Part of the UT Health San Antonio.
David Ojeda Diaz, DDS, assistant professor/clinical in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry, has been selected as a recipient of a 2023 Presidential Award in Teaching Excellence-Emerging. President William L. Henrich, MD, MACP, will host an awards dinner on April 5 to celebrate Ojeda and his fellow award recipients for their accomplishments.Since joining the school’s faculty in 2017, Ojeda says he has made it his mission to improve the integration of medicine and dentistry, which promotes overall optimal health. He has also fervently sought new learning opportunities for dental students and residents. "My goal is to change the current understanding of the relationship between oral health and systemic health and contribute to changing the reality of our healthcare system by transforming the old-fashioned views that have kept these two professions apart,” Ojeda said. “While I realize what I hope to accomplish is limited, I know education is where I can have the greatest impact. I hope to inspire my students to defend this idea and motivate them to be a multipling factor of this message." As director of the Oral Medicine Clinic at UT Dentistry, Ojeda has worked to increase visibility of the discipline in the medical community. He has also integrated residents into the oral medicine practice to increase their clinical exposure and added a number of clinical sessions to the schedule to improve patients' access to care. In his academic role as track leader of the human and health disease curriculum, Ojeda oversees ten courses covering all basic science subjects for first- and second-year dental students. In 2021, he directed an extensive internal review of the curriculum to identify deficiencies and opportunities to improve course content and delivery. He teaches all levels of dental education related to oral medicine, pharmacology, orofacial pain and management of the medically complex. "I am a faithful believer in academic rigor, active learning, and the reciprocal relationship of responsibilities between students and teachers," Ojeda said. Ojeda received his dental degree from the Santa Maria University School of Dentistry in Caracas, Venezuela before completing a training program in oral surgery and oral pathology at the Xaverian University School of Dentistry in Bogota, Colombia. In 2015, he completed a program for international dentists in oral medicine and orofacial pain at the New York University College of Dentistry, after which he participated in a two-year residency in oral medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Ojeda is a diplomate of the American Board of Oral Medicine.