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News from Schools

The University of California San Francisco (UCSF)

Alessandro Villa, DDS, PhD, MPH

The Oral Medicine Program at UCSF is home to six residents supported by GME funding. Summer is an exciting time for our oral medicine residency as we recently welcomed two new residents. Dr. Anette Vistoso Monreal is a dental graduate from Chile. Before joining UCSF, she completed a Master Program in Orofacial Pain and Oral Medicine at the University of Southern California. Dr. Chitra Emperumal earned her BDS from India and pursed further training in Orofacial Pain at the University of Southern California.  Drs. Monreal and Emperumal are looking forward to expanding their knowledge in oral medicine and exploring new research opportunities in the field of oral oncology.

Our second-year resident Dr. Abrar Baksh completed a one-year fellowship at the University of Maryland. She is working on a project on oral manifestations of inflammatory bowel disorders in pediatric patients. Dr. Morooj Aljish (PGY-2) obtained her dental degree at the Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University in Saudi Arabia and now exploring new therapeutic options for the treatments of oral leukoplakia. Dr. Abdulrahman Abdullatif is also a dental graduated from Saudi Arabia. Before joining the oral medicine team at UCSF, he earned his Master’s degree in 2016 from the University of Buffalo where he completed a thesis on MRONJ among oncology patients. Our chief resident, Dr. Zahra Alsafwani (PGY-3) joined us in 2019 after completing a one-year fellowship in medically compromised patients at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Alsafwani is currently conducting a research study on the use of telemedicine in oral medicine.

In addition to training the next generation of educators, scientists and oral medicine clinicians, our program seeks to foster interdisciplinary collaborations and combat health disparities.

From left to right: Drs. Vistoso, Baksh, Alsafwani, Emperumal, and Aljish (Dr. Abdullatif is not in the photo)

Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard School of Medicine

Advanced Graduate Education Program in Oral Medicine, Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Program Director: Piamkamon Vacharotayangul, DDS, PhD
Division Chief: Nathaniel Treister, DMD, DMSc

Outgoing/incoming residents:

In June 2021, we held a virtual graduation ceremony for our senior residents. Dr. Shaiba Sandhu, chief resident 2020-2021, has graduated and now joined the Orofacial Pain residency program at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Rossella Intini completed her training and returned to Europe. She will begin her PhD study at the University of Valencia, Spain. By July 2021, we have welcomed our new residents. Dr. Petros Yoon left his position as the Medical Director of the Salud Family Health Center in Aurora, Colorado to join our certificate program. Dr. Lama Alabdulaaly graduated with DMSc in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology at Harvard School of Dental Medicine and started her training in oral medicine with us. Lastly, Dr. Abdulrahman Nakshabandi, a native of Saudi Arabia, has joined us in the combined DMSc and certificate track. Welcome, all.

Virtual graduation ceremony
From left to right: Dr. Petros Yoon, DDS; Dr. Abdulrahman Nakshabandi, BDS; Dr. Lama Alabdulaaly, BDS, DMSc

Awards of any member of your Department/School:

The Oral Medicine group at BWH led by Dr. Piam Vacharotayangul, Dr. Brittany Klein (PGY-2) and Dr. Nathaniel Treister were awarded a significant fund through the United Against Racism initiative from the Mass General Brigham system. Aimed to address disparities in access to our oral medicine specialty from the underserved population, the fund will be used to systemically generate awareness of our practice to the general public and professional communities in Boston and its vicinities. By connecting to and establish a clinic in the local community health centers, the oral medicine group at BWH will be providing care to the people directly in the community and reducing the burden of commuting and waiting time to see our specialists. The team will foster trust by promoting a continuous commitment of the specialists within the underrepresented community, by providing education and outreach into the community on a regular basis, by demonstrating the outcomes that can be achieved, and by facilitating the referral to or access to specialized care clinics. The project will include operational components (education, screening algorithms, telehealth and possibly onsite specialty providers) and infrastructure components (print/screen/app resources, telehealth equipment, clinic space with allies such Brookside Community Health Center and Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center).

University of Washington School of Dentistry


Outgoing/incoming residents:

  • Outgoing graduate students: Dr. Fawaz Hatem graduated in June 2021. Dr. Gale Sebastian is scheduled to graduate in November 2021.
  • Incoming graduate students: Dr. Surbhi Chugh, Dr. Kevin Chung, and Dr. Jocelyn Vivas Castillo

Awards of any member of your Department/School:

  • Dr. Rania Abasaeed and Dr. Nick Sotak become Diplomates of the ABOM
  • Dr. Mark Drangsholt completed his term as immediate past president of the AAOM.
  • Dr. David Dean was appointed chair of the AAOM Program Director’s Committee

Brief scientific information about discoveries and breakthroughs related to oral medicine or other disciplines:

Dr. Trayvon Foy presented a virtual poster at UWSOD research day suggesting no correlation between length of the ossified portion of the stylohyoid ligament and head and neck symptoms consistent with Eagle’s syndrome (e.g., dizziness, ear pain) in a cohort of TMD and H/N pain patients. He was mentored to OM faculty Dr. Stuart Taylor.

