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Students, Faculty Sweep Texas Dental Hygiene Awards

Esmeralda Diaz with award

Texas Outstanding Dental Hygiene Student for 2014 Esmeralda Diaz (right) receives the award from Kirsten McGee, Membership Services Council Chair for the Texas Dental Hygienists’ Association.

University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston dental hygiene faculty and students won big earlier this month when the Texas Dental Hygiene Educators Association and the Student Chapter of American Dental Hygienists (SCADHA) met in San Marcos for an annual gathering hosted by the Texas Dental Hygienists’ Association. 

Fourth-year dental hygiene student Esmeralda Diaz was named Outstanding Dental Hygiene Student in Texas for 2014, and Assistant Professor Joanna Allaire, RDH, MDH, won the 2014 Procter & Gamble Teaching Excellence Award.

Other students won first- and second-place awards in a statewide table clinic; three won scholarships; another was elected to serve as a delegate; and two others won third place in a whimsical “Dental Product Fashion Show.”  Read more


UTSD Students Appointed to National ASDA Posts

Adrien Lewis

Laura Nelson

Andrew Naeger




Three University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston students have been selected for 2014-15 national leadership positions with the American Student Dental Association (ASDA).  Adrien Lewis will chair the Council on Membership; Laura Nelson was appointed Associate to the Council on Communications, and Andrew Naeger was appointed Associate to the Council on Professional Issues.

The students were chosen from a competitive field of extremely qualified national candidates and will play an important role in achieving the associate’s goals for the coming year, said ASDA Executive Director Nancy Honneycutt.  Read more


TMOM/GKAS Video Now Posted on YouTube

An 8-year-old girl holds a puppet while learning to brush its teeth.

Children learned about dental hygiene while waiting for care at the Texas Mission of Mercy/Give Kids a Smile event at UTSD earlier this month. Photo by Dwight C. Andrews.

Video from this month’s Texas Mission of Mercy and Give Kids a Smile combined events is now available online, thanks to Edgar Veliz of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Office of Media Relations. Veliz is the media relations assistant assigned to the School of Dentistry and School of Nursing. He was instrumental in securing media coverage for TMOM/GKAS, but also took time to interview event leaders.  

The 4:26-minute video has been posted on UTHealth’s YouTube channel. Additional still photos will be featured in an upcoming edition of "Discover UTSD" magazine.  Read more


Dean Valenza Speaks at UH Ocular Wellness Symposium

Dr. John Valenza was a guest panelist and speaker at the University of Houston’s Ocular Surface Wellness Symposium.

UTHealth School of Dentistry Dean John Valenza, DDS, was a guest panelist and speaker at the University of Houston’s Ocular Surface Wellness Symposium 

Dean John A. Valenza, DDS, was an invited speaker and panelist at the University of Houston College of Optometry’s Ocular Surface Wellness Symposium Feb. 7-8 in Houston. The event was designed for key opinion leaders in optometry and ophthalmology throughout North America.

Valenza discussed dentistry’s evolution from a profession predominately focused on fixing problems to a profession that embraces preventive care and wellness.  He joined dermatologist Lucile White, MD, and psychologist Clayton Neighbors, PhD, in a panel discussion of “creating a wellness mindset.”  Read more


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