Fall 2017

Our People Are the Heart of Our School

Greetings! I am especially pleased to share this special issue of Tufts Dental Medicine, celebrating our upcoming 150th anniversary in 2018. Planning the celebrations that will take place throughout the next year have allowed me to reflect on the School of Dental Medicine’s place in history, and consider its future. Our school was founded three years after the Civil War ended and, it turns out, we are as old as Canada!

One of the most significant changes during that time can be seen in our graduates. For many years, there was a certain career trajectory most would take after dental school. They would open their own practice, or become associates in an existing practice. They would most likely spend their entire careers in private practice, in the same location. But the world has changed, dental medicine has changed and our students have changed. Our graduates now have a wider range of careers: private practice, of course, but also research, academia and public health. They might work in multispecialty group practices, for large dental service organizations, for global health initiatives or in community schools. They are asked to think creatively and critically, to take on ever-changing technology and to provide the best care possible in a shifting and uncertain health care-climate.

Our main feature in this issue is “150 Reasons Why We Love This School.” In it, you can see the many, many reasons why our school is such a special place, from our spirit of community service, to our welcoming sculpture of Dr. Robert Buchanan in our lobby. But it seems to me that our school’s foundation is the group of individuals who have learned, taught and worked here.

The individuals you’ll find throughout the feature are the ones who thought outside the box, and who had vision and enthusiasm about the future and what it would bring to dental medicine. Some of them broke barriers for women and for minorities. Some of them came as refugees from war-torn nations with nothing but their will to succeed in a foreign land. Some found their calling in patient care. Some made scientific breakthroughs. Some mentored generations of students. Some fought for oral-health equality. But every last one of them, in some way, helped shape our school. They are the reason I believe that, though the modern world of dental medicine is complicated, our students, faculty, staff and alumni are ready and able to meet any challenge. That tenacity is woven into the fabric of our school.

It is worth noting that, in compiling the “150 Reasons” feature, we were simply overwhelmed by the number of places, people, events and programs that help shape Tufts Dental. There may be only 150 reasons listed here, but there are endless reasons why we love the dental school. And we want to hear your reasons too. You can let us know, and get more information about our 150th celebration, at https://dental.tufts.edu/150years.

As usual, this magazine reflects the myriad accomplishments of the Tufts School of Dental Medicine community, including faculty, staff, students and alumni. I hope you enjoy reading, and I wish you and your families and loved ones an enjoyable fall and winter. As always, I welcome your comments by phone, 617-636-6636, or by email, huw.thomas@tufts.edu.

Huw F. Thomas, B.D.S., M.S., Ph.D.
Dean and Professor of Pediatric Dentistry

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