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$3.7 Million NIDCR Grant Funds Search for Dental Quality Measures

Drs. Walji, Kalendarian and Neumann

Dr. Muhammad Walji of UTHealth and Dr. Elsbeth Kalendarian (center) of Harvard are principal investigators of an NIDCR-funded initiative to establish dental quality measures based on data derived from electronic health records. Dr. Ana Neumann (right) of UTHealth is a co-investigator.

The National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) has awarded nearly $3.7 million for clinical informatics research at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Dentistry, in collaboration with Harvard University School of Dental Medicine.

The R01 grant, "Implementing Dental Quality Measures in Practice," will be funded over five years for a total of $3,692,153.

Principal investigators include Muhammad F. Walji, PhD, associate dean for technology services and informatics and associate professor in the Department of Diagnostic and Biomedical Sciences at UTHealth School of Dentistry; and Elsbeth Kalenderian, DDS, PhD, chair of the Department of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology, chief of quality for Harvard Dental Center, and associate professor of oral health policy and epidemiology at Harvard University School of Dental Medicine. Director of Dental Public Health Ana Neumann, DDS, PhD, of UTHealth School of Dentistry, is a co-investigator in this research.  Read more


SAVE THE DATE: Ice Cream 'Scream-Out' July 14

A dozen scoops of ice cream in various colors

In observance of July as National Ice Cream Month, Dean John Valenza, DDS, will host the annual “Scream-Out Ice Cream Party” from 11:30 to 1 p.m. Tuesday, July 14 in The Denton A. Cooley, MD and Ralph C. Cooley, DDS University Life Center. The event is for faculty, staff, residents and students of the School of Dentistry. (Valid UTHealth badges are required).

For the first time, the Scream-Out will serve Dreyer’s ice cream instead of Blue Bell.  Read more

HSDA Staffs Colgate’s Dental Van for Houston Visit

Hispanic Student Dental Association member Paola Salazar was among volunteers providing care when Colgate’s mobile dental van visited Houston June 13.

Hispanic Student Dental Association member Paola Salazar was among volunteers providing care when Colgate’s mobile dental van visited Houston June 13.

Dental student Alex Barrera, community chair of the Hispanic Student Dental Association (HSDA) at The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston, organized the school’s participation when Colgate’s mobile dental van visited Houston in June.

In partnership with the Hispanic Dental Association (HDA), Colgate’s Bright Smiles, Bright Futures® mobile dental van has been providing bilingual learning materials and free dental screenings to children in the Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and New York metro areas throughout the month, reaching out to more than 11,000 children.

In Houston, the van visited Fiesta Stores on Spencer Highway and Wirt Road on June 13. HSDA members who participated included Barrera, Brian Minavi, Paola Salazar, Patricia Lopez, Virginia Velez and HSDA Faculty Advisor Margo Melchor, RDH, MEd, who is a past president of both the national HDA and the Houston chapter. Also in attendance was volunteer faculty member and HDA Past President Victor Rodriguez, DDS. Read more


Canvas Replacing Blackboard; Training Available

A slide with information training for Canvas

Help is available for faculty members moving their courses from Blackboard to Canvas. Visit to make an appointment for assistance.

Beginning this fall, The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston will officially use the Canvas learning management system — replacing Blackboard.

Richard “Hal” Halpin, educational technology manager at the School of Dentistry, said Canvas offers many benefits over Blackboard, including ease of use, multimedia integration, mobile friendliness, better integration of third-party content, performance, and compliance with accessibility standards. Instructors will retain read-only access to Blackboard course materials, as all courses will be taught in Canvas.  Read more


P.E.D.S. Members Teach Oral Health at Local School

Dental students from UTHealth School of Dentistry taught oral health care at a local elementary school.

Dental students from UTHealth School of Dentistry delivered a lesson on oral health at Schochler Elementary School in May.

Students from the Pediatric Education Dental Society (P.E.D.S.) of The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston visited Schochler Elementary School in May to teach first-graders about oral health. Dental students Mary Becker, Adrien Lewis, Jenni Laurence, Courtney Cunningham and Elizabeth Scott participated in the service event. The volunteers taught the students about brushing, flossing, visiting the dentist and eating healthy foods.

“Volunteering at Schochler was so much fun! The kids were engaged and very receptive to our presentation. It was a great way to end the semester,” said Cunningham.

The mission of P.E.D.S. is to encourage and promote the pursuit of excellence in pediatric dentistry. The objectives of this student association are to raise awareness about the importance of children’s dental care beginning as early as possible and to work to fulfill this need through service projects.  Read more


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