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Dental Training Group hosts 49th annual graduation

  • Published
  • By Cyndy Karras
  • 59th Medical Wing Public Affairs
The 59th Dental Training Group, Wilford Hall Medical Center, graduated 28 specialty-trained dental officers in a ceremony here June 21. 

Twenty-six residents received their specialty certificates from six residency programs in advanced general dentistry, endodontics, tri-service orthodontics, periodontics, prothodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery. Two fellows graduated from each of the two fellowships offered in maxillofacial surgery and hospital dentistry.

"Our Dental Training Squadron is the largest dental squadron in the Air Force. The 238 staff officers, residents, enlisted technicians and civilians support the Air Force mission by ensuring worldwide dental readiness and conducting the highest quality in advanced training," said Col. David F. Murchison, 59th Dental Training Squadron commander.  "This squadron has accomplished both of these missions very well through a lot of hard work and dedicated effort and I'm very proud of them all. Our specialty graduates are ready to serve their patients with outstanding clinical skill sets and the most advanced and current techniques."

In addition to the patient care and hands-on training the post-graduate students perform, residents and fellows conduct research and present papers and lectures to various professional societies and annual meetings.

Five graduates were recognized by a variety of regional and national organizations for their scholarship and research.

Maj. Brendan Farrell won a Research Category award from the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Research. In two national research competitions, Capt. Jim Piper received the top award from the American Prosthodontics Society and Capt. Scott Gruwell was recognized as the John F. Prichard Graduate Research Competition winner.

The University of Texas Health Science Center Dental Science Symposium award went to Capt. Andy Dreyer and, according to Colonel Murchison, Lt. Col. Danny Wong has been named the first United States Air Force finalist for The Ohio State Volpe Research Competition.

Four staff members were recognized for their academic teaching achievement.  Wilford Hall's 2007 Gold Headed Cane Award finalist was Col. David B. Powers. The 2007 American Academy of Periodontology award for outstanding teaching and mentoring went to Col. Sharon R. Bannister.

The Wilford Hall Outstanding New Dental Educator Award and Air Education and Training Command Junior Dental Educator of the Year award went to Lt. Col. Donald W. Sheets, Jr. The Wilford Hall Outstanding Senior Dental Educator Award went to Col. Drew W. Fallis. 

Brig. Gen. Gar S. Graham, Dental Services and Dental Corps Chiefs assistant surgeon general, presided over the ceremony and presented the certificates to the graduates as well as faculty awards.

The dental training programs have graduated 1,041 specialty trained dental officers since the first graduate-level, residency training programs began in 1956. The 59th Dental Training Squadron is also home to the only tri-service orthodontic residency program in the Department of Defense that includes Navy, Army and Air Force staff and residents.
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