A JBE CDM update

Sarandeep Huja
November 06, 2020
Dean Huja

Dear CDM alumni and friends,

It is my sincere hope that each of you, along with your family, friends, and colleagues, are staying safe during this challenging time, which is testing us in so many ways. As with all of you, the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine is doing its best to continue providing not only exceptional care to each and every patient, but also full support to each student, employee, friend, and family member of our amazing college. We share with you an update on the important wins and facets of our daily lives.

While advocating for our students, I applaud their efforts and the courage of the State Board of Dentistry. On Oct. 9, the State Board of Dentistry announced that the restorative-based manikin exam will be an option for licensure in South Carolina, as opposed to the live patient-based exam through Dec. 31, 2021. This is a relief for DMD 2021 and CDM. Not having to recruit patients for the exam allows more time for our students to gain patient experiences.

As many of you are aware, we have begun the initial process of planning a new four-chair dental clinic within the MUSC West Ashley Medical Pavilion, located in the old Citadel Mall. This is a primary care facility that opened in 2019 and offers comprehensive health services, including ambulatory surgeries. Our clinical integration with MUSC Health has been ongoing for ~18 months and one major outcome is signing of a MOU between CDM, the university, and the MUSC Health system. Our partners at MUSC Health understand the need to provide comprehensive wellness including oral health to their patients in the off-site ambulatory clinics. These facilities will also assist our students to obtain more patient experience and our faculty to provide expanded services in an patient-centered interprofessional environment. This paradigm recognizes that oral care is an essential part of the overall health need, is a response to patients’ needs for access to care and promotes an interprofessional education model. Similarly, we have entered a professional services agreement to staff at Roper Ryan White Clinic in West Ashley. We will provide the faculty and staff to operate and provide services in the clinic, which will also benefit our students.

We continue to be in awe of our outstanding DMD students. As you all may know, our DMD Class of 2024 successfully matriculated into the college via a virtual platform this past June. They truly hit the ground running and have a brand-new scrub color of teal! Within the past month, one of our own students, Joy Kirkpatrick D.M.D., Ph.D., was elected to serve as the president for the Student Government Association at the Medical University of South Carolina! We could not be prouder of her.

In regard to our COVID-19 safety protocols, all of our students are working well to follow these guidelines within our simulation lab and clinics. All of our D4 students are currently in the process of working very diligently while interviewing for residency spots upon their upcoming graduation. One student told me that COVID has taught her adaptability, a lifelong skill.  Our D3 class has officially wrapped up Part I of the National Boards this past summer. As many of you are aware, they will be the last class at MUSC to take Part I and Part II, as the Integrated National Dental Boards have finally begun! Our D4s are currently wrapping up Part II of the National Boards starting now and into the remainder of the fall semester. Finally, $76,000 in CDM scholarships and $100,500 in provost support has been awarded to current students across the College of Dental Medicine for the fall semester! The College of Dental Medicine is truly lucky to have such amazing students to not only teach, but also teach us about the direction in which our future is heading.

The pandemic has had a financial impact on our budgets. However, our clinical revenue has steadily increased and in September returned to ~85% of the previous year. We have expanded our clinical hours and our students are close to 71% of experiences compared to last year. I can share with you that our College of Dental Medicine is ahead, and we are fortunate in many ways because we have had the PPE to continue to see patients and remain safe. I am very proud and thankful to our clinical faculty, staff, and employees who support this endeavor, which includes most of us in the college.

The College of Dental Medicine has found a great deal of success in the realm of innovation and research, even during the pandemic. At CDM, we have formed an Office of Oral Health Innovation, which has been highly productive in the creation of patents and publications during this time. Also, our new digital dentistry residency is led by this office. Within research, we are pleased to announce that one of our own, Dr. Ozlem Yilmaz, professor of Oral Health Sciences, was funded an $1.8 million grant from the NIH! In addition, Dr. Amy Martin, chair of Stomatology, received a Blue Cross Blue Shield grant of ~$1.1 million for colocalization of hygienist in primary care. We are consistently proud and amazed of all members of CDM.

I had the distinct pleasure of speaking to Mrs. Ann Edwards recently. She continues to enquire about our students and all at CDM. Her support boosts our spirits.  Also, on Oct. 9, I presented the progress the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine has made with our Board of Trustees, which is chaired by none other than our very own alum, Dr. James Lemon.

As a note, don’t forget our upcoming virtual event titled, “Cocktails and Commitments,” which will be held on Nov. 19, 2020, from 7 to 8 p.m. This event is being hosted by the Friends of MUSC Minority Scholarship Committee to raise funds for the George McTeer Scholarship for Minority Dental Students at MUSC! This event will feature a virtual update from me, a message from Ms. Norma and Ms. Sonja McTeer, student testimonial stories, and information about the many ways you can support this vital resource for our under-represented dental students. An amazing feat: We have not increased tuition for four consecutive years, and these scholarships will aid our students. If you are interested in attending virtually and did not receive a save the date via Outlook to which you could RSVP, please reach out to Jordan Toole at toolejo@musc.edu. 

We want to continue to thank each of you for your immeasurable support during this time, as we all attempt to navigate a possible new norm. We are also immensely grateful for the donations from our alumni and friends to the college’s COVID-19 emergency fund, which continuously helps support families in need within our college. It is points in time such as these that we grow and develop as one community and support one another immensely. Please know that the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine is here to support each of our alumni and friends not only during a pandemic, but as an everlasting relationship.


Dean Sarandeep Huja