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University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston students Tanya Sue Maestas, Brittany Tran and Nkiru Vance were selected for the 2015-16 class of Albert Schweitzer fellows for the Houston-Galveston area. The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship of Houston-Galveston is a nonprofit organization, housed at Baylor College of Medicine, that offers graduate students the opportunity to design and implement a health-related, 200-hour, year-long community project that provides direct service to an underserved population. Students are paired with mentors, field experts, and community sites to meet vital local health needs, with an immediate and lasting impact in the Houston-Galveston area.


The 2015 Summer Medical and Dental Education Program hosted 79 new faces throughout The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Dentistry and Medical School this year. The six-week academic enhancement program serves undergraduate college students from minority groups, rural areas and economically disadvantaged backgrounds who are interested in medicine, dentistry or other health professions. This year, 59 pre-med and 20 pre-dental students were selected to participate out of 524 total applicants.


Ten faculty members at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) — including Raymond G. Koeppen, DDS, MS, MBA, of the School of Dentistry — have been recognized for teaching excellence by The UT System Board of Regents.

Koeppen is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Restorative Dentistry and Prosthodontics. He holds the Yun J. Ahn and Song Ahn, DDS Professorship in Implant Dentistry. The Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards recognize faculty members at the nine academic and six health institutions in UT System who have demonstrated extraordinary classroom performance and innovation in instruction.

The awards include a $25,000 monetary award and underscore the Regents' commitment to ensuring the UT System is a place of intellectual exploration and discovery, educational excellence and unparalleled opportunity. In addition to Koeppen, the other honorees for 2015 from UTHealth include:


They say timing is everything, and that sentiment has never been more true than this year, when certain gifts to The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) are being matched for double impact. You heard it right. Donations to the health science center can be matched 100 percent by The University of Texas System through its new Game Changers Initiative. To qualify for matching, the gifts must be between $50,000 and $1 million and come from individual donors. It’s a program that makes a good investment even better. The most recent contributors to the program are Gayla and Charles Hoopingarner, DDS, who just gifted $50,000 to advance the future of general dentistry.“In my 41 years of providing general dentistry care and education, I’ve seen massive changes in techniques, tools and understanding within our profession,” said Charles Hoopingarner, a Class of 1973 alumnus and clinical associate professor at UTHealth School of Dentistry. “We just wanted to be able to continue that progress.”


Before an audience of faculty, staff and classmates earlier this summer, University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston students described their spring-semester experiences with “Service Learning Opportunity:  Geriatric Oral Health Care Needs in the Community (DBEC 2202),” an elective course and fellowship extension for second- and third-year dental students. Associate Professor June Sadowsky, DDS, MPH, leads the course with assistance from “student faculty” who have already taken the course. This spring, third-year students Mary Glasheen and Francisco Nieves fulfilled that role, accompanying second-year students on site visits.

The students worked in groups at three locations:

-- Bellerive Senior Living in Houston:  Marian Chen, Mayleen Lee, Tomas Tran-- Lyerly Apartments in Houston:  Austin Anderson, Sarah Arafat, Alex Barerra-- Telephone Road Apartments in Houston:  Natalie Carrizales, Chad Fruithandler, Maryam Khazaeizadeh and Justin Odette.


The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston has awarded 2015  Dean’s Excellence Awards to 10 faculty members nominated by their peers as having made valuable contributions to the school in the areas of scholarship, teaching, discovery, application, voluntary service, or mentoring. The awards were presented at the annual Faculty Retreat, held this year at The Denton A. Cooley, MD and Ralph C. Cooley, DDS University Life Center.

The 10 automatically become members of the Dean’s Academy of Distinguished Educators, in addition to receiving cash awards and certificates. The honorees include:


Darrin M. Wiederhold, DMD, MS, has joined the faculty of The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston as director of the General Practice Residency (GPR) Program. He received his dental degree at Temple University School of Dentistry in Philadelphia, Pa., in 1997 and in 2006 graduated summa cum laude from the Medical College of Ohio, where he earned a master’s degree in oral biology. He received a GPR certificate and completed an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Internship at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry in 2002 and 1999, respectively, having earned a GPR certificate from Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, NY, in 1998.