Brian Mealey stepping down after 15 years as graduate program director
April 28, 2021
Brian L. Mealey, DDS, MS, professor and director of the Graduate Program in Periodontics, will be stepping down as program director on June 1, 2021.
“I have always deeply respected our faculty and staff,” Mealey said. “A fault of mine is that I didn’t tell them how much I appreciated them as often as I should have. These men and women – our faculty, our dental assistants, and our administrative staff – they make our residency what it is. Not the program director. To all of them, I offer my deepest gratitude.”
Dr. Mealey, who received his DDS and MS from the School of Dentistry in 1983 and 1990, respectively, and received his certificate in periodontics from Wilford Hall Airforce Medical Center, was appointed as a full-time faculty member within the Department of Periodontics in 2004. He quickly proved himself as a passionately dedicated leader and in 2006, he succeeded James T. Mellonig, DDS, as program director. His first thought to himself, “Don’t mess this up, Brian!”
After fifteen years, the longest-serving program director in the school's history, and over 117 residents trained under his watch, Dr. Brian Mealey has not messed it up. In fact, periodontists in 18 different states and across five different countries are currently practicing thanks to the training they received from Dr. Mealey and the faculty in the Graduate Program in Periodontics.
In her response to the School of Dentistry regarding Dr. Mealey’s guidance, Mia L. Geisinger, DDS, MS
, professor and director of the Advanced Education Program in Periodontology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, firmly credits her academic career to his influence when she stood at a crossroads in her career. Should she enter private practice or academia?
“The first person I asked for advice was my mentor and the teacher whom I admired the most, Dr. Brian Mealey,” she recalls. “He answered in the patient, positive manner to which I had become accustomed throughout my residency program. He had exacting, high standards and the unwavering belief that I could meet them. He was tough and he was fair. He was interested in my personal well-being and he understood that people, whether they be patients or students, are more important than things, money, awards, or publications. In short, Dr. Brian Mealey is the best teacher I know. I work very hard every day to live up to his example and I hope that I make him proud.”
The legacy of the program in general is a rich one indeed and this, Dr. Mealey acknowledges, is due to the program’s ability to draw the “best and the brightest” applicants. Since Mealey’s appointment as director, the premier status of the program has gone global.
“All over the United States and even the world, Dr. Mealey has a reputation of being a gifted educator, lecturer, and clinician,” says Michael P. Vieth, DDS, a third-year resident set to graduate this May. “He is engaging, always willing to lend an ear, and pushes each of his residents to be the best possible periodontist they can become.”
Understanding the responsibility of directorship well, Michael Mills, DMD, MS
, clinical associate professor in the Department of Periodontics, has proudly watched Dr. Mealey’s career from the start. As Mealey’s residency program director in the U.S. Air Force, Dr. Mills has one word to describe his colleague: commitment.
“When most of our dental faculty and residents are barely opening their eyes for the day, Dr. Brian Mealey is hard at work not just preparing for the day or week ahead, but usually planning months ahead,” Dr. Mills says. “This is a routine he has performed religiously since I have known him. Commitment extends to every aspect of his personal and professional life. Commitment to strive to perform at the highest level of his God-given abilities, which, by the way, are vast and numerous. His enthusiasm to work to be the best is contagious and reflected in our entire program.”
“Dr. Mealey walks beside every resident, no matter what,” shares Shirley Kraft, senior admissions officer for the graduate program. “Dr. Brian and Mrs. Carla Mealey have taken care of a few residents over the years walking them through health struggles, training struggles, and loss of loved ones. Our department and program are one family, we all walk this journey together and I think this is a huge reason we are so successful today.”
The faculty, staff, and students at the School of Dentistry can continue to count on Dr. Mealey’s inspiration and guidance as he rejoins the ranks of the clinical faculty doing what he loves most, teaching. Quite fitting since he was presented with the 2021 UT Health San Antonio Presidential Teaching Excellence Award
Dr. Mealey’s successor, Angela Palaiologou-Gallis, DDS, MS
, professor and assistant director in the Department of Periodontics, will step into her new role with ease. Dr. Palaiologou-Gallis will celebrate three years with the School of Dentistry this fall and previously served nine years as the periodontics postgraduate program director at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.
David Cochran, DDS, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Periodontics, launched a surprise campaign in April of 2021 to name the Brian Mealey, DDS Specialty Operatory Clinic within the Center for Oral Health Care and Research. With gift contributions from alumni and friends, the Department of Periodontics raised over $90K to establish the clinic which honors the contributions Dr. Mealey made while Director of the Graduate Program in Periodontics.
If you would like to make a gift contribution, please contact Amanda Liccione, director of development for the School of Dentistry, at (210) 567-6536 or by emailing Liccione@uthscsa.edu
for additional information.
If you would prefer to make a gift by check, please make it payable to UT Health San Antonio and send it to:
UT Health San Antonio
Office of Institutional Advancement
C/o Amanda Liccione
7703 Floyd Curl Drive MC 7835
San Antonio, TX 78229