Dear students, faculty, alumni, staff, and friends,
Welcome back. I hope that you returned rested from your vacations and are as enthusiastic as I am about the changes underway in 2008.
As many of you have noticed already, we have undertaken the refurbishment of Room 13-041, our main dental school classroom in Westwood. Meanwhile, our staff, faculty, students and staff at the Wilson-Jennings-Bloomfield UCLA Venice Dental Center have had front-row seats for the renovation that has been taking place there. On Saturday, April 12, we all will have a chance to assemble in Venice for a ribbon-cutting ceremony and community open house. Please hold the date on your calendars.
Further, I am pleased to report that in December 2007 I met with campus officials to sign the official paperwork recognizing $2 Million in TIER Program funding for the School of Dentistry. TIER is an acronym for the Technology Infrastructure for Education and Research Program which will make possible a major overhaul of the network system that supports both school and clinic operations.
One more change that I am extremely pleased to announce is an upward trend in the funding we receive from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. According to the NIDCR's report, we now rank #5 among dental schools that receive funding from this arm of the National Institutes of Health. All UCLA School of Dentistry researchers should be warmly congratulated for their efforts toward this unprecedented achievement.
As this January 2008 newsletter conveys, there are a great many positive things happening around the School of Dentistry. I look forward to what is next.
Dean No-Hee Park, D.M.D, Ph.D.
Policy Watch: Fluorides & Mercury
City of Santa Monica Begins Water Fluoridation
On Monday, November 26, 2007, after a more than 10-year policy struggle, residents of Santa Monica began drinking fluoridated water. We asked professors at the School of Dentistry to weigh in with their points of view on the subject of water fluoridation, which ranks high among perennially contested public policy issues.
"I'm so glad Santa Monica is now finally fluoridated. Childhood cavities are one of the most common of all diseases in children and fluoridation will make a huge significant 'dent' (50-70% reduction). I get really happy thinking of all the pain, swelling, and surgery that will be avoided. As a practicing pediatric dentist in Santa Monica for over 35 years I can personally attest to the benefits of fluoridation. Along with oral hygiene and diet control, fluoride is the most important tool in preventing dental disease, especially in the young, but also more and more in our expanding senior population," said Dr. Philip Trask, a dental school lecturer who has been an active proponent of water fluoridation in Santa Monica.
Added Dr. Val Spolsky, associate professor of public health and community dentistry, "The efforts to fluoridate Santa Monica have been a long, long time in the process and the politicians should be proud of themselves and need to be commended."
<Click here for the American Dental Association guide 'Fluoridation Facts'>
Norway Bans Mercury. What Does This Mean For the U.S?
When a few of our Nordic cousins, led by Norway, recently announced plans to ban the use of mercury, dentists (and dentistry organizations) on this side of the globe took notice. We asked UCLA dental school professors for their opinions on this pressing environmental concern, and to tell us what they think we can expect to see happen here at home.
"Even though the ban was done for environmental reasons, and not directed at the scientific use of amalgan by dentists, it will have a broad depressing effect on its use in the world. Many countries will for political reasons jump on the bandwagon," predicted Dr. Val Spolsky, associate professor of public health and community dentistry.
In a further response to Norway's decision to ban mercury, Dr. Edmond Hewlett, associate professor of restorative dentistry and consumer advisor to the ADA, reminded us that "The ADA believes such a move is not currently warranted in the U.S. The move in Norway (and likely Sweden) is part of a wide-ranging effort to restrict mercury use because of its impact in the environment. The available scientific evidence overwhelmingly supports the safety and efficacy of dental amalgam as a restorative material."
The question of mercury's potentially harmful effect on the environment (if poorly handled) is not a new concern for U.S. dentists. In fact, the American Dental Association has specific recommendations for the proper, safe handling of mercury. <Click here for the dental mercury hygiene recommendations published by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs>
Holiday Party 2007
Maria Saldana and Leslie Hanson Win Awards
Greg Elmore Recognized For Service Milestone
The annual School of Dentistry holiday party is a time to pause, gather together for breakfast, vie for raffle prizes, and recognize dedicated staff members. This year, a School committee named Maria Saldana the Supervisor of the Year and honored Leslie Hanson with the award for the Outstanding Staff Member of the Year. In addition, Assistant Dean Michelle Popowitz presented Greg Elmore with a plaque to recognize his more than 20 years of UCLA service. The UCLA School of Dentistry wishes to thank The DentalEZ Group for generously providing the electronics and other raffle prizes for students and staff, for the third year in a row.
