Celebrating the Past, Embracing the Future

May 13, 2010

Dr. Tom Boran

It is truly an honour to have this issue of JCDA dedicated to the faculty of dentistry at Dalhousie University. Having been involved in dentistry for more than 30 years—as an oral health care practitioner, academic and now dean of the faculty—I have witnessed the profession undergo tremendous change. I believe that at Dalhousie, we will continue to be a leader in the areas of educational innovation, excellence in research and scholarly enterprise. We will look to expand our influence and increase our practical learning experiences so that vulnerable populations may be better served at the provincial, national and international levels.

Dalhousie has earned an outstanding reputation in clinical dental and dental hygiene education, producing graduates that are well prepared for residency programs, private practice or postgraduate studies. I believe this success can be attributed in part to the faculty’s philosophy, which is based on a quote made famous by Robert F. Kennedy: “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not.”

With such an extraordinary outlook and a mission to promote health in a caring and compassionate manner through oral health-based education, research and service, anything is possible!

My fellow Dalhousie colleagues have contributed special features and clinical articles for this edition of JCDA that reflect some of our faculty’s accomplishments and demonstrate our ability to embrace change and innovation. Indeed, each time I attend a convention of the American Dental Education Association, I am humbled by the respect accorded our institution. Colleagues across Canada and the United States are continually impressed by our wealth of experience in diverse facets of dental education, from admissions to curriculum to clinical teaching.

Examples of such innovations begin with our laptop curriculum. This computer-based program has been fully incorporated into the curriculum and is not only an efficient teaching tool, but also a useful patient management tool. Our oral health research covers such diverse areas as tissue regeneration, oral pathogens, new treatment modalities and seniors’ oral health. On the latter topic, we continue to develop new partnerships and expand our communities of practice, further demonstrating our commitment to the oral health of seniors.

Many of our clinical and educational innovations would not be possible without the generous financial contributions of our dedicated alumni. We are very thankful for their support and will continue to count on their help with future projects.

At Dalhousie we have over 30 full-time and 100 part-time faculty members who embrace our philosophy of emphasizing education, service and research. We graduate over 40 dentists and 40 dental hygienists each year, and we’ve recently introduced a Bachelor of Dental Hygiene degree program that is now producing its first graduates.

With all that is happening at Dalhousie, I can honestly say that my role as dean is never boring or mundane; each new day offers variety and excitement. To that end, we are in the process of marking the faculty of dentistry’s 100th anniversary with a major celebration from May 23 to 26, 2012. I think our faculty logo sums up this occasion nicely:

I hope that you enjoy this special edition of JCDA and I invite you to learn more about our faculty by visiting www.dentistry.dal.ca.

Dr. Boran
is dean of the faculty of dentistry at Dalhousie University.