Dean Announces New Dental Clinic Opening, Introduces New Faculty Members

Sarandeep Huja
September 23, 2022
Dean Huja

Dear James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine alumni and friends,

As always, thank you for your continued support of our mission to develop transformative leaders and oral health providers to improve wellness. It is an exciting time for the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine!

In August, we celebrated the opening of our new Dental and Oral Health Center at the MUSC Health West Ashley Medical Pavilion. Realizing this milestone marks the first in a series of expansions that will provide additional community-based care opportunities for our students.

I want to acknowledge the leadership of Dr. Sorin Teich, associate dean for Clinical Affairs, and the dedication to our students and patients from our outstanding faculty and staff. I am also grateful for the collaborative support of MUSC leaders in prioritizing the pavilion model of integrated care. I wish to thank chairman Dr. Lemon, Dr. Davis and all members of the MUSC Board of Trustees, President Cole, First Lady Mrs. Cole, Mayor Tecklenburg, Dr. Hong and the untiring support of my supervisor, Provost Saladin.

Mrs. Ann Edwards and Dr. James B. Edwards. 

At the grand opening, one standout moment for me was watching Mrs. Ann Edwards – former first lady of South Carolina and MUSC, together with her late husband and our namesake, Dr. James B. Edwards, a longtime supporter of the college – walk to the front of room, escorted by Charleston's Mayor John Tecklenburg. Onlookers include Mrs. Kathy Cole, first lady of MUSC.

Ribbon cutting at the grand opening the Dental and Oral Health Center at the MUSC Health West Ashley Medical Pavilion. 

From left, the new clinic was officially opened by Ms. Frankie Wilhoit, clinical operations manager, myself, Mayor Tecklenburg, Mrs. Edwards, Dr. Lisa K. Saladin, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, Dr. James Lemon, chair of the MUSC Board of Trustees, Dr. David J. Cole, president of MUSC, Dr. Paul Davis, trustee, and Ms. Terri Barnes, trustee.

We are pleased to welcome five new faculty members: Dr. Albert Natelli, Dr. Olga Hahn, Dr. Leonard Sclafani, Dr. John Ference and Dr. Farzad Nourollah-Zadeh.

Dr. Natelli

Dr. Natelli, West Ashley Medical Pavilion Dental Director, will lead the newly opened Dental and Oral Health Center. He joins us from the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine. He has been in private practice for 30 years. He received his D.D.S. from Case Western Reserve University School of Dentistry. Dr. Natelli is married 26 years, has four children and two dogs, and is a most amiable addition to the MUSC family.

Dr. Ference

Dr. Ference, associate professor, Oral Rehabilitation, Division of Removable Prosthodontics, comes to us from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, where he was the clinical director of undergraduate prosthodontic training. In addition to his dental academic accolades and experience, Dr. Ference holds graduate degrees in strategic leadership, public health, dental science and chemistry. His concurrent military career spans over 30 years.

Dr. Nourollah-Zadeh

Dr. Nourollah-Zadeh, assistant professor, Stomatology, Division of Diagnostic Science & Services, recently completed his oral medicine residency at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. He received his D.M.D. from the University of Grigore T. Poppa in Romania. He is a native of Toronto, Canada.

Dr. Leonard Sclafani

Dr. Leonard Sclafani, assistant professor, Oral Rehabilitation, Division of Restorative Dentistry, joins us from private practice in New Jersey. With over 40 years of experience in general and family dentistry, and skill for putting anxious patients at ease, we are pleased to welcome him to the CDM Family. He received his D.D.S. from New York University College of Dentistry, where he later joined the faculty.

Dr. Olga Hahn

Dr. Olga Hahn, clinical instructor, Oral Rehabilitation, Division of Implant Dentistry, brings a comprehensive background in dentistry and dental assistance from clinics across the greater Charleston area since 2007. She returns to MUSC from Trident Technical College. She practiced dentistry for 15 years in Bogata, Colombia, and received her D.D.S. from Colegio Odontologico Colombiano, as well as a degree in health management from Universidad Santo Tomas.

We are also delighted to congratulate Dr. Elizabeth Pilcher, senior associate dean, associate dean for Faculty Affairs and Assessment, and professor in the department of Oral Rehabilitation, who will be named an emerita faculty member of MUSC in recognition of her career of distinguished service to the university. An advocate for special needs, gender equity and faculty development, Dr. Pilcher was also a leading voice in the early days of web-based education and distance learning. In addition to her contributions to the dental school, she served as the university director of Strategic Planning from 2010-2015 and was recognized with MUSC's Distinguished Faculty Service Award in 2018. She has made a lasting impact on the dental profession in South Carolina, and advanced dental and other services for people with disabilities and special needs.

Our commitment to education, research and patient care inspires us daily to innovate and make a positive difference. Thank you for sharing in this purpose with us.


Sarandeep Huja, D.D.S., Ph.D., Dean