College of Dental Medicine and Department of Dental Hygiene well-represented at Yankee Dental Congress
The University of New England's College of Dental Medicine (CDM) and Department of Dental Hygiene were well-represented at the annual meeting of the Yankee Dental Congress, held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center from Jan. 26 to 28.
The Yankee Dental Congress is New England’s largest meeting for dental professionals, featuring over 250 lectures and hands-on courses for dental professionals seeking cutting-edge continuing education. This year’s theme was “Imagine the Possibilities.”
Throughout the three-day conference, UNE’s alumni lounge on the exhibit floor was buzzing with visitors. Professional staff members mingled with alumni and friends of UNE, shared information about programs offered at UNE with potential students, and highlighted the University’s mission for visitors interested in learning more about dental medicine at UNE.
“It was great to be back on the exhibit floor in person this year to catch up with alumni and friends and interact with meeting attendees who wanted to learn more about our wonderful dental and dental hygiene programs,” reflected Nicole Kimmes, D.D.S., dean of the College of Dental Medicine.
On Friday, Jan. 27, several CDM and Westbrook College of Health Professions (WCHP) alumni attended a reception along with current faculty, professional staff, students from both colleges, and friends of the University — 68 attendees in all.
During the event, Kimmes and Mary Aube, RDH, M.S.Ed., associate clinical professor of dental hygiene within the Westbrook College of Health Professions, shared updates about their respective colleges and recent collaborations between disciplines.
These updates included the recent renovation of the Oral Health Center, CDM class-size expansion, collaborative experiences between the Department of Dental Hygiene and CDM, statistics for first-year students, performance on licensure examinations, and a collaboration with the Forsyth Institute, among other details.
On Saturday, Jan. 28, the American College of Dentists (ACD) New England Section recognized 2022 inductees, including UNE’s own Albert Abena, D.D.S., J.D., assistant dean of community partnerships within the College of Dental Medicine. Abena was inducted as a fellow based on his exceptional contributions to organized dentistry, oral health care, dental research, dental education, the profession, and society.
That same day, two CDM Class of 2023 students were also awarded for their academic excellence during the conference.
Vasseur “Doria” Kamseu Noukeu was presented with the ACD Outstanding Student Leadership Award. Awarded by the ACD New England Section to one dental student from each of the five New England dental schools, the award is given to a fourth-year dental student selected by the faculty who represents ACD’s principles of high achievement, strong leadership, and high ethical standards.
Sophia Hall was honored with the Eastern Dentists Insurance Company (EDIC) James B. Hanley, D.D.S., Legacy Scholarship, which honors Hanley’s legacy, his dedication to the EDIC Board, and his work with young dentists throughout his career and as the first dean of UNE College of Dental Medicine.
The award is given to a graduating UNE dental student selected by the faculty who has exemplified outstanding leadership and possesses the motivation to improve student involvement in the dental community, as well as supporting the dental profession in the state of Maine.
Also on Saturday, student trustee Joshua Golden (D.M.D., ’23) and CDM student Leanne McDowell (D.M.D., ’24) took home the first-place trophy at the 14th annual American Student Dental Association (ASDA) District 1 debate, cheered on by a number of their peers.
UNE’s team bested competitors from the Harvard University School of Dental Medicine, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, a pre-dental team, the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, and reigning champions from the Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine.
The teams faced off across multiple rounds, arguing correct policy and ethical issues confronting students and practitioners alike. The first topic of debate was “Should amalgam be phased out of dental school training?" Next, the teams debated “Should more dental schools integrate students into a medical school curriculum?” while the third round asked, "Should the U.S. implement mid-level providers to address dental shortage areas?” The two teams that advanced to the final round debated the topic of a need for additional specialties in dentistry.
“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous at first, co-leading our school with Leanne in the ASDA student debate in front of the president of the American Dental Association,” remarked Golden, president of the CDM Class of 2023. “However, when I looked to the crowd and saw an entire section of our UNE family cheering us on, both Leanne and I knew we had the support to represent our school. Talent allows one to win a game.
“At UNE, we are taught to have teamwork and intelligence, which is what wins championships,” Golden continued. “I hope that all students in the future see they are just as capable of big things and hope to see them set even stronger records.”
Kimmes said the debate is her favorite event of the Yankee Dental Congress and remarked that the energy showed to the competitors by their peers was “contagious.”
“All of the debate teams did an outstanding job defending their positions on the complex issues faced by our profession, but, in the end, Josh and Leanne’s keen critical thinking skills earned them the coveted trophy, which we will proudly display in Maine,” she said.