Celebrating Our Community

2021


Dr. Nicola Partridge Appointed Chair of NIH Study Section on Skeletal Biology Development and Disease 

Dr. Nicola Partridge

Dr. Nicola Partridge, professor of molecular pathobiology and former chair of the Department of Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology, has been invited to serve as chairperson of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Skeletal Biology Development and Disease Study (SBDD) section for the term beginning July 1, 2021, and ending June 30, 2022. Study sections review grant applications submitted to the NIH, make recommendations on the applications to the appropriate NIH national advisory council or board, and survey the status of research in their fields of science.

Dr. Partridge is eminently well qualified to assume this position. She is a national and international authority in the area of molecular endocrinology and an expert in bone and mineral research, including osteoporosis. Her demonstrated skill and leadership will enable her to determine to a significant extent the effectiveness and efficiency of the study section she is chairing.

We congratulate Dr. Partridge on this latest recognition of the major role she is playing in advancing the national biomedical research effort.

    

Congratulations to
  • Erin Brent, associate dean for financial and academic planning & strategic initiatives, on authoring, "Assessing price sensitivity in dental education and implications on student diversity" for Journal of Dental Education.
  • Edmund Khoo, clinical associate professor of orthodontics, on being appointed Permanent Examiner by the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO). Dr. Khoo previously served as a Guest Examiner for the ABO.
  • Richard Valachovic, visiting scholar and founding director of the Center for Oral Health Policy and Management, on giving the opening presentation for the March meeting of the Association for Dental Education, Asia Pacific, titled, "Advancing Global Oral Health Policy and Management in an Academic Setting."


Elizabeth Garrison, '21, Receives American College of Dentists Student Achievement Award

Elizabeth Garrison

Elizabeth Garrison, ’21, was one of only four senior dental students across New York who received the Student Achievement Award presented by the New York Section of the American College of Dentists. One student each from Columbia, Stonybrook, and Touro was also recognized. The award honors exceptional achievement by a graduating dental student. Upon graduation, Ms. Garrison will be entering a General Practice Residency in Morristown, New Jersey.



Dr. Vera Tang Installed as Treasurer of the New York County Dental Society

Dr. Vera Tang

Dr. Vera Tang, clinical assistant professor of periodontology and implant dentistry, has been installed as treasurer of the New York County Dental Society, marking the first time that the New York County Dental Society has installed an all-women executive committee.


     

Cristian Opazo to be featured at International VR Healthcare Association’s 5th Annual Symposium

Cristian Opazo,

Cristian Opazo, director of educational technology, will present “Local Anesthesia VR: An Immersive VR Training Program for Dental Anesthesia” at the Fifth Annual Virtual Reality and Healthcare Global Symposium.


    

NYU Dentistry Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities Selected to Receive AAPD's 2021 Manuel M. Album Award

NYU Dentistry Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's (AAPD) prestigious Manuel M. Album Award is presented annually to an individual or organization that has made the greatest contribution to the oral health of children with special needs. This award honors AAPD member Manuel M. Album, who devoted an entire career in pediatric dentistry to improving the oral health of children with special needs. The NYU Dentistry Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities will be featured in a video to be created by the AAPD to celebrate the award.


 

Special Emphasis Issue of The New York State Dental Journal Features Article on NYU Dentistry’s Telehealth Service

The New York State Dental Journal

The January 2021 special emphasis issue of The New York State Dental Journal, "Surviving the Pandemic: Dentistry Faces Down the Virus," features an article by Drs. Victoria Raveis, David Glotzer, and André V. Ritter on “Dental Care in the Time of COVID-19: Integrating Telehealth into the Clinical Care Process." The article chronicles the development and implementation of NYU Dentistry’s Telehealth Service, which became an essential resource during the pandemic, and predicts that its integration into the routine delivery of care post-pandemic is assured.


 

Dr. Nuray Ozu Awarded Fellowship in the NYU Aging Incubator Fellows Program

Dr. Nuray Ozu

Dr. Nuray Ozu, adjunct clinical professor in the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care, has been awarded fellowship in the NYU Aging Incubator Fellows Program, which provides aging-related research and educational opportunities for faculty and students throughout the entire NYU campus.

