UConn School of Dental Medicine Welcomes New Faculty

The UConn School of Dental Medicine has enjoyed robust growth, adding eight new faculty members to its ranks over the past few months.

The UConn School of Dental Medicine has enjoyed robust growth, adding eight new faculty members to its ranks over the past few months. Representing multiple disciplines, they bring a wealth of new perspectives on dental education, research and patient care that will continue to advance the missions of the school.

Po-Jung Chen and Niloufar Azami have joined the Division of Orthodontics. Chen received his dental degree from the Kaohsiung Medical University School of Dentistry in Taipei, Taiwan, where he also earned a Master of Science degree in orthodontics. Chen subsequently completed a research fellowship and the certificate program in orthodontics at UConn, where he received the Master of Dental Science degree.

Azami completed a clinical orthodontics fellowship at UConn as well as the residency program in orthodontics at UConn, where she also earned the Master of Dental Science degree. Azami had previously earned her dental degree from Eshafan University of Medical Sciences in Iran, and received specialty training in orthodontics prior to joining UConn. Chen will be helping to advance the research mission of the Division of Orthodontics, while Azami will have primary responsibility for the orthodontic education of the School’s dental students; both Chen and Azami have joined the University Dentists Orthodontics practice.

Shivani Suvarna joins UConn following completion of her residency in prosthodontics at the University of Washington School of Dentistry in Seattle, where she also received the Master of Dental Science degree. Suvarna previously completed her dental education at the Nair Hospital Dental College in India, followed by several years of private practice prior to pursuing her specialty training in prosthodontics. Suvarna has joined the University Dentists practice with a focus on prosthodontic care.

Reju Joy is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who joined UConn this summer. Joy, who originally completed dental school and residency training in oral and maxillofacial surgery as well as oral medicine in India, furthered his training in the United Kingdom where he completed degree programs in both medicine and oral surgery. After a period of practice in the UK as an oral surgeon, Joy joined the oral and maxillofacial surgery residency program at the University of Michigan and subsequently completed fellowship training in oncology and microvascular surgery. He is seeing patients in the University Dentists Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery practice.

Maria Alvarado, Esther Ordonez, and Basma Essawy have joined the Division of General Dentistry.

Alvarado earned her dental degree at Cayetano Heredia University in Peru followed by training in esthetic dentistry at NYU. Alvarado completed her residency and fellowship in general dentistry at UConn. Ordonez earned her dental degree from the Universidad Complutense in Madrid Spain, and received further training in both periodontics and implant therapy in Madrid.

Ordonez completed her residency in general dentistry at UConn as well, and practiced dental medicine in Ohio before returning to UConn. Essawy completed her general dentistry residency at NYU Langone Health in Chicopee, Massachusetts after receiving her dental degree and Master of Dental Science degree in Egypt. Prior to joining UConn, Essawy was on the faculty at NYU Langone in Massachusetts.

Rosa Pelaez-Shelton is a pediatric dentist appointed to both the Division of General Dentistry and the Division of Pediatric Dentistry. Pelaez-Shelton earned her dental degree at the Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala and completed her residency in general dentistry at UConn. She then completed her pediatric dentistry residency training at Rutgers University, and earned a Master of Dental Science degree. Prior to returning to UConn, Pelaez-Shelton served as the associate director of the pediatric dentistry residency program at NYU Langone Health, and director of the pediatric dentistry department at the Holyoke (Mass.) Health Center. Pelaez-Shelton’s area of interest is in the dental management of children and adults with special healthcare needs. She is currently pursuing her MBA degree at UConn.

“We are truly fortunate to have such a diverse, skilled pool of dentists and new faculty members join us,” says Steven Lepowsky, dean, UConn School of Dental Medicine. “In this competitive time when academic dentists are in especially high demand, we’re happy they chose to join our programs and work with our students and residents to share both their professional and personal expertise. We’re all richer for this wealth of talent and experience, and it’s another reflection of UConn’s prestige and reputation in the national and international marketplaces.”