This page uses javascript to enable Google Analytics.

Skip Navigation
Multi Photo Banner
About The School Header Image

News & Media

Congressman Brian Babin, DDS ’76, a second-generation alumnus of The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston, was the keynote speaker at the school’s 110th Graduation Convocation May 22 at Cullen Performance Hall, where 85 students were awarded DDS degrees, 44 earned master’s degrees and/or certificates in dental specialties, and 35 students graduated with bachelor’s degrees or certificates in dental hygiene.   Dean John A. Valenza, DDS, introduced Babin as the first Texas dentist to serve in Congress, noting that the first-term Congressman represents District 36, which includes Chambers, Hardin, Jasper, Liberty, Newton, Orange, Polk and Tyler counties, as well as a portion of Harris County.


Fourteen third-year dental students participated in a different kind of “stab-lab” at The University of Texas School of Dentistry in April. Members of the Dental Anesthesia Club for Students (DACS) assembled for a “Venipuncture (IV) Workshop” under the guidance of Clinical Assistant Professor Clark Whitmire, DMD, JD, a dental anesthesiologist.Participating students were first given a tutorial on the indications and risks associated with venipuncture. Following this overview, the DACS students met in the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Clinic to learn IV technique.“Dr. Whitmire demonstrated the first IV, and then the fun began as students volunteered to play health-care provider and patient, to stick and be stuck,” said Justin Tullis, a student who participated in the activity. Third-year dental students Gregory Luk and Adam Grimm — both former medical corpsmen in the U.S. Army Special Forces — volunteered to assist Whitmire and share their IV expertise.


A second volume detailing the history of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston is now in print and available online. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery:  The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston 2000-2015 continues the departmental history originally detailed in Looking Back: A History of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Training Program at The University of Texas-Houston 1949-1999.Authored by Robert R. Debes, DDS, with Donald P. Butler, DDS, the second book also features chapters written by current and former OMS faculty, as well as Dean John A. Valenza, DDS.  Both Debes and Butler are oral and maxillofacial surgeons. Debes retired from private practice but still serves as a clinical professor at the school. Butler is also retired, having served as the School of Dentistry’s OMS Predoctoral Program Director.


University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston Dean John A. Valenza, DDS, welcomed new faculty members at a get-acquainted reception in their honor May 12 in The Denton A. Cooley, MD and Ralph C. Cooley, DDS University Life Center.  It was a chance for them to meet each other as well as department chairs and key staff members, he said, noting that some of the new faculty have been at UTSD since summer 2014, while a few have been here less than a month. "We like to hold these receptions when we get a sort of critical mass of new people," he added.More photos from the event are posted at Go.uth.edu/NewFaculty15. A list of new faculty invited to the reception includes:


Griselda “Grace” Avila is the new administrative coordinator for the Office of Student and Alumni Affairs at The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston. She joined the staff in March and reports to Associate Dean Philip Pierpont, DDS. Avila is a graduate of Galena Park High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the University of Houston-Downtown in 2014.  Her work experience includes serving as finance supervisor for Hilton Americas and as administrative supervisor for BP Worldwide Security Inc. A native of Mexico, she is now a U.S. citizen and working mom, raising two children with her husband, Gilbert. 


The American Association of Orthodontists Foundation (AAOF) has awarded a $30,000, 12-month grant to two University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston faculty members to study genetic causes of oligodontia, a condition in which six or more teeth fail to develop.Associate Professor Ariadne Letra, DDS, PhD, of the Department of Endodontics and the School of Dentistry’s Center for Craniofacial Research, will collaborate with Associate Professor Sercan Akyalcin, DDS, PhD, of the Department of Orthodontics on the study.


The Department of Orthodontics at The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston is poised to advance research, thanks to a $100,000 endowment from Houston-area orthodontist Sam A. Winkelmann, DDS, MS. The “Dr. Sam A. Winkelmann Endowment for Research” will fund a variety of projects that will help develop the research curriculum of the Department of Orthodontics and enhance the research exposure of the graduate orthodontic residents, eventually serving the entire profession. Dr. Winkelmann, a 1968 graduate of the School of Dentistry, also earned a master’s degree and certificate in orthodontics in 1970. He went on to become a legendary teacher and mentor among orthodontists, contributing to the field in remarkable ways. His gift to The University of Texas will help the next generation of orthodontists and serve as a reminder of his past and future contributions.