    


 

Dr. Caroline Sawicki Receives Postdoctoral TL1 Award from the NYU Clinical and Translational Science Institute to Study Oral Cancer Pain

Dr. Caroline Sawicki

Dr. Caroline Sawicki, a first-year pediatric dentistry postgraduate student and postdoctoral fellow at NYU Dentistry, has been selected as a TL1 fellow by the NYU Clinical and Translational Science Institute. This NIH-funded grant supports exceptional postdoctoral scholars who are committed to pursuing research careers in multidisciplinary clinical and translational science. With support from the TL1 program, Dr. Sawicki will characterize sensory changes and pain that accompany oral cancer. All of her research will be undertaken at the NYU Bluestone Center for Clinical Research and NYU Oral Cancer Center, both of which are housed at NYU Dentistry and directed by Dr. Brian L. Schmidt. The TL1 award also provides a two-year stipend and additional financial support for Dr. Sawicki’s tuition and travel to scientific meetings.

Squamous cell carcinoma, the most common form of oral cancer, is one of the most painful malignancies; however, the etiology of oral cancer pain is not well understood. Orofacial pain is often the first symptom of oral cancer and spurs patients to seek diagnosis and treatment. The severity and character of oral cancer pain varies widely, but many patients suffer from debilitating pain during functions such as eating and drinking. To investigate the neurologic mechanisms responsible for oral cancer pain, Dr. Sawicki proposes to collect data from patients who have volunteered to participate in studies at the NYU Oral Cancer Center. "As a clinician-scientist, Dr. Sawicki is uniquely qualified to pursue this type of research," says Dr. Schmidt. "After gathering clinical data from oral cancer patients, she must interpret her findings in the complex context of cancer biology and neurobiology. Dr. Sawicki is highly motivated to pursue this work because she is close enough to the clinical problem to understand the enormity of the stakes for patients with this disease."

Dr. Sawicki’s research will test whether the character of pain experienced by patients with oral cancer is dependent on the level of activation of channels in pain sensing neurons. The relative contributions of nociceptive (pain producing) mediators and their mechanisms of action (i.e., responsible receptors) are largely unknown. "Our understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms responsible of cancer pain is limited by a dearth of published data which characterize the sensory phenotype of tumor-related cancer pain," says Dr. Sawicki. "Based on the heterogeneity of oral cancer, it’s plausible that every oral cancer expresses a unique cocktail of pain mediators that differentially activate and sensitize specific channels on nociceptors. Understanding the neurobiological mechanisms responsible for oral cancer pain may facilitate the development of novel, non-opioid treatment strategies that specifically address the unique pain experienced by individual patients."

Dr. Sawicki completed her DDS and PhD degrees at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry in May 2020. During her training, Dr. Sawicki was inspired to improve pain management in children suffering from chronic orofacial pain when she became aware of the prevalence and severity of orofacial pain in the pediatric dental population. Dr. Sawicki chose to pursue a combined pediatric dentistry residency and postdoctoral translational pain research fellowship at NYU Dentistry. "Few dental graduates pursue a residency as well as postdoctoral work in clinical research," said Dr. Amr Moursi, chair of the NYU Department of Pediatric Dentistry. "We specifically designed Dr. Sawicki’s dual training program to provide her with the skills and experience necessary to direct an integrated clinical and laboratory research program to investigate pediatric orofacial pain."
 

    


   

Dr. Austin Le (DDS ’20, PG Ortho ’23) Is First Author on a New Paper on Recreational Drug Use

Austin Le, DDS ’20

Read Dr. Le's paper, "Use of 'Poppers' Among Adults in the United States, 2015-2017," which appears in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

 


 

WHO Adopts Resolution to Improve Oral Health Globally

WHO Adopts Resolution to Improve Oral Health Globally

For the first time since 2007, the World Health Organization (WHO) has adopted a resolution on oral health calling for the development of a Global Strategy, Action Plan, and Monitoring Framework for improvement of oral health globally until 2031. NYU Dentistry’s Department Epidemiology & Health Promotion, which was recently redesignated by the WHO as a WHO Collaborating Center for Quality Improvement and Evidence-based Dentistry through December 2024, was involved in the preparations and background documentation that led to the adoption of this resolution.

The NYU Dentistry WHO Collaborating Center is one of only 10 Collaborating Centers on oral health in the world and the only one in the Americas. The center is co-directed by Habib Benzian, DDS, MScDPH, PhD, and Eugenio Beltrán, DMD, DrPH, MPH. Read Dr. Benzian's insight into the context in which the resolution was adopted.

