chapter of Alpha Omega International Dental Fraternity at The University of Texas School of Dentistry volunteered at the inaugural American Diabetes Association EXPO® Houston at NRG Center in July.

Under the leadership of Associate Professor June Sadowsky, DDS, MPH, Alpha Omega members provided oral screenings and oral hygiene instructions to more than 100 attendees. Discussions on the systemic link between periodontitis and diabetes encouraged attendees to become proactive about their oral health.