Dentistry is just the beginning
The mission of the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine is to provide outstanding programs in oral health education, patient care, research and scholarship, and service that are of value to our constituents. We accomplish this in an environment that fosters collegiality and professionalism that enables a diverse group of students to become competent practitioners of dentistry and contribute to the health and well-being of individuals and populations.
Researchers Find Byproducts from Gum Disease Incite Deadly Oral Cancer Growth
CWRU School of Dental Medicine researchers have discovered how byproducts from two bacteria prevalent in gum disease incite the growth of deadly Kaposi’s sarcoma-related (KS) lesions and tumors in the mouth. The discovery could lead to early saliva testing for the bacteria, which, if found, could be treated and monitored for signs of cancer before it develops into a malignancy. Lead investigator Fengchun Ye said that high levels of these bacteria are found in the saliva of people with periodontal disease, and at lower levels in those with good oral health--further evidence of the link between oral and overall physical health. “The most important thing to come out of this study is that we believe periodontal disease is a risk factor for Kaposi sarcoma tumor in HIV patients,” Ye said. With that knowledge, Ye said those with HIV must be informed about the importance of good oral health and the possible consequences of overlooking that area. The research was supported by a career development grant at Center for AIDS Research at Case Western Reserve University, and a National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research grant.
Contributing to the study were Case Western Reserve University researchers Abdel-Malek Shahir and Nabil Bissada from the Department of Periodontics; Xiaolan Yu, Jingfeng Sha, Zhimin Feng, Betty Eapen, Stanley Nithianantham, and Aaron Weinberg from the Department of Biological Sciences; and Biswajit Das and Jonathan Karn, from the Department of Molecular Biology & Microbiology at the School of Medicine.
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Dean Jerold S. Goldberg Receives Achievement Award
Dean Goldberg has been awarded the Ohio Dental Association (ODA) Achievement Award. Goldberg received the award at the Callahan Celebration of Excellence in conjunction with the ODA Annual Session in September. He received the award for his contributions to the school, including development of innovative dental education programs. “Dean Goldberg has been a real difference maker at Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. He has consistently supported innovative changes for both the University and the School of Dental Medicine,” said Ronald Occhionero, associate dean of administration at the school. “Additionally, he has been an active force in dentistry and for ODA initiatives and is well-deserving of the 2013 Achievement Award of the Ohio Dental Association for his many accomplishments.”
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Dental Alumni Featured in CWRU 30 Under 30
CWRU has highlighted 30 alumni who have invented, influenced and become standouts in their fields, all before the age of 30, including the School of Dental Medicine's Kari Cunningham '10 '12 and Tasha Hall '11. Kari Cunningham has wanted to be a dentist since she was 12, when she learned her father trained as a dental assistant in the Air Force. “I thought that was pretty cool,” she says. “But he said to me, ‘Kari, you don’t have to be an assistant--go be the doctor.’” As a dental student, she won a scholarship from the National Health Service Corps that commits her to spend at least four years in an underserved area. Today, she is the first pediatric dentist at Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Health Services, a community-based health care clinic located on Cleveland’s East Side, where she helps patients who lack access to essential preventive care and educates them on the importance of oral health.
After dental school, Tasha Hall returned home to Indiana for post-graduate study in Orthodontics. But her career path took a detour after she helped treat several children with severe facial deformities. Last month, Hall returned to CWRU and University Hospitals to begin a fellowship in craniofacial, surgical and special care orthodontics--among the first accredited fellowships of its kind in the US. Hall will be part of a team of specialists who meet with parents shortly after birth to plan long-range therapy for craniofacial deformities, like cleft lip and cleft palate, that can take years to correct. The cases are difficult, clinically and emotionally, for both patients and parents. The deeply personal connection to cases, “gives you a great sense of accomplishment,” Hall says. Once her fellowship ends, she hopes to continue treating children as part of a craniofacial team.
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School of Dental Medicine Receives Grant from Cleveland Foundation
Community dentistry--especially reducing disparities in oral health care for minorities and the underserved--has long been a hallmark of Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. That vital mission just received a boost from the Cleveland Foundation, whose board of directors approved a $200,000 grant to update and increase the functional capacity of the school’s community dental health care center. Specifically, the grant will help improve the 45-year-old health center with modern technology, teaching, and clinical techniques.
“We are grateful and appreciative of the Cleveland Foundation’s gift,” said Dean Jerold Goldberg. “Enhancing our facilities allows us to provide patients with excellent and compassionate care in a setting that reflects the quality of the School of Dental Medicine’s best practices, educational programs and research.” The center is the largest oral health safety-net provider in Northeast Ohio, with 85,000 patient visits and an estimated $5.2 million in care provided in 2012. Each year, the dental school offers free checkups to more than 10,000 of Cleveland’s most vulnerable residents through its outreach program. Free dental clinics offered once a year have drawn as many as 400 to 500 patients in one day.
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