School News

Keith A. Mays, DDS, MS, PhD

Keith A. Mays, PhD, DDS, MS, was appointed interim dean of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry, effective May 15, for an expected two-year term.

Dental hygiene student Kabrie Weber (center back) and dental therapy student Phonsuda Chanthavisouk (far right) make rounds at U of M Medical Center with their medical and pharmacy counterparts. Cyndee Stull (far left) coordinates the program.

Our dental hygiene and dental therapy students are now embedded in hospital rounding teams as part of an initiative to create a more integrated approach to in-patient care. 

Funded by a BOLD Ideas grant from the Office of Academic and Clinical Affairs, the initiative brings together students and faculty from medicine and oral health to assess and treat hospital patients more holistically and learn from one another. 

Dr. Richard Dryer

Dr. Richard Dryer was on a predictable path. After completing his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the University of Michigan and a general dentistry residency in Dayton, Ohio, he settled into a general dentistry practice in Chicago.

But after two years he and his wife, Dr. Rekha Dryer, wanted a change. They applied to the Indian Health Service and accepted positions as dentists at a clinic on the remote Zuni Indian Reservation in northwestern New Mexico.

Dr. Donald Nixdorf

Last year, more than 2,000 new patients turned to the School of Dentistry’s TMD, Orofacial Pain, and Dental Sleep Medicine Clinic for answers to undiagnosed conditions and relief from life altering pain.

Victoria Gokee

When Victoria Gokee completes her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the University of Minnesota in two years, she is headed home to the southern shores of Lake Superior where she grew up surrounded by a large extended family and fellow members of the Red Cliff Tribe of Ojibwe.

Stephen Shuman, DDS, MS

An interprofessional team at the University of Minnesota has received a five-year, $3.74 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration to improve the healthcare and health of Minnesota’s older adults through education and community partnerships. Collaborators include the Medical School, School of Dentistry, the Community University Health Care Center, the University of Minnesota Schools of Nursing, Public Health and Physical Therapy, the College of Pharmacy, and Fairview Health Services.

Richard L. Oliver, DDS

Dean-Emeritus Richard Oliver (D.D.S.), Rio Verde, Arizona, died on September 23, 2019. He was 89 years old.

Dr. Richard Oliver was the School of Dentistry’s eighth permanent dean and the fifth University of Minnesota graduate to hold the position.

His tenure as dean was marked by visionary leadership, dynamic professional participation, a strong emphasis on the student experience, astute financial management, and a robust expansion of the dental school’s program offerings that positioned the school to better meet the new and emerging needs of the profession.

Connor Peck, DDS

While some dentists may choose to avoid a career treating patients with chronic pain, Connor Peck, DDS, recognizes the potential rewards of giving hope and relief to those who suffer.

As a second-year resident in the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry’s orofacial pain and temporomandibular joint disorder master’s program, he is gaining vast experience diagnosing and treating the most perplexing patients and is delighted with his choice.

UMN PASS students

This month, dental professionals from India, Syria, Peru, Iran, Vietnam, Russia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, China and Mexico joined the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry’s Program for Advanced Standing Students (UMN PASS). Every January, the 2.5-year UMN PASS program enrolls 15 graduates from dental schools outside of the United States who seek to practice dentistry in the U.S.

Jenny Enich

With just 39 students in her high school graduating class, Jennifer Enich could play any varsity sport she wanted, beginning in eighth grade. There were no try-outs and everyone was encouraged to participate.

“The opportunities and the encouragement were huge,” said Enich, who grew up in Side Lake, Minnesota, and attended Chisholm High School. “I am who I am today because of the people in my small community.”

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