Legislative/policy updates of the AAOM or of other:

From Dr. Kim Espinoza - For the field of special care dentistry, there is a resolution from ADA Council on Dental Education (CDEL) to the ADA Hose of Delegates, specifically Resolution 46, which urges SCDA (Special Care Dentistry Association) to "pursue an accreditation process and accreditation standards for advanced education in special needs dentistry by the Commission of Dental Accreditation.” On October 14, 2021, there will be a meeting with the Dental Education Reference Committee at the ADA Annual Session where ADA members can testify on this resolution. 

Case Western Reserve University, School of Dental Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio

Andres Pinto, DMD, MBA, MSCE

Chair and Professor, Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, School of Dental Medicine

Upcoming events:

  • Our faculty are actively participating in the Interdisciplinary courses at the University level, including more than 600 students across diverse knowledge areas.
  • Our faculty serves on several leadership positions at our institution and at local, national, and international societies.

Outgoing/incoming residents:

We currently have two oral medicine fellows starting July 2021 and one continuing MscD student. One MScD student successfully defended his research in July, and we graduated two OM fellows in December 2020.

Awards of any member of your Department/School:

Our department encompasses all diagnostic disciplines. Our oral and maxillofacial radiologist was inducted in the State of Ohio Radiology Safety Committee. Our oral and maxillofacial pathology faculty was awarded this fall seed grant funding to enhance his current genetic research.  Dr. Milda Chmieliauskaite received continued FLRP federal support. She is engaged in several inter-institutional research projects.  Dr. Pinto was named interim infection control officer for the Health Education Campus.

Personal contributions on topics related to our discipline:

Dr. Pinto was a guest speaker at the EAOM meeting in late September, 2021. He discussed opportunities for international OM collaboration in a panel with leaders of all OM global societies. He will also co-present a seminar on Practice Models of OM for the AAOM together with Dr. Michael Brennan on October 5, 2021 and gave invited talks to several international groups over the summer, including the Saudi Society of Oral Medicine. He will be a featured speaker for the International College of Dentists in December.

Profile of your Department/School:

Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine

Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences

Education: Fourteen DMD courses, six graduate core courses

Training:     Internship in OM, MScD in OM, fellowship in OM

                    Internship in OMFR, MScD in OMFR

                    School lead for VR / Hololense anatomy teaching

Working on proposal to become a Center of Excellence in Orofacial Pain

West Virginia University School of Dentistry

More than 150 oral cancer screenings provided by dental school and WVU Dental clinics: event designed to promote oral cancer awareness and discuss risk factors.

Information submitted by Elizabeth Southern Puette, MSDH, CTTS

Organizers and providers at an oral cancer screening and awareness event at West Virginia University  were eager to host an outreach project they believe could be lifesaving.

“Oral cancer that is diagnosed early has better outcomes in terms of treatment, quality of life and life expectancy,” said Dr. Juan Bugueno, oral medicine expert and assistant professor at WVU School of Dentistry.

As part of its mission to provide comprehensive oral healthcare and support overall patient wellness, the dental school, supported by the Academy of General Dentistry Foundation (AGDF), hosted “Catch It Early”, a free oral cancer screening and awareness initiative September 25, 2021.

Adults 18 and older were invited to the downtown campus and WVU campus recreation for oral cavity screenings where dental and dental hygiene students checked for irregularities on all sides of the tongue and underneath. By feeling the tissues in the mouth and neck, the future providers tried to detect lumps or abnormalities. In five hours, 175 people received screenings.

Patient Education

The outreach event afforded dental school students the opportunity to share tobacco and nicotine cessation strategies, information about human papilloma virus and its connection to oropharyngeal oral cancer and suggestions on when patients should see a dentist, especially to detect lesions early.

 “While oropharyngeal cancer can be most prevalent in middle aged men and women, a younger population of men and women is not exempt from developing oral or oropharyngeal cancer,” said Elizabeth Southern Puette, assistant professor in the dental school’s department of dental hygiene.

Patients were educated to look for symptoms like sores, lumps or even difficulty chewing.

Oral cancer is the appearance of lesions in any part of the mouth that need immediate attention and appropriate care. First, we want patients to avoid the development of oral cancer. Secondly, we want patients to be aware of suspicious lesions in the mouth,” Bugueno said.

