by Jim Delahanty, D.M.D. ('75)
Awards, trophies, the occasional pat on the back. Everyone needs to be recognized for a job well done and to be reminded that it is OK to blunder once in awhile, as long as lessons are learned from the mistakes. With awards given by two New Jersey Dental School professors, students are up for public recognition at both ends of the spectrum.
The "Thinker Award" is presented to students whose work dazzles Dr. Patrick Quaranta (D'72), associate professor of clinical Oral Pathology, Biology and Diagnostic Sciences (OPBDS). "Insight, independent thought, clinical judgment, and seeing the big picture. Call it what you will, this is what teachers hope for in their students," he says. "If during a clinical activity I am surprised by a student's wisdom and level of thought beyond what I would normally expect at that stage of his or her education, I award them with 'The Thinker.'"
The 12-inch award, a replica of Auguste
Rodin's famous sculpture, is proudly displayed at the recipient's
dental unit for a week. Dr. Quaranta says he came up with the
idea of "The Thinker" in response to the marsupial
award given by Dr. Robert Flinton, professor of clinical Prosthodontics
and Biomaterials and a diplomate of the American Board of Prosthodontics.
If during a clinic session, a pre-clinic lab, or in the lecture hall a student is guilty of a particularly boneheaded moment, Dr. Flinton presents the individual with a stuffed toy kangaroo. Thus, the Distinguished Union of Marsupial Brotherhood was formed, more casually referred to as the "DUMB" award.
"I think it is important that at a time of stress and public embarrassment, we take a step back, take stock of the situation, and have a good laugh, even if it is at our own expense," says Dr. Flinton. "The 'DUMB' award is not an attempt to belittle or ridicule. On the contrary, I am trying to get everyone to reflect, think, laugh-and then move on. There is no sense in worrying about what is done, but we should learn from our mistakes."
Indeed, students don't perceive Dr.
Flinton's award as cruel or intimidating. The recipient takes
care of the kangaroo until the professor passes on the award.
The kangaroo, which may be displayed on the student's dental
unit, has been taken to student dances, parties, and even on
vacation. When recently seen, the kangaroo, her baby safely tucked
in her pouch, was adorned with Mardi Gras beads.
Although Dr. Quaranta's and Dr. Flinton's styles differ, the results are the same. Two excellent educators, who enjoy teaching, are interacting with students and providing the necessary pat on the back.
by Jim Delahanty, D.M.D. ('75)
"We ask for excellence from our students at NJDS, and when it is achieved, we must be ready to celebrate it," says Dean Saporito.
The academic accomplishments of 60 high-achieving
New Jersey Dental School students were recognized last October
at the inaugural Dean's Scholarship Reception hosted by Dean
The student honorees were:
Class of 1999
Fabio G. Apolito; Donna M. Babyak; Edward N. Burg; Maura E. Conniff; Joshua Z. Epstein; Scott D. Galkin; Patricia A. Gardner; Lauren C. Hebel; Jennifer D. Huether; Chi F. Ip; Jason B. Karns; Minah Kim; Ricki H. Krantz; Gabrielle C. Larrea; David A. Lipani; John F. Mielo: Yelena Nutskovsky; Suzanne M. Quigley; Nina D. Ranaldi-O'Connell.
Class of 2000
Gail-Ann Allen; Suzanne Bunn; Tonigail Castaldi: Michael J. Cisar; Jason H. Deblinger; Brad J. Elkin; Mario Frangiskou; Sonal J. Gandhi; Paula A. Gencarelli; Dov Hook; Sharon Kaminetzky; Irina Lekht; Manolis G. Manolakakis; Cory J. Metzger; Edward M. Millward; John Panzarino; Ernesta Parisi; Zev Schulhof.
Class of 2001
Agnieszka D. Bara; James C. Byrne; David
J. Caggiano; Michael Cicalese; Darryl S. Engel; Fariba Farrokhi;
Tara L. Gostovich; Melissa Grieder; David Kallus; Stephen L.
Kao; Christopher G. Kaplan; Alison H. Lee; Gerardo Linarducci;
Jason H. Lizzack; Robert Lorino; Rene Majsiak; Anup Muduli; Jonathan
A. Nitche; Derek R. Noonan; Sarah C. Rich; Andrew T. Ruvo; Adam
B. Schulhof; Blanca I. Soto.
by Jim Delahanty, D.M.D. ('75)
In 1968, Anthony Murphy fell and chipped his tooth. "The elementary school dentist told me that the tooth might need a root canal and a cap," recalls his mother, Mary Murphy. "With five other children, I simply could not afford this treatment." At the recommendation of her family physician, Mrs. Murphy brought her son to NJDS, then located in Jersey City.
That was the beginning of a 30-year relationship. Mrs. Murphy was so impressed with the care and attention her son received, she became a patient herself. One of the most active recall patients at the school, she recently finished having a new set of partial dentures made under the supervision of Dr. Peter Kudyba ('60), clinical professor of Prosthodontics and Biomaterials.
"Loyal patients like Mrs. Murphy deserve recognition and thanks," says Dr. Kudyba. "So I talked to Dean Robert Saporito about having a little party to celebrate her 30 years at NJDS."
Last October, Dr. Saporito did just that. When she arrived for her recall appointment, Mrs. Murphy was surprised with a cake, balloons, a bevy of well wishers, and a "Certificate of Loyalty," which was presented by the dean.
"I want to thank all the doctors and students who took care of me and my son all these years," said Mrs. Murphy. "I have always appreciated their honesty and sincerity."
Greater New York Dental Meeting
Greater NY Dental Meeting
There has been a lot of activity at UMDNJ-New Jersey Dental School since I last addressed you in this column. The best way to handle all of this, I believe, is chronologically. The school graduated 68 students in May 1998, 51 of whom went on to graduate dental education residencies. Of that 51, more than 90% were matched to their first choice. Our current seniors hope to maintain the same level of success.
In August, the Class of 2002 began its tenure at NJDS. This entering class is the first in the school's history to have males as its minority component. Yes, this year's first-year class is composed of 41 females and 40 males.
September and October were very busy months as the school made the final preparations for the accreditation site visit of October 13-15. As the school was dressed up for the October visit (e.g., walls painted, floors tiled, furniture replaced, and signs posted), the students put forth their best efforts to impress the accreditation committee. On the visits to the clinics, all of the students, staff, and faculty worked seamlessly to maintain optimal infection control and treatment of the patients.
The final result was that the school
did not receive a single recommendation. The committee found
no major flaws in our documentation, curriculum, or clinical
work. This has been a great source of pride for everyone. It
will only enhance the school's reputation and the value of our
degrees. As Dr. Saporito said during his congratulatory address,
we have much to be proud of and much to still accomplish.
The computer station was most interesting
as Dr. Fotinos Panagakos ('92) displayed the school's new web
site, which was constructed under the direction of Dr. Cheryl
Biber ('78). This exciting new project allows anyone to find
out information about NJDS, from vital statistics to admissions
to continuing education courses. Please visit the site at www.umdnj.edu/njdsweb.
As you enter the site, you'll notice that there is a little Martian
who guides you through the "Best School in the Universe."
There is currently a contest to name this guide; fittingly, the
winner will receive a lap-top computer.
This is my last chance to address you as Student Government President. Let me take this opportunity to say what an honor it has been to work with the administration, faculty, and most especially my friends and colleagues in the student body, as we try to ensure that a degree from NJDS is respected and recognized wherever our paths take us.
Christopher J. Perry