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OMS Undergoes a Metamorphosis

  • Staying Current, Staying Connected

 

by Barry E. Zweig, D.D.S., Professor and Vice-chairperson, UMDNJ-NJDS Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Metamorphosis, as defined by Webster, is a complete transformation of character, purpose, or circumstances. This word most aptly defines what is happening in the NJDS Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMS).

This transformation is the result of careful analysis and planning. Internal and external reviews of the department outlined existing strengths and areas in need of improvement. From there, short- and long-term action plans were developed and goals and objectives for the department established.

The driving force behind these initiatives is Dr. Norman Betts. Since his appointment as chairperson on April 15, 1996, he has markedly transformed the department. Dr. Betts came to NJDS from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was OMS residency program director and director of research. He received his OMS training and master's degree from the University of Michigan. He has authored many articles in the professional literature and lectured extensively in the areas of orthognathic and implant surgery.

"Building on the excellent foundation established by my predecessors, our goal is to develop one of the top five oral and maxillofacial surgery departments in the nation within the next five years," says Dr. Betts. This vision is coming to fruition.

New faculty have been recruited to meet the department's goals and objectives. The intent was to attract faculty with particular areas of clinical expertise to initiate new areas of excellence.

After an extensive search, a cadre of outstanding surgeons was brought on board:

  • Dr. Randall Wilk is director of research. Dr. Wilk has a D.D.S., M.D., and Ph.D. and recently completed a cancer fellowship in Portland, Oregon. He performs surgical treatment of malignant lesions of the head and neck, including neck dissection and reconstruction with free flap techniques.
  • Dr. Vincent Ziccardi comes from the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City. Dr. Ziccardi completed his OMS training and M.D. degree at the University of Pittsburgh. He is associate director of the residency training

program, within which his expertise in the areas of cosmetic surgery and nerve repair brings a new dimension.

  • Dr. H. Dexter Barber is recognized nationally as an expert in implant

dentistry and reconstruction. He was recruited from the University of Pennsylvania and brings strength to the implant program.

  • Dr. Kathy Banks is a 1996 graduate of the NJDS OMS program. She is director of anesthesia and will develop and coordinate programs at the pre- and post-doctoral levels.

Meanwhile, under the watchful eye of Dr. Pamela Alberto, director of the pre-doctoral program, students receive an unparalleled experience in academic and clinical oral and maxillofacial surgery. With input from faculty,

students, and alumni, the new, dynamic curriculum reflects the changes that are occurring in oral and maxillofacial surgery today. Senior students have the opportunity to participate in selective/ elective courses in implantology, exodontia, and conscious sedation. Current hospital rotations expose students to the full scope of OMS, including emphasis in facial trauma, pathology, and management of the medically compromised patient.

Already high quality, the OMS residency training program has been improved. The program received full, unconditional approval in September 1996 by the American Dental Association's Committee on Dental Accreditation. This was in large measure due to the efforts of Dr. Maano Milles, the program's director.

NJDS now has two separate but integrated OMS training programs. The first is a combined, six-year program at UMDNJ-University Hospital that grants residents a certificate of OMS training and an M.D. degree from New Jersey Medical School. The second is a four-year certificate program based at the East Orange Veteran's Administration Hospital under the direction of Dr. Alan Samit. Residents rotate through each medical center during their training, thereby taking advantage of the strengths of each institution; they are exposed to a diverse elective and non-elective case mix.

To further optimize their educational experience, residents rotate at Staten Island University Hospital and Canniesburn Hospital in Glasgow, Scotland. Currently, resident exchange programs exist between our program and Walter Reed Medical Center and also with the Departments of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Otolaryngology at UMDNJ.

Finally, because of increased patient load and educational programs, OMS's physical facilities are being renovated. Work is being done on the dental out-patient area at University Hospital, and two surgical out-patient suites at the NJDS-OMS clinic will be renovated and appropriately equipped for the administration of general anesthesia and more extensive surgical procedures.

These faculty, course, and physical changes all play a part in the metamorphosis unfolding within the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Unquestionably, they further Dr. Betts's goal to create one of the top five OMS departments by 2003.

 

Staying Current, Staying Connected

A strong effort has been made by the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery to develop and strengthen relations with the oral and maxillofacial surgical community and graduates of the NJDS OMS program. The department grants a reduced tuition for continuing education courses, hosts a reception at the AAOMS national meeting, and sponsors joint educational conferences with the New Jersey Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Community surgeons can also receive continuing education credit by attending NJDS OMS conferences.