 



Bringing Smiles Dental Enrichment Program Receives $5,000 Gift from OKU

Bringing Smiles Dental Enrichment Program Receives $5,000 Gift from OKU

The Department of Pediatric Dentistry’s Bringing Smiles Dental Enrichment Program (BSDEP) has received a $5,000 donation from the Omega Chapter of Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU), the national dental honor society. BSDEP is a pipeline program that supports and prepares underrepresented minority pre-dental students (interns) for successful application and matriculation into dental school.

OKU’s generous donation will go directly to supporting the BSDEP interns, helping to offset the high cost of applying to dental school (including costs associated with DAT preparation, applications, interviews, and deposits, among others).

 


    

Congratulations to

James Keenan, clinical assistant professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology, radiology and medicine, on being elected Secretary of the New York Academy of General Dentistry.

Edmund Khoo, clinical associate professor of orthodontics, on being elected President of the NYU Dentistry Orthodontics Alumni Association.

Wayne Kye, clinical associate professor of periodontology and implant dentistry, on being elected President of the Northeastern Society of Periodontists.

Fabiola Milord, clinical assistant professor of cariology and comprehensive care, on being President of the Long Island Academy of Odontology.

Seung-Hee Rhee, clinical associate professor of cariology and comprehensive care, on receiving the 2021 Meritorious Service Award from the New York Academy of General Dentistry.

Vera Tang, clinical assistant professor of periodontology and implant dentistry, on being elected Treasurer of the New York County Dental Society.

Analia Veitz-Keenan, clinical professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology, radiology and medicine, on being elected Vice President of the New York Academy of General Dentistry.

Roger Warren, adjunct clinical associate professor of periodontology and implant dentistry, on being elected President-elect of the Northeastern Society of Periodontists.

Mara Zelaya, graduate program coordinator in the Office of Admissions and Enrollment Management, on being appointed a member of ADEA’s Centralized Application for Advanced Placement (ADEA CAAPID) Advisory Group for a three-year term beginning in March 2021.

 



Dr. Ross Kerr is Nominee for the 2021 NYU Distinguished Teaching Award

Dr. Ross Kerr

The NYU Dentistry Distinguished Teaching Award Committee, chaired by Dr. Leila Jahangiri, Ira E. Klein Professor and Chair of the Department of Prosthodontics, has nominated Dr. Ross Kerr, clinical professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology and medicine, for the high honor of receiving the 2021 NYU Distinguished Teaching Award.

The Distinguished Teaching Award, established in 1987, is presented annually to outstanding full-time faculty members in recognition that one of NYU's primary institutional priorities, along with research, is exceptional teaching inside and outside of the classroom setting.

The Distinguished Teaching Award highlights New York University's commitment to teaching excellence and is given annually to selected outstanding members of the faculty. Recipients are presented with a medal and a research stipend.

Dr. Kerr’s teaching has been widely acclaimed for championing the fight against oral cancer and, in particular, creating a comprehensive curriculum in oral cancer detection and risk management for dental students at NYU. This innovative curriculum is now taught nationally and internationally.

The winners will be announced in the spring.

 



NYU Features Racquel Jones (Saturday Academy Alumna; DDS Class of '24) in Violet Spotlight

Racquel Jones, DDS ’24

Growing up in New Jersey as the child of two dentists, Racquel Jones (NYU College of Dentistry ’24) helped out in her parents’ practice but wasn’t always sure she wanted to follow in their footsteps for her career. Instead, she found herself gravitating toward computers and technology.

“I like solving puzzles, so I really liked the problems they would give us for programming,” says Racquel, who majored in computer science as an undergraduate at Rutgers.

But Racquel’s experiences in NYU Dentistry’s Saturday Academy, along with a course in dental radiology that she took to be able to assist her parents, helped rekindle her interest in the family business. She was part of the inaugural (2013) cohort of the free weekend program that introduces high school students from primarily underrepresented backgrounds to dentistry and provides them with skills for applying to college, including filling out the FAFSA and preparing for interviews.

It was while she was still at Rutgers that Racquel looked at a PowerPoint from Saturday Academy explaining what courses were necessary for applying to dental school and realized she could both complete the pre-dental requirements and finish her degree in computer science in four years. By that point, she says, “I felt like the reason why I was choosing dentistry wasn't because of my parents—it was because of me.”

