Health Center Accolades – November 2013

Dental Student Wins Hinman Research Award

Sean O'Brien

Third-year dental student Sean O’Brien (center) shown with Drs. Timothy Hottel (left) and Jane Puskas (right). (Photo provided by Hinman Research Symposium)

Third-year dental student, Sean O’Brien, recently won a basic science research award at the 19th Hinman Student Research Symposium in Memphis, Tenn. The symposium featured oral and poster presentations of research projects by dental students and graduate students from dental schools across the nation. At this year’s event, 104 students represented 47 dental schools in 29 states, the District of Columbia, and four Canadian provinces.

O’Brien’s project explored the role of epidermal growth factor receptor signaling in articular cartilage degradation and chondrocyte proliferation in a mouse model of osteoarthritis. O’Brien’s mentors were Caroline Dealy, associate professor in the Department of Reconstructive Sciences, and John Shepard, a PhD student in the Skeletal, Craniofacial and Oral Biology program.

O’Brien’s research in Dealy’s lab was funded through a prestigious Student Research Fellowship Award he received from the American Association of Dental Research. O’Brien also won “Best Poster” for a different aspect of the same project which he presented at the 2012 Yankee Dental Congress in Boston, Mass. O’Brien is also a co-author on a 2013 research article published in the journal Arthritis Research and Therapy.


Two UConn Health Center Provost’s Award Recipients

Left to right, Susan Coleman with Husky Programs, Provost Award winner Susan Furbish, and Ann Ferris, director of CPHHP. (Connie Cantor/UConn Health Center)

Susan Furbish and Dr. Rich Kamin were presented with the 2013 Provost’s Awards for Excellence in Public Engagement. The annual reception was held at Jorgensen Auditorium in Storrs on Nov. 20.

Furbish is the assistant director of Husky Programs for the Center for Public Health and Health Policy (CPHHP).

Kamin is director of Emergency Medical Services at the UConn Health Center and an attending physician in the John Dempsey Hospital Emergency Department.

Dr. Rich Kamin

Each year, UConn’s Office of Public Engagement honors faculty, staff, students, alumni and programs that engage the public to address critical societal issues. Nominations are solicited from the University community and evaluated by a selection committee of faculty and staff members of the Public Engagement Forum.


Dr. Denis Lafreniere

Dr. Denis Lafreniere

Lafreniere Named New Medical Director of UMG

Dr. Denis Lafreniere has been named the new medical director of the UConn Medical Group and the Health Center’s associate dean for clinical affairs. Lafreniere, who has been providing interim leadership in both of the roles, is a graduate of the UConn School of Medicine, an accomplished ENT specialist and director of the Division of Otolaryngology. He has held several leadership positions in recent years and continues to see patients in ENT and the Voice and Speech Clinic, which he founded in 1992.


Allen Named Assistant Dean for JDH

Dr. Scott Allen

Dr. Scott Allen

Dr. Scott Allen, the medical director of clinical effectiveness and patient safety, has been named the assistant dean for John Dempsey Hospital. In this role, he will help in coordinating the educational activities for all students and residents in the clinical setting. Allen will be responsible for ensuring that the educational programs at John Dempsey Hospital are of the highest quality. In addition, he will work closely with Dr. Suzanne Rose, senior associate dean for education, to help maintain UConn’s status with the accrediting bodies, the LCME and ACGME. A primary care physician, Allen has won numerous teaching awards and previously served as program director of the Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency Program.


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