Dear Alumni and Friends,
The James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine is celebrating its 50th anniversary of the matriculation of our first dental class. The golden anniversary traditionally marks a half-century of togetherness, commitment and strength and this is certainly true for our College. Indeed, this is a special time- a time for reflection and a time to imagine the future. Our anniversary celebration and our accreditation review both occur in 2017- a monumental year by all accounts. We are ready for both. Under the stewardship of Dr. Tariq Javed ’83, professor and associate dean for academic and student affairs, the accreditation self-study process is fully underway and an enhanced curriculum review is ongoing. I am encouraged by the process and the progress of the team. I consider it my good fortune to have the opportunity to serve as your interim dean during so significant a time in our College’s history. Our core values of respect, collaboration, innovation, compassion and integrity underwrite our future successes.
As many of you know, I began my relationship with the College of Dental Medicine serving as a volunteer professor in the Department of Stomatology in 2014. I was new to South Carolina and to MUSC as the vast majority of my academic career was spent at Baylor College of Dentistry and the Baylor University Graduate School. During my tenure at Baylor, I served as an academic administrator, educator, extramurally-funded researcher and clinician. My primary fields of academic and clinical interest are periodontics, oral medicine and anatomy. My passion has always been academic dentistry and community leadership. Community leadership rather naturally evolved into advanced leadership roles including president of the Dallas County Dental Society, president of the Texas Dental Association, vice president of the American Dental Association, president of the American College of Dentists, commissioner with the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), consultant for the American College of Dentists Foundation Board, a member of the ADA Presidential Taskforce on the Commission on Dental Accreditation, and a member of the editorial board of The Journal of the American Dental Association and the Journal of the Texas Dental Association.
Informed by these leadership opportunities, it is my expressed wish to lead the College of Dental Medicine from its laudable past to its limitless future as we comprehensively educate successive generations of clinician-scholars to serve the citizens of the South Carolina and beyond. There is so much to celebrate- a state of the art Clinical Building, a renovated Basic Sciences Building, a world class research department and recruitment of the most accomplished undergraduate and graduate student cohorts in our college’s distinguished history. Our newly hired Chief Financial Officer, Ms. Monica Gardner, brings with her more than twenty years’ worth of financial discipline and fiduciary responsibility in the areas of academic, clinical and research affairs on the MUSC campus. We welcome her to the College of Dental Medicine family.
Opportunities abound at the College of Dental Medicine and our future burns bright with possibility. Philosophically and operationally, quality education and patient care will always be the top priorities of the dental school program. For more than 50 years, the College of Dental Medicine’s reputation has garnered and commanded respect in every aspect of our profession and I am proud to report that we continue to be highly sought after by students seeking to receive their dental training through MUSC.
I look forward to meeting many of you in person and welcome your ideas, thoughts and opinions as we continue to take the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine to the next level of excellence.
Patricia L. Blanton, D.D.S., Ph.D.
Interim Dean, James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine
Professor emeritus, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Baylor College of Dentistry
Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them. Albert Einstein