UConn dental students and faculty are back from the annual session of the American Dental Education Association in Chicago.
The meeting was run by Dr. R. Lamont “Monty” MacNeil, professor of craniofacial sciences, division of general dentistry, and immediate past dean of the UConn School of Dental Medicine, as he concluded his one-year term as chair of the ADEA’s board of directors.
“It’s an energetic experience to act as the presider of the meeting,” MacNeil says. “It was tremendous, because you get to prioritize items that are discussed at the meeting, the symposia and the seminars that are given, you get some input on that, so you can concentrate on those things that are important to you.”
One such thing was a recognition of the president and CEO of the ADEA, Dr. Richard Valachovic. A 1977 graduate of the UConn School of Dental Medicine, Valachovic is retiring from the ADEA after 22 years of service. One of the plenary sessions was dedicated to celebrating his contributions to dental education, in the form of a festschrift, an academic tradition to honor a respected academic.
Dr. Steven Lepowsky, senior associate dean for education and patient care, was among those honored with a Chair of the ADEA Board of Directors Citation.
“It was for his support of me during my leadership years with the Association, and then his contributions to the Association,” MacNeil says. “He’s held a number of national positions, he’s been an ADEA appointment to those commissions. He took a new commission appointment this year as well. He’s going to be one of the ADEA’s three representatives to the Commission on Dental Education and Licensure.”
This year’s was the most highly attended ADEA Annual Session and Exhibition. The meeting invites students, faculty and staff from U.S. and Canadian dental schools as well as advanced dental education programs and corporations involved in oral health education. The theme was “Celebrating our Collaborative Spirit.”
One of the poster presentations – about diabetes screening as part of the dental exam – was a collaboration between UConn dental faculty, UConn clinical research associate Helena Hilario, and faculty from the University of Maryland Dental School.
“Part of it is just learning how to work with people at other institutions to forward all of our agendas,” says Dr. Sarita Arteaga, associate dean for students. “Most of the sessions had to do with how we could collaborate with people at other institutions. I have some ideas already for next year.”
Some of the sessions were for students only. The UConn dental students who attended were Ross Camiel, Rob Morrin, Chiddi Okafor (all third-years), and first-year student Kathryn Forth.
“It was amazing to have the opportunity to network with other UConn students and faculty, as well as interact with other students in the district,” Forth says. “I was able to participate in COSRF (Council of Students, Residents and Fellows) meetings, and Chiddi and I were present to accept the Bronze Chapter Award on the behalf of UConn’s ADEA Chapter.”
“We networked with like-minded dental students from all over the country on ways to increase interest in academic dentistry,” Okafor says. “Exchanging ideas on how to build the presence of our local chapters always leaves me excited to improve our UConn Chapter. And of course, exploring Chicago was fun!”
Camiel and Morrin presented a poster on how virtual anatomy might help students better understand corrective jaw surgery.
“What I enjoyed the most was the interaction with the faculty attendees who stopped by to take a look at our poster,” Morrin says. “I enjoyed their feedback, suggestions for improvement, and conversations we had about their careers and interests.”