Understanding the now while looking toward the future

Sarandeep Huja
October 11, 2021
Dean Huja

Dear alumni and friends,

The James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine is grounded in providing opportunities to all individuals, regardless of background, financial status, or any other way one may define themselves. We place the utmost importance on the scholarships we can provide to ensure a much-deserved education can be earned. We believe the future of our profession belongs to the brightest, most gifted, and hardest working among us. It should never be denied because of a student’s inability to afford dental tuition.

Our college is home to around 344 students who have chosen to dedicate their lives to our profession. Of those students, 81 percent of them depend on financial aid to help pay for their educations. Like many of us, some of these students would not be able to work toward their dreams without this aid.

Did you know that this is the fifth consecutive year we have not raised tuition and fees for our DMD program? This, along with increased scholarship support, diminishes student debt and is critical to our future.

Since the beginning of our Pay It Forward Scholarship Campaign, more than $1 million has been committed ($1,057,278). Alumni and friends have committed 291 donations with an average gift of $3,600. Throughout the history of the college, more than $3 million has been contributed to scholarships through 1,863 gift commitments with an average donation of $1,700.

Within the past academic year, we were honored to provide 39 scholarships/awards with an average of $4,800 and total of $183,000 awarded. Since 2018, we have increased scholarships from an average of $1,000 to $5,000 per award. However, we strive for much more. We are seeking full support for our $10 million scholarship campaign. That is to say, and as an example, if every alum generously donated $4,000, we would reach our goal immediately.

Outside of education, I wish to highlight some notable achievements and future plans for the College of Dental Medicine. Construction will begin shortly on the West Ashley Medical Pavilion (WAMP), which will be home to a new four-chair, off-peninsula dental clinic. Our students, residents and faculty will provide oral health care to patients who visit this facility on a daily basis, which further unifies our service with that of MUSC Health.

MUSC Health is expanding throughout the state, which leads us to seek more opportunities for our students and practitioners. With this expansion, we will begin integrating our electronic health records with MUSC Health. Currently, we share between 50 and 60 percent of our patients with the health system, which assists in fulfilling our critical need of a bidirectional flow of information.

The College of Dental Medicine is committed to not only increasing clinical experiences for our students, but also in partnering with low-income clinics in more meaningful ways than before, such as East Cooper Community Outreach and Our Lady of Mercy. Students’ preparedness to practice is paramount. Our clinical income continues to grow allowing us to support ourselves to expand and recruit faculty and staff in the future. This growth is necessary for the future of the College of Dental Medicine.

In addition, the college continues to support the education of our students and practitioners throughout the state in the care of patients with special health care needs through the Carlos Salinas Seminar. The 22nd annual seminar was held on Sept 24.

We have a bold new strategic plan that will guide us through 2025 and beyond. We want to lead in education for future practices and in scientific discovery and technology for oral health and wellness. We want to innovate beyond the expected levels of patient and family-centered care, but also through our future through public and private partnerships. Finally, we want to inspire through collaboration, integration and interprofessionalism through individuals, teams, and all types of talent. We commit to lead, innovate, and inspire through all of you, our future alumni, current staff and faculty and our community. Our mission, vision, and values are central to what we do daily.

I want to thank each of you for your continued support through not only this pandemic, but for the many years prior and those to come. Without each of you, we would not be the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine that we currently are.

As a final note, please be sure to put our James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine Alumni Homecoming on your calendar! It will be held February 25 through 27, 2022. More details will be mailed to alumni in the coming months. We are excited to celebrate Homecoming with you.

Thank you,


Dean Sarandeep Huja