Welcome to the 2020 - 2021 Academic Year
Peter M. Loomer, DDS, PhD
August 3, 2020
Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:
I would like to extend a very warm greeting to our campus community and welcome you to the 2020-2021 academic year at the UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry! Although we begin the term operating in an untraditional fashion, we continue to work together to educate the next generation of outstanding oral health professionals, treat the communities that need us most, and advance science to prevent and manage oral diseases and their sequalae.
This year, we welcome over 400 returning DDS, dental hygiene, and advanced education students who have been resilient in their efforts to familiarize themselves with new academic and clinic protocols which have been implemented since spring break. I value all the open and honest communication that has been conducted between our faculty, staff, and student communities. Furthermore, I greatly appreciate everyone’s flexibility in handling the changes that have occurred and will be occurring as we progress through the new academic year.
Let’s celebrate and welcome our new School of Dentistry students!
After a successful admissions cycle, led by Dr. Kay Malone, our campus welcomes 100 first year DDS students, one of whom is a DDS/PhD candidate. Our Class of 2024 was selected from over 1448 applications and after 354 applicant interviews. Our DS1 class is comprised of 34 underrepresented minorities in the profession of dentistry, 61 females and 39 males, holds an average GPA of 3.67, and an average DAT score of 20.8. I’ve had the pleasure of virtually meeting our new class and can personally attest that we are joined by a delightful new cohort.
Our new dental hygiene class is also a strong group of 17 students with an average GPA of 3.2. This junior class is comprised of 14 females and 3 males, the majority of whom are born and bred Texans, with the exception of one Seattleite. Other countries represented by our hygiene class are the Dominican Republic and the Republic of the Philippines.
Our advanced education programs continue to attract the best applicants from around the globe. Collectively, our competitive graduate programs received 1484 applications in their most recent recruitment cycle. This is an astonishing 25% increase from just the previous cycle which accounts for the highly accomplished 46 first year residents welcomed by our 9 graduate programs.
As we press forward this academic year, we will work together to advance these top priorities:
•The Dentistry Enhancement of Clinical Opportunities (DECO) initiative will help point our dental practices to an even more patient-centered model while also exploring more opportunities for our learners. The task force groups will begin to meet at the start of the new fiscal year and develop their work plans.
•The Enterprise Design for Growth and Effectiveness (EDGE) initiative is a campus-wide project focused on positioning our institution to support the service needs of our rapidly growing enterprise. The School of Dentistry has already implemented the information technology partner model and will continue to work with the consultant firm, Huron, to streamline the areas of business operations, human resources, marketing and communications, and research administration.
•The clinical center for Special Care Dentistry is being developed within the Center for Oral Health Care and Research (COHCR), to both provide care to people with physical and/or cognitive challenges and to educate our students in the care of this very underserved community. Grants are being written to support the center and this will also be a focus of our upcoming capital campaign.
•It is my desire to promote and support the initiatives focused on diversity and inclusion in our school. Our Strategic Planning Committee has an agenda item to review our school’s core values in an effort to revise them in a fashion that explicitly promotes social justice and equality. Our student leadership and I have met with current dental students and recent alumni to discuss their experiences as black students in our school. We were enlightened by these conversations and plan to better support a diverse campus culture. We must actively work to promote anti-racism, social justice, and equality, not merely “agree” with it.
•Despite the challenges the pandemic has wrought on our community by keeping us apart, my office remains committed to marking our school’s 50th anniversary this year by featuring our past and present accomplishments in the 2020 issue of Salute, our alumni magazine. I want to thank our long-serving faculty, staff, and alumni for providing us with a wealth of photos and information for this project. We are also planning for a virtual school-wide and alumni celebration of our 50th anniversary immediately following the James P. Hollers Annual Lectureship this November 6th. Stay tuned for details!
It is my honor and privilege to serve you as Dean and I welcome our new students to the family. Students, among your dental faculty you will find world renown clinicians, researchers, and authors of some of the very textbooks you will reference. I encourage you to take advantage of every moment you have with them and make the most of your education at the UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry – a school with a vision to be the
leading academic oral health institution in the world (and we are getting close to our goal)!
I thank everyone for their dedication to excellence and support of all or our missions. I am so proud of the work you do, you really do make lives better!
Best wishes and remember to Cover for COVID,
Peter M. Loomer, BSc, DDS, PhD, MRCD(C), FACD
Professor and Dean, School of Dentistry