Health and Safety
Proper Gown Protocol
It is the responsibility of all of us to prevent the spread of disease. Please remember that disposable clinical gowns should not be worn outside of the patient treatment areas; this includes the general lobby, patient elevators and the administrative office areas. Cara Batson, the School's Environmental Health & Safety Specialist, reminds us that the appropriate and proper infection control protocol is to don disposable personal protective equipment (P.P.E.) in the dental treatment cubicle prior to treating each patient and to remove and dispose of all P.P.E. after the completion of the patient’s treatment.
This is consistent with the “Guidelines for Infection Control in Dental Health Settings-2003” published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which state: "Remove barrier protection, including gloves, mask, eyewear and gown before departing work area (e.g., dental patient care, instrument processing or laboratory areas)." Please do your part to keep all of us healthy and safe.
What To Do About Needle Sticks
Dr. Fariba Younai would like to remind everyone that health care personnel are at continual occupational risk to needlestick, sharps, and mucosal exposure to blood and body fluids. Such exposure can result in Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B (HBV), and other serious infection to the health care provider.
The UCLA School of Dentistry has established standard policies and procedures for prevention, treatment, and documentation of bloodborne exposure to pathogens. A Bloodborne Exposure Protocol has been created in all clinical areas, and is detailed in the UCLA School of Dentistry Infection Control Manual, which will soon be posted online. In the meantime, please consult the link below to receive a refresher regarding what to do if you or a colleague experiences an exposure.
Awards, Appointments, Honors, Activities, and Announcements
In late 2007, Dr. Susan Haake passed the examination to be awarded recognition as a Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology. Achieving Diplomate status involves undergoing both written and oral examination covering all aspects of basic and clinical sciences in periodontology. A Diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology is a periodontist who has made significant achievements beyond the mandatory educational requirements of the speciality.
Dr. Michael Oladubu, a third-year student enrolled in the Postgraduate Program for International Dentists, received news that an article he co-authored has been published in the Journal of Periodontology (J.periodontol, Dec 2007;78:2289-2302). The article, titled "Markers of Systemic Bacterial Exposure in Periodontal Disease and Cardiovascular Disease Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis," is available online.
A UCLA press release reported that Dr. Shen Pang and his fellow researchers have found that a key protein in the body's dendritic cells can stop the virus that causes AIDS from replicating and infecting other cells. The finding is the basis for a paper published in the April issue of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology's FASEB Journal, available online. Dr. Pang is an adjunct associate professor in the division of oral biology and medicine at the UCLA School of Dentistry and a member of the UCLA AIDS Institute. His co-author on this study is Qiuwei Wang, a postgraduate researcher in the division of oral biology and medicine at the UCLA School of Dentistry.
Dr. Mo Kang was notified in December 2007 that the publications Committee of the International and American Associations for Dental Research has approved his appointment to the editorial board of the Journal of Dental Research for the term January 2008 to December 2010. Dr. Kang's appointment is based on his outstanding contributions to the scientific literature and his performance as a thorough and constructive referee. The Journal of Dental Research has the highest scientific impact factor of any peer-reviewed publication in the dental field.
In addition, Dr. Mo Kang recently received notification that a UCLA-CBRP seed grant (operated by Radiation Oncology) was funded for $50,000 for one year (for the period April 2008 to March 2009).
Dr. Donald Rowland's last day of employment will be January 31. The School of Dentistry would like to thank him for his many years of dedicated service.Got candy? Dr. Wenyuan Shi is the subject of a lighthearted article in the January 23 edition of UCLA Today titled "For your sweet tooth: candy without the cavities."
Dr. Shi also is featured in Volume 11 of UCLA Invents, a publication of the Office of Intellectual Property & Industry Sponsored Research. Dr. Shi's efforts to STAMP out tooth decay (using Specifically Targeted Anti-Microbial Peptides), and his start-up company, C3 Jian Inc., are offered as illustrations of the ways in which UCLA is driving innovation to market.
