Alfred Owre's legacy continues with relative's visit from Norway

Fridjtov Owre

Above (from left): Division of Dental Therapy Director Karl Self, Fridjtov Owre with his wife and son, and Division of Dental Hygiene Director Christine Blue at the University of Minnesota Dental Clinics.

The University of School of Dentistry’s past, present and future came together on June 26 as Moos Tower hosted a special visitor from Halden, Norway.

Inspired by a recent article in Dentistry Magazine about Dr. Alfred Owre, School of Dentistry dean (1905-27), as well as a video about the School’s facilities, Fridjtov Owre, a great-great-great nephew of the influential dean, paid Moos Tower a special visit.

Fridjtov, along with his wife and son, toured the Minnesota Dental Research Center for Biomaterials and Biomechanics [LINK] to see the latest in biomaterials research as well as the 9th floor dental clinics and the Advanced Simulation Clinic, which was of particular interest.

“I have worked with simulators – in particular with nuclear reactors simulators and oil field simulators during my time at the Institute for Energy Technology (an international research foundation based in Norway),” Fridtov Owre said prior to his visit. “In our experimental work at IFE, we use the simulators to investigate how nuclear operators react in very difficult situations and test whether various new technologies can help them in making good decisions. Therefore I would be very interested to visit your simulator lab and see how it (is) used in training young dentists.”

Alfred Owre was one of Minnesota's, as well as the nation's, most influential and innovative dentists and educators at the time. He was an early advocate in support of a science-based education, team-based care, and social responsibility, as well as an early adopter of a holistic approach to health and wellness. He advocated for dentistry to be taught and practiced as a branch of medicine rather than a separate discipline, started the second dental-school based education program for dental hygienists in the country, and furthered the idea that dentistry should be part of a well-rounded education benefiting all of society.

The school's current focus on evidence-based dentistry, team-based care, community outreach, and interprofessional education, as well as its diversified research program -- with research strengths in bone biology and craniofacial development; biomaterials and biomechanics; oral health disparities and community health; virology and microbiology; oral inflammation and cancer; and pain and the neurosciences -- are part of Dr. Alfred Owre's legacy.