Employee Recognition: A Joy to Behold
Dental School Celebrates 40 Years of Special Employee’s Dedication
By Catherine Duncan
In the last 40 years, much has changed in the dental profession. Technology has drastically altered patient record keeping, dental imaging and research capabilities.
But amid all the advancement and resulting adjustments, there has been one joyful constant in the School of Dentistry at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio. Her name is Cynthia Giles, and if you listen for her infectious laugh, you can easily find her in the student clinic.
For more than 40 years, Giles, registered dental assistant, has worked with dental students from their first year through their fourth year. She assists the students with mastering all kinds of dental procedures, and also is there for them as they perform procedures for class tests and for licensing exams.
Mark LittleStar, D.D.S., assistant dean for predoctoral clinics, said everyone who has come through the School of Dentistry “knows Cindy and how she has touched each of their lives.
“She is such a bright spot. Cindy is the epitome of someone who cares about people, and everyone recognizes it,” he said. “She is just delightful. We are very fortunate that she is part of the School of Dentistry family.
”That is how Giles describes those who she has worked with in the dental school.
“We are one big family. We are best friends,” she said. “They are all wonderful to work with. We help each other. And, there is never a dull moment here.”
Beatrice Pena, UT Dentistry San Antonio clinic manager, calls Giles a “jewel” who strictly comes to the clinic to work and to focus on the students.
“She is an excellent dental assistant. If we could clone her, we would,” Pena said. “A patient came in recently who had been here 20 years ago. When he heard Cynthia’s laugh, he couldn’t believe she was still working here. He insisted that he was moved to her group so he could be seen by her.”
Gary Guest, D.D.S., associate dean for patient care, said even though Giles has worked at the dental school for more than four decades, she still maintains the same level of enthusiasm as the year she started.
“She works so well with students and is always so positive. She is a true team player,” Dr. Guest said.
Kevin Gureckis, D.M.D., general practice group leader for third- and fourth-year students, calls Giles an advocate for successful dentistry for the patients and the students.
“With a smile and a laugh, she puts the students to ease. She gives them confidence and that transfers on to the patients,” he said. “After more than 40 years, you can count on her 120 percent each day.”
When asked how she maintains her positive, infectious attitude, Giles attributes it to her family. “We were taught to respect everyone and always have a good attitude. I treat everyone at work like I treat my family,” she added.