Schools News

Posted on: Wednesday, 01/07/2015

Celebrating Clinical Dentistry

This past October, the School of Dentistry held its inaugural Clinic Day at the UCLA Neuroscience Building Auditorium. The event titled; “Smile Reconstruction: A Multidisciplinary Approach,” was an opportunity to highlight UCLA's excellence in clinical dentistry. The program included lectures by our world-renowned faculty members as well as a poster presentation and corresponding competition. The event drew a packed audience for the lecture part and the lobby was overflowing with innovative research posters from dental students, graduate students, residents, and ACT trainees.

Featured speakers were Dr. Edward McLaren, who gave an informative presentation on conventional and implant-supported restorations; Dr. Philip Melnick, who discussed periodontal plastic surgery; and Dr. Peter Moy, who talked about implant site development for implant placement.

Clinic Day was part of our year-long series of activities in recognition of the School’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. A special thanks to the organizing committee; Drs. Paulo Camargo, Ting-Ling Chang, James Crall, Earl Freymiller, Steve Lee, Richard Stevenson, Shane White and Todd Schoenbaum.

Pictured left to right: Dr. Phil Melnick, Dr. Paulo Camargo, Dean No-Hee Park, Dr. Peter Moy, and Dr. Edward McLaren.

Poster competition finalists from Clinic Day, pictured left to right: Dr. Baochen Shi, Dr. Yatendra Mulpuri, Kelly Nguyen, David Lee, Yoonah Danskin, Jaycee Walton, Dr. Jay Sung, and Dr. Kambiz Khalilinejad. Not pictured: Dr. Susan White.

Taking Time Out for Fun in the Sun

The School of Dentistry held its Annual All-School Picnic following the Alumni Breakfast on Saturday, October 16 at UCLA's Sunset Canyon Recreation Center. More than 250 faculty, staff, and students were in attendance at the picnic. Guests enjoyed a BBQ, pie-eating contest, a Water Balloon Toss and Tug-of-War games. The annual picnic kicks off the start of the academic year and is an opportunity for students and their families to meet and get to know one another. Thank you to the organizers of the picnic and to Ms. Selina Sarno for providing photos.

Congratulations to the winners of the Water Balloon Toss, Guntas Singh '17 and Danielle Ploussard '16; winner of the Tug-of-War contact, '17; and winner of the Pie-eating contest, Amir Tadros '17.


Providing Oral Health to the San Fernando Valley

The School of Dentistry, in partnership with Wilshire Bank, held their 2nd Annual Health Fair/Screening Day on Saturday, November 8, 2014, and corresponding Treatment Day on Saturday, November 22, 2014. This year's screening day was held at the bank's Northridge branch in the San Fernando Valley. The goal for 2014 was to expand the patient population served and go beyond the Korean community into other Los Angeles neighborhoods.

More than 150 members of the School of Dentistry, including 73 dental students, 32 residents/ACT trainees, 25 faculty and 21 staff members, volunteered at the two events. Assistance was also provided by several staff members of Wilshire Bank. Treatment and procedures were delivered the School's Westwood clinic to more than 80 adults and children and included prophies, extractions, direct restorations, endodontic consultations, and radiographs.

Wilshire Bank Group photo

The School of Dentistry would like to express its sincere appreciation to all volunteers who offered their services and assistance to provide care to an underserved group of patients whose dental needs were quite extensive. View the entire list of volunteers.

A special thanks to Bisco and GC America, who donated supplies and materials for the event. We are thankful for their support. The event was made possible through a collaborative partnership with Wilshire Bank, a bank which serves an overlooked multi-ethnic small and mid-sized business community. The partnership was established in 2013, and will run through 2017 and the bank's financial assistance covers all cash expenses related to treating the patients served. We thank the institution for its commitment to the event.

  Screening a Young patient  Screening multiple patients

Shuttle to Westwood   Treating a patient in Westwood

Pursuing Dental School After Serving Her Country

Tigon Abalos, DDS Class of 2016, is an inspirational example of someone who is following their dream. In addition to being in dental school and a mother to a toddler, Tigon is a U.S. Army Veteran, who served in Afghanistan. It was this experience that motivated her to pursue a career in the healthcare field, specificially dentistry. For her past military service, she was asked by UCLA to speak at a campus-wide ceremony, held on Monday, November 10 in recognition of Veteran's Day. 

At the ceremony Tigon was joined by another veteran employed at UCLA and was introduced by Chancellor Gene Block. This was the seventh annual Veterans Day ceremony at UCLA, and she was the first dental student and graduate student to ever speak at the ceremony. The first ceremony took place in 2007 when the campus placed a commemorative plaque in honor of veterans who gave their lives for this country.

In her speech, Tigon talked about her deep appreciation for her service experience, and how overcoming mental and physical challenges in the military has given her the confidence to work past any obstacles that come her way in civilian life. She is still actively involved with veterans affairs and hopes to eventually find a position working for a VA Hospital after her dental training.

Read Tigon's full story. Read the full ceremony coverage.


Improving Access to Dental Care for Student Veterans

Over the past year, DDS student, Brian Lehigh ‘16, has made it his goal to help military veterans in surrounding communities improve their oral health. He even received the Luskin School of Public Affairs’ Charles E. Young Humanitarian Award for a program he started that offered veterans instruction on proper oral hygiene, information on low-cost dental clinics, and free dental hygiene supplies.

Now Brian, along with other dental students, are working on a program that provides both subsidized dental care and a pipeline to the dental profession for UCLA student veterans and/or former foster youth. The program, called Operation Bruin Smiles, aims to encourage these two underserved student populations to become patients of record at the UCLA Dental Clinic and to receive quality dental care through this subsidy program. In addition, this program would engage in targeted outreach efforts to raise awareness in the field of dentistry and guide students from these populations to enter the dental school pipeline.

The program has already received a $10,000 contribution from Dean No-Hee Park and the students are still actively fundraising to help get the program off the ground. Tentative plans for a screening day to register students interested in the subsidy program are set for the end of March.

In addition to the new program Operation Smiles program, Brian and several other students attended the LA Stand Down event at the end of December. The service event provided veterans with services including mental health, dental care, clothing, hygiene supplies and many other services.


Left photo: Brian Lehigh with a veteran at the LA Stand Down event at the LA Convention Center this past December. Brian and fellow students provided oral hygiene instruction and dental supplies to homeless veterans.

Right photo: DDS students who participated in the Stand Down event take out time for a quick group photo.

Promoting Diversity on Campus

At the end of October, the School of Dentistry was part of a campus-wide consortium of leaders who contributed to UCLA's total sponsorship of $100,000 towards the 2014 Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Convention. Dean No-Hee Park contributed $5,000, at the executive sponsor level, to contribute to UCLA's cumulative Platinum level sponsorship. UCLA also gave an additional $25,000 in support of outreach activities, including a tour of UCLA’s campus by 100 participants, over three dozen faculty participants as presenters, judges, booth and event outreach, community and community college outreach. The School was joined by several other departments to assist in UCLA's efforts, including the Schools of Engineering and Medicine; and the Division of Life Sciences. In addition to the School's sponsorship, faculty member Dr. Francisco Ramos-Gomez, Professor of Pediatric Dentistry, volunteered as a member of the Steering Committee - a group tasked with organizing UCLA’s approach to the conference.

SACNAS is a society of scientists dedicated to fostering the success of  Hispanic/Chicano and Native American scientists—from college students to professionals—to attain advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in science.