2022 in Review

January 11, 2023
The third-year D.M.D.candidates, class of 2024, donned their white coats and entered the clinical years of their dental education.

Dear James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine and friends,

I am excited to launch into 2023, in part because 2022 has set us up for continued success in our mission to advance dental and oral health education, research and patient care.

As I reflect on 2022, I am pleased to share with you, in no particular order, 10 milestones from the James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine – a top 10 list I think even David Letterman would envy!

1. No increase in tuition and fees – For the fifth consecutive year since 2017.
2. Graduating the class of 2022 – A cohort perhaps uniquely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the D.M.D.-seeking and residents class of 2022 committed to their programs well before the world changed. Not only is this a group of excellent and eager new dentists and specialists, this class will forever carry life lessons in adaptability, compassion and integrity.
3. Prioritizing Oral Health Workforce and Education in the Rural Pediatric Dental Safety Net (POWER PEDS) – An unforeseen impact of the pandemic is the unaddressed oral health care needs of early childhood populations. Our Division of Population Oral Health was awarded a nearly $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, to strengthen and enhance the early childhood dental safety net in the most underserved communities of South Carolina and its safety net settings through innovative systems integration efforts. Our team is working with rural general dentists, among others, to improve their abilities to provide dental treatments to children aged 0 to 3 years and improve oral health literacy through community partnerships.
4. The addition of a new community-based care opportunity for our students as part of their clinical instruction – The Dental and Oral Health Center at the MUSC West Ashley Medical Pavilion gives students experience in an environment similar to that of a private practice.
5. Watching the class of 2024 don their white coats – Always a proud moment, for educators and students alike, as rising third-year students begin their clinical instruction.
6. Welcoming 10 new faculty members – MUSC is home to the nation’s best dental faculty. From our new assistant dean for innovation, to oral maxillofacial pathologists to clinical instructors and researchers, our we are growing in a time when the recruitment of dental faculty is becoming increasingly competitive.
7. South Carolina dentists supported a new mentoring program – The Mentoring is Navigating Together Strongly Project, piloted by Dr. Deirdre Williams, connects underrepresented minority (URM) pre-doctoral students at MUSC with practicing URM dentists across South Carolina. The program’s initial success has catalyzed increased collaboration on mentoring programs across MUSC’s six colleges.
8. Positive Exposure for our patients with special health care needs – A new portrait gallery in our main clinic brings visibility and representation to patients served in our Pamela Kaminsky Clinic for Adolescents and Adults with Special Health Care Needs, led by Dr. Michelle Ziegler.
9. Remembering Dr. Rocky Napier – The Dr. Rocky Napier Endowment for Children and Patients with Special Needs will help ensure that we are here to meet future patient needs, sustain aid to vulnerable populations seeking care at MUSC and provide an annual lectureship. At a reception at MUSC on Oct. 20, Dr. Napier was remembered as a colleague, alumni and friend who advocated passionately for pediatric dental care.
10. Kicking off the transition to a new electronic health record (EHR) – Epic is a leading EHR software, which we will work to implement over the next year. Informed by the American Dental Association’s resolutions promoting deeper integration of oral and systemic health, this advancement will positively impact clinical education and prepare our students and residents for what we believe will be the future of practice.

Each of these milestones – and I could name many more, including our progress on accreditation preparation and the delivery of a consultant panel’s report on the college’s structure and governance – are the result of collaboration and commitment to our mission. Our faculty and staff are outstanding. Our students and residents represent a bright future for oral health innovation. It is truly a privilege and I am humbled to work alongside each member of our valued CDM Family, changing what’s possible together. I am confident we can rise to any challenges the new year brings and continue climbing higher in national preeminence among dental institutions. I know we can do it. Here’s to a fantastic new year!


Dr. Sarandeep Huja, Dean, James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine
Medical University of South Carolina

Dr. Sarandeep Huja