Racquel didn’t expect to graduate from college and start dental school in the midst of a pandemic, of course, but she’s making the best of it. Her favorite class so far was Head and Neck Anatomy, even though the class was taught remotely. “I find the human body fascinating,” she says. Racquel also got a kick out of returning to NYU Dentistry’s simulation lab this fall, where she had previously created dental impressions—an imprint of the teeth and gums used to plan treatment—as a high school student in Saturday Academy.

Her ultimate goal? Creating improved software for dental practices—developed by a dentist, for dentists. Most dental offices use database software to manage their patients, but it may fall short of their needs. “I can clearly see that the software is written through the lens of a programmer and not through the lens of a dentist,” she says. While many dentists use advanced hardware to plan and provide dental care, Racquel thinks she can make the biggest difference by using her programming expertise to improve the software. “The goal is to help people work more effectively with technology,” she says.

 



Department of Pediatric Dentistry Coproduces NYC Dept. of Education Health Literacy Newsletter

Department of Pediatric Dentistry Coproduces NYC Dept. of Education Health Literacy Newsletter

The Department of Pediatric Dentistry has coproduced the January issue of the NYC Department of Education Division of Early Childhood Education Health Literacy Newsletter for January. The issue, “Health Literacy in Early Childhood (PDF),” was coauthored by Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatric Dentistry Jill Fernandez and Pediatric Dentistry Outreach Program Administrator Samantha Shrager. The newsletter featured NYU’s toothpaste brushing guide and two short parent workshops on oral health and two live workshops, which will be hosted by Professor Fernandez and Ms. Shrager.
 



Take a look: Dr. Timothy Bromage on the African Origin of Humans

Take a look: Dr. Timothy Bromage on the African Origin of Humans (image attached)

Dr. Timothy Bromage, professor of molecular pathobiology, is featured in a new video series honoring the legacy of Gustav Heinrich Ralph von Koenigswald, the German-Dutch paleoanthropologist who discovered fossils of human ancestors on the island of Java in the first half of the last century. In episode two Dr. Bromage talks about how we can study growth and life history in teeth and how trace elements and specific isotopes incorporated into mineralized tooth enamel during childhood, even after millions of years, can provide clues to the environment hominins lived in and what they ate.  



NYU Administrative Management Council (AMC) Call for Nominations: 2021-2023 Term

AMC Call for Nominations

The College of Dentistry is one of 13 schools and units slated for election of their representatives and alternate representatives to the NYU Administrative Management Council (AMC).

Administrators from the College of Dentistry who are interested in the opportunity to serve in the upcoming term (June 2021 through August 2023) should contact Maria DeAcetis, our Senior Unit Representative, at mda5@nyu.edu.

The following reps/alternate reps whose terms are ending as of May 2021 are Maria Deacitis (Senior Unit Rep), Jocelyn Ochoa, Toni Depena, Jessica Jackson. Topaz Murray-Small, Asuncion Wein, Chris Wilson, Lisa Kahn, Irene Olshan and Natalia Tyhovych.

For the upcoming election cycle, we have seven representative slots and seven alternate representatives — a total of 14 slots available. The number of votes garnered from the College of Dentistry Administrator community will determine whether a candidate becomes the representative or alternate representative.

Currently, most AMC meetings are held via Zoom.

Why run for office at the school and at the AMC at large:

  • Interact with faculty, students, and senior leadership
  • Collaborate on strategic initiatives and projects
  • Advocate on behalf of the administrator community
  • Enhance and/or expand your current skill set for an immersive professional development experience

Additionally, the AMC will be having an election for the AMC Officers (Chair, Vice Chair, Secretary and Treasurer) for a one-year term. We will also be electing three AMC Senators and six alternate Senators to serve a two year term. The top three candidates with the most votes will be selected as Senator and the next 6 candidates will be selected as alternate Senator.

If you are interested in running, you can contact Maria Deacitis at mda5@nyu.edu. Within the next few weeks, the AMC Nominations & Elections committee will be releasing a Qualtrics form that you can use to self-nominate or peer nominate someone who you think can be a great representative to the AMC.

If you want to nominate a colleague, please be sure that they are aware of the nomination. Additionally, if you are interested in running for AMC leadership or AMC Senator, please note that you may only run for one position at a time.

Election timeline

  • Jan 22, 2021 – AMC 101 event, open to anyone interested in running for AMC leadership positions
  • February 2021 – Call for nominations
  • March 2021 – Ballots to be finalized
  • April 2021 – Voting