Volunteers also provided information about WVU Dental resources and clinical services that include but are not limited to teledentistry and specialty services such as a biopsy service, oral medicine clinic, oral and maxillofacial radiology, forensic dentistry and other oral diagnostic specialty services. 

Following Up

Thanks to support from WV Mountains of Hope Cancer Coalition, participants received a self-oral cancer screening kit: a plastic mouth mirror, a flashlight, and self-oral screening instructions.  Participants were taught how to conduct their own two-minutes self-screening at home and were encouraged to do so once a month in front of the bathroom mirror, right after they brushed their teeth. 

Packets also contained literature about oral cancer, early diagnosis and tips to reduce risk factors.

Providers discussed personalized tobacco cessation information with patients, distributed 18 Nicorette samples and made referrals to the WV Tobacco Quitline.

Of the 175 participants at the screening, 72 were recommended for dental hygiene services resulting in five appointments for dental prophylaxis appointments two days after the event.

Another 28 participants were recommended for “further evaluation and treatment by a dentist”, and two patients were referred to the WVU Dental Diagnostic Sciences department for further review of a suspicious lesion.

Continuing Education for Providers

In addition to patient screenings, the dental school and WV Oral Health Program hosted a free continuing education webinar open to professionals in fields including dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and respiratory therapy.

Continuing education presenters encouraged the use of evidence-based strategies in tobacco cessation counseling. Health professionals learned the importance of implementing routine screening strategies to identify oral cancer lesions early and next steps; including an overview of risk factors, referrals, biopsy services, and adjunctive aids to help identify suspicious lesions. Other objectives of the course included:

  • Educate oral health professionals on the importance of teaching patients how to reduce their risk factors and how to complete oral cancer self-exams between visits 
  • Provide updates on the incidence of oral cancer and resources available in WV to improve access to care for patients with suspicious lesions
  • Provide updated recommendations for screenings, vaccinations, and referral procedures from sources such as ADA, Academy of General Dentistry, American Cancer Society, and West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources
Suann Gaydos, director of the dental school’s Certified Tobacco Treatment Training Program and dental hygiene professor, provided updates regarding the United States and West Virginia oral and orophyarngeal cancer burden report and shared oral cancer screening tips.  She explained the American Dental Association (ADA)Resolution 65H-2019, which promotes early detection and prevention of oral cancer to include oropharyngeal cancer and cover all patients, not just those previously thought to be at an increased risk due to a history or habit of tobacco and alcohol use.
Dr. Susan Morgan, founder of the WVU School of Dentistry CTTTP director, former director and dental school professor, detailed oral cancer risk factors such as cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, cigars, alcohol and E-cigarettes. She also reviewed prescribing methods and made recommendations for seven FDA approved tobacco cessation pharmacotherapy agents.
Dr. Bugueno reviewed oral examination techniques and provided examples of cases, including some his own, of premalignant and malignant oral mucosal lesions, intra and extra oral exam techniques, a review of HPV association in both oral and oropharyngeal lesions, and the importance of documenting patient symptoms such as dysguesia and other oropharyngeal cancer related symptoms. Adjunctive screening aids were discussed as well as when to refer for further evaluation and or a biopsy.

Elizabeth Southern Puette, dental hygiene professor, provided a history of FDA approvals related to the HPV vaccine spanning from 2006 to the most current June 2020 FDA approval of Gardisil 9 for the prevention of “oropharyngeal and other head and neck cancers caused by Human Papillomavirus (HPV) types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58”. She provided resources to aid in talking to patients about the HPV vaccine and shared the American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s stance of recommending and advocating for the HPV vaccination as cancer prevention.


Thank you to the s8tudent volunteers and patients who participated in the Oral Cancer: Catch It Early event. Faculty volunteers included specialist ranging from oral medicine, to pathology, to smoking cessation, to oral cancer related dental care.  Additional faculty volunteers included Dr. Fotinos Panagakos, associate dean for research, Dr. Brian Whitaker, interim chair of the department of diagnostic sciences, and assistant professor Dr. Hiba Qari. Dental hygiene students served as site managers.

Supporters of Oral Cancer: “Catch It Early” included:

Precautions during COVID

Prior to any screenings, student volunteers were responsible for COVID pre-screenings. All volunteers passed a COVID screening upon arrival to the oral cancer screening sites that included questions about history, current symptoms and a temperature check.  Participants were required to pass the COVID screening, as noted in promo and advertising leading up to the event.  Distancing and masking protocols were in place.  Hydrogen peroxide pre-rinses were used as an additional precaution.