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Program History

“Looking Back: A History of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Training Program at The University of Texas-Houston 1949-1999” by Robert R. Debes, DDS, with Donald P. Butler, DDS, is now available in PDF format. An updated edition is in the works.



In May 1948, Edward C. Hinds, MD, DDS, a graduate of Baylor College of Medicine and Baylor College of Dentistry, became the first chair of the Department of Oral Surgery at The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston. Launched July 1, 1949, department offered the first formal oral surgery training program in Texas.

Since then, the length of the residency has evolved from a single track, two-year program to twin programs of four- or six-year duration. The six-year program enables the resident to earn a medical degree from The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, and both tracks award graduates a certificate of training from a fully accredited program. A special program allows qualified residents to earn a PhD during residency.

The residents rotate through the School of Dentistry and different hospitals in the Texas Medical Center, including Memorial Hermann Healthcare System, Houston Methodist Hospital, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, Ben Taub General Hospital and Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital and new rotations are being developed with the Shriners Hospital and Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio.

The department also enjoys a close research affiliation with Rice University, and several of the department’s faculty hold adjunct appointments with the Department of Bioengineering. Current research activities focus on tissue regeneration, and the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery receives funding from a variety of sources, including the NIH and the U.S. Department of Defense.

The training program at UTHealth is the largest and one of the most highly ranked in the United States. Currently, six residents are selected from an applicant pool of 150-200 candidates. A highly motivated alumni organization, the Edward C. Hinds Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, strongly supports the department’s educational, service and research activities through a separate foundation, the Hinds Foundation.

Since the program’s founding in 1948, the department has had three chairs:

Name Year
Edward C. Hinds 1948-1983
John C. Helfrick 1984-2000
Mark E. K. Wong 2000-present

The Program Directors since 1949, responsible for residency training, are as follows:

Name Year
Edward C. Hinds 1949-1963
John E. Pleasants 1963-1975
Hubert W. Woodward 1976-1977
John C. Adams 1977-1981
Jose Lomba 1981-1982
David Shelton 1982-1983
John E. Helfrick 1984-1988
Terry D. Taylor 1988-1993
James V. Johnson 1993-1994
Michael G. Donovan 1994-1996
Mark E. K. Wong 1996-present

The department’s members and alumni have been active in various national and international associations representing the specialty. The Association of American Society of Oral Surgeons was founded in 1918 and later became the Association of American Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Two alumni have served as president:

Name Year
Edmund I Parnes ('65) 1996
Mark W. Tucker ('72) 2007

The American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery the certifying agency for the specialty, was founded in 1946 and two of our alumni have served as President:

Name Year
John N. Kent ('69) 1989
Robert Dean White ('74) 2000

The current department chair, Mark E. K. Wong, BDS, is a past president of the ABOMS.

Residents who have completed the program are in practice throughout Texas and the U.S., and a few practice in foreign countries, including Taiwan, Thailand, Italy, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Canada and Switzerland. The success of our graduates in their communities has strengthened the reputation of the department and helped make Houston's one of the most sought-after residency programs for oral and maxillofacial training in the world.