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Program History

The Graduate Prosthodontic Program at The University of Texas School of Dentistry can trace its origin back to 1953 when Dr. Joe B. Drane of the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center Program in Maxillofacial Prosthodontics began a part-time rotation at the new School of Dentistry. The first program director was Dr. Heinz O. Beck. At that time, the School of Dentistry and adjacent MD Anderson Cancer Center were new facilities built in the heart of the planned Texas Medical Center complex. The early residents of the program were all associated with outside sponsoring institutions, including The Veterans Administration, U.S. Air Force and MD Anderson.

Early residents who were postgraduate students did not receive a certificate in prosthodontics from the School of Dentistry. Rather, they received their certificates from their sponsoring organizations, where they did most or all of their clinical training. Early residents who were graduate students and enrolled in the master of science program received their degrees from The University of Texas. In addition, they received certificates in prosthodontics from their sponsoring agencies. The roster for USAF, UTSD and MD Anderson residents is accurate. However, there seems to be no good source of information about VA residents from 1955 until 1965. Because of this, it is not clear just what year the VA residents actually began rotations at the School of Dentistry. It is also uncertain exactly how many VA residents received training at the School of Dentistry, but available records show that it was more than 45.

The Veterans Administration Medical Center's prosthodontic residency was affiliated with the School of Dentistry early on and has continued that affiliation until the present. The U.S. Air Force prosthodontic residency at Wilford Hall Medical Center at Lackland AFB maintained an affiliation with the School of Dentistry from 1959 until 1981. The first class of Air Force residents to receive master of science degrees from The University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston was the class of 1964, which began training in 1962. The Class of 1983, who began their training in 1980, was the last group of Air Force prosthodontic residents to receive master's degrees from the School of Dentistry. In addition, the Air Force sent a small number of residents to the School of Dentistry for their clinical prosthodontic training, as well as for didactic training. In all, the School of Dentistry trained 76 Air Force residents from 1955-1983.

The residency in maxillofacial prosthodontics at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center was affiliated with the School of Dentistry from 1953-1986. The School of Dentistry trained 123 maxillofacial prosthodontic residents for MD Anderson. After the residency closed, it was still possible to do a one-year clinical fellowship in maxillofacial prosthodontics at MD Anderson.

According to ADA directives, the UTSD Prosthodontic Program switched from a removable program to a combined (fixed/removable) program in 1984. In 1996, the program was expanded from a two-year to a three-year residency that awards both a certificate in prosthodontics, as well as a master of science degree.

The Graduate Prosthodontic Program at the School of Dentistry has had five program directors:

1953-1979 Dr. Heinz O. Beck
1978-1987 Dr. Dale H. Andrews
1987-1996 Dr. Thomas L. Hurst
1996-2000 Dr. Robert L. Engelmeier
2000-present Dr. Donald M. Belles