Fall 2012

The Path Forward

Dean Huw ThomasGreetings! The events of the past several weeks have had a significant impact on the lives of the citizens of our great nation, from the presidential election to the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. I trust that those of you who were affected by the storm are enjoying some degree of return to normalcy. As you will read in the following pages, Tufts School of Dental Medicine is thriving, and while we have our own challenges, it is so encouraging that our wonderful students, staff, faculty and alumni all share in the family spirit that defines this institution.

As usual, the stories and news highlights contained within these pages represent our family in the broadest possible terms, from bacteria to boxing to bizarre plants. The most poignant story, of the family of Martin Deranian, who taught at our school for 40 years, brings to mind articles in the previous two issues of this magazine relating to the inhumanity of mankind, while at the same time attesting to the resiliency of the human spirit.

You will read also of the strategic-planning initiative President Anthony Monaco has launched for Tufts University—an effort that parallels our own planning process that began last spring. Our strategic-planning committee has been hard at work developing a series of strategic briefs that have been distributed to all faculty, staff and students for comment and input. This effort will shape our path for the future and will allow us to identify and address the significant challenges that are facing our profession and the inevitable changes in the educational paradigm. The next issue of this magazine will report on our progress. Some of these challenges are discussed in this magazine, including issues related to access to care and funding. Two new faculty members, Rob Kasberg and Nadeem Karimbux, are highlighted, as are our graduation ceremonies, Wide Open golf tournament and some innovative research advancements.

Perhaps you will also notice the number of women students in the photos. I am delighted to report that this year’s entering class contains a majority of women (53 percent). Compare this with our D96 class (33 percent) and our D76 class (13 percent)—an increase that is reflected across all U.S. dental schools—and you will appreciate the gender shift that has occurred over the past 40 years. How do you think this will affect our profession in the future?

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

Top Stories

Caught

Infection-causing bacteria are the bad guys of the health-care world. These dental detectives found a better way to track them down

Uncommon Scents

Horticulturist Louis Ricciardiello, D78, DG82, tends a noisome niche: the night-stalking corpse flower

Ringside Seat

Clark Sammartino’s hard-hitting avocation has taken him around the world with some of the biggest names in the game

Will the Safety Net Hold?

When there’s no other care, hospital-based dental residents pick up the slack, but federal cuts could diminish their numbers

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Culture of Understanding

Health-care providers should have specialized training on caring for patients from diverse backgrounds

Tooth Tattoo

Tiny sensor may one day help dentists assess their patients’ oral and overall health

The ‘Other’ Fluoride

For millions with dry mouth, this cousin keeps decay at bay

A Mouthful of Info

Electronic patient records are a data gold mine for a new generation of oral health research