I am proud to present the 2022 edition of Salute magazine. While 2022 will likely be remembered as one of the warmest years on record in San Antonio, it has also proven to be another “hot” year for the School of Dentistry. The Class of 2022 is evidence of our commitment to excellence. The dental hygiene and doctoral programs earned a 100% pass rate on their Western Regional Examining Board assessment — the second year in a row both programs met this impressive achievement. Board certification of our advanced-education students is at an all-time high. The UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry has remained the No. 1 dental school in Texas, according to the ShanghaiRanking, an evaluation of over 300 dental schools internationally in the category of Dentistry and Oral Sciences. We’ve also enjoyed record-high research and service grant funding this year. All this demonstrates that our students, faculty members and administrators are as motivated as ever to broaden their aspirations and elevate the school to the next level.
While all of this is certainly positive, we must do even more to better serve our communities, advance our educational programs, expand our patient care and reduce the burden of oral disease through research and innovation. Together with the entire university, we have set new goals and now have an exciting and growth-focused institutional strategic plan that will guide us over the next five years.
And we have already started by developing new programs for underserved San Antonio and South Texas communities:
- The new Hunke Special Care Clinic is scheduled for completion in 2024 within our Center for Oral Health Care and Research. Through this clinic, we will be able to offer compassionate and expert care to children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities in a safe and comfortable setting. Equally important, our students will gain experience in caring for and accommodating an often-excluded population.
- Our dental hygiene program is expanding into Laredo, enrolling students and hiring faculty and staff from the region. Two new buildings are being constructed at the UT Education and Research Center at Laredo to house the new program. Facilities include wet and clinical simulation laboratories, a radiology lab, classrooms and student study spaces.
- Our DDS classes are also expanding and we are creating new opportunities for fellowships and advanced education/graduate programs at our school.
In addition, while our school has been a leader in oral health outreach for years, we have learned that working in unison with our fellow health professionals of all disciplines makes the most sustainable impact. We also know that understanding the specific needs of the communities we serve makes our work more effective. Thus, we are looking forward to collaborations with the brand-new University of Texas School of Public Health San Antonio that will provide us the advantage of accessing vulnerable communities we have yet to serve.
Friends, there is so much to be excited about in the coming years, and so much to be proud of in the UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry. I hope you will join me in celebrating all of our successes and in supporting these worthy endeavors.
Peter M. Loomer, BSc, DDS, PhD, MRCD(C), FACD
Professor and Dean
School of Dentistry
UT Health San Antonio