Senior administrative analyst Charlene Flowers-Taylor is quoted in a January 23 UCLA Today article on the subject of "doing your ethical best."
Dr. Cun-Yu Wang and his collaborator, Jiong Li, have published in the February 2008 issue of Nature Cell Biology. Their paper, available online, has important implications for developing new strategies for inhibiting tumorigenesis, and is therefore of interest to scientists studying head and neck and oral cancers, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and melanoma.
Dr. Stuart White is a grandfather again! Twin boys Zeke and Xander were born December 31, 2007. Dr. White reports that his daughter, Heather, and both boys are doing well.
Alumni in the Spotlight
Carol Bibb to be Honored
Dr. Carol Bibb, Class of 1978, has been named the 2008 Alumnus of the Year by the UCLA Dental Association. Carol has been a member of the dental school faculty since graduation. She initially served in a part-time capacity and has been here full-time since she was appointed as General Clinic Director in 1999. Currently, she serves as Associate Dean for Student Affairs, a position in which she is a strong student advocate, referred to by the appreciative students as their “dental school mom.”
In addition to her administrative responsibilities, Carol continues to teach several courses, including dental anatomy and oral embryology, and she shares her expertise and passion for teaching by mentoring students interested in careers in dental education. Carol and her husband John are still outdoor enthusiasts as described in the 1978 yearbook, and as she puts it “we’re still playing after all these years.” Carol will be honored at this year’s alumni reunion luncheon during the CDA Convention in Anaheim.
Alan Heit Makes Music
Alan Heit, Class of 1982, is the proud father of Jessica Heit, Class of 2011, and practices general dentistry in Santa Cruz, CA. For those of you who don't know, he also is 1/8 of the well known band The Santa Cruz White Album Ensemble.
An active singer and guitarist, Dr. Heit is a founding member of the Road Hogs (a mainstay of the music scene in Monterey Bay), and has co-written songs with Bay Area novelist James Lescroart. Over the years, Dr. Heit has appeared onstage with The Average White Band, Bill Champlin, the Hellecasters, Ronnie Montrose and It’s a Beautiful Day, and has performed with Emmy-winning singer/songwriters Kurth and Taylor. In addition, he has lent his voice to radio and TV commericals.
Robert Merin Named American College of Dentists Fellow
Dr. Robert L. Merin, Class of 1970, of Woodland Hills, CA was awarded fellowship in The American College of Dentists on September 27, 2007 during its annual meeting in San Francisco, CA. Founded in 1920, The American College of Dentists is the oldest national honorary organization for dentists. Its mission is to advance excellence, ethics, professionalism, and leadership in dentistry, and to recognize dentists who have made significant contributions. Dr. Merin, who was UCLA Dental Alumnus of the Year in 2000, is in private practice limited to periodontics and dental implants.
Development Opportunities Abound
Support Students, Improve Oral Health, Give Back
In the beginning, the School was built brick by brick. Today, it’s built gift by gift. Endowments for scholarships, research, renovations and patient care keep UCLA on the forefront of dental medicine.
Following the success of Campaign UCLA, the School of Dentistry launched a ten-year campaign of its own designed to ensure the continued financial stability and innovative nature of the School. Our $30 Million goal is ambitious, but clearly within reach. Thanks to the generosity of several alumni and friends, we have already raised more than $7 Million since the campaign began. If you would like to join the endowment campaign, there are a variety of ways to contribute. Please consider:
- Naming opportunities to honor your family or a beloved faculty member;
- Forming a group to collectively endow a chair or scholarship fund;
- Converting a $50,000 money market account into an annuity to be allotted for an endowed scholarship; or
- Providing a future gift of real estate through a trust agreement.
For more information on the School of Dentistry endowment campaign and the benefits you may receive from contributing, please contact Thomas H. Mitchell at (310) 206-6079 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your support!
Save the Dates in 2008
LA County Child Welfare Dental Summit
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Head
Start Dental Home Initiative
ADEA Annual Session
March 29-April 2
AADR Annual Meeting
Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony and Community Open House at the
Wilson-Jennings-Bloomfield UCLA Venice Dental Center
More details forthcoming
CDA Fall Session