School News

Posted on: Tuesday, 12/11/2018

Charting New Territory to Take Us Into the Future

At the beginning of September, the dental school officially launched a new unit, the Innovative Digital Dentistry Systems or iDDS. The unit plays an important role in preparing our faculty and students to deliver person-centered care through a digitally integrated health care delivery system in Westwood, local communities, and beyond.

Some of the immediate goals for iDDS are to acquire and implement best-in-class digital architecture across the School; to leverage interdepartmental support and employ digital technologies to transform the School’s educational programs; to distinguish ourselves from competing digital centers by driving impactful innovations; and to support research and innovation from the ground-up to transform dental education and health care. 

Leading this new unit is Dr. Ben Wu, who was named the founding executive director. Dr. Wu has an outstanding record of accomplishment in scholarly output, program building, curriculum development and reform, resource management, and fundraising to help achieve our visionary goals. He is a pioneer in 3D printing, with decades of experience in applying advanced technology to improve patient care. 

Special thanks to the Shapiro Family Charitable Foundation for their support of iDDS. For the full announcement.

Alum and Former Professor Share their Art

Warm colors and captivating imagery now line the walls at the UCLA School of Dentistry, as part of a new art initiative to add color and culture to the School. To showcase the artists behind these pieces, we held receptions highlighting their works. The artists were alumnus Dr. Jack A. Kurtz and former faculty member, Dr. Bruce Sanders who is currently an adjunct professor in the section of oral and maxillofacial surgery.


Jack Kurtz & Bruce Sanders

Dr. Kurtz, DDS Class of 1976, was welcomed by alumni, faculty, and staff in April at the installment of his breathtaking images of the American Southwest in the newly renovated oral radiology clinic. Dr. Kurtz, also known as “Coyote Jack”, has traveled to remote locations around the world to capture moments of inspiration and deep pleasure. He focuses on landscape photography, and he uniquely processes each photo from a raw image capture to preserve the moment.

Later, in September, another reception was held featuring the work of Dr. Sanders. After a career as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) and professor at the UCLA School of Dentistry, Dr. Sanders returned to his earlier life’s passion of art. At the reception, Dr. Sanders was greeted by friends, faculty, and OMS colleagues, including his former students. Dean Krebsbach shared kind words on how the neo-expressionist and abstract artwork provokes emotion and enhances the School’s culture.

To view Dr. Kurtz’s work, visit the oral radiology clinic on the 1st floor, and to view Dr. Bruce Sanders’ work, visit the 5th floor.

Rethinking the Way We Teach and Treat

The dental school has embarked on three major laboratory and clinic renovation projects, which will enhance the student and patient experience.

The first major project, which is in its very early stages, is a complete redesign of our pre-doctoral clinics. Under the guidance of Dr. Paulo Camargo, our Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs, the Clinic Design Team is working in in conjunction with the Curriculum Design Team, led by Dr. Fariba Younai, to make sure that our teaching and patient care philosophies are aligned with our physical infrastructure. New clinic layout concepts are being developed that go beyond new chairs and associated technology. The new design will prepare us for how we plan to train and develop dentists for today and tomorrow.

Facilities Update

While the clinic renovation plan is being finalized, most of the dental chairs and units on the second and third floors are being replaced. Additionally, the computers in the general clinic operatories are being upgraded, so that the new versions of axiUm can operate smoothly and efficiently, and the equipment and software that are part of the iDDS program can be enabled.

The 4th floor teaching laboratory is also being renovated. The audio-visual system of the facility is being replaced by new state-of-the-art equipment, including individual monitors in each workstation. Individual computers are also being installed in each workstation, so that axiUm can operate at the pre-clinical level. Utilizing axiUm before starting their clinic experience is of great value to students for improving their efficiency in providing care to patients.

Finally, the Children’s Dental Center on the second floor is also undergoing a major renovation. The new clinic will feature ten state-of-the-art operatories, two surgical suites, a new infant oral health room, a sterilization area, a reading wall, and a clinic lounge. The newly renovated space will continue to function as a major safety net and dental home for the low-income and underserved children of West Los Angeles and its neighboring communities. The School is actively fundraising for this capital project, if you would like to support these renovations, please call Mallory Gompert at (310) 206-6079 or

Top 6 in the Country

Once again, UCLA Dentistry is among the top six dental schools in the world and among the top five in the U.S., based on rankings put out in the summer of 2018 by The rankings are based on a survey of 1,500 deans, chairs, and heads of faculties and departments of the top 100 universities, across a range of subjects. For the full article.