Class of 2017 Embraces the Future of Dental Medicine

This May, 80 students completed the College of Dental Medicine’s final rites of passage and left campus as newly-minted doctors of dental surgery. This fresh crop of graduates will embark on their careers at a unique moment when dentistry is rapidly evolving. With skills refined by an education closely aligned with the medical profession, which Dean Christian Stohler, DDS, DrMedDent, noted is one of the school’s defining features today, these new dentists have made their mark at CDM, both within and outside of the classroom. 

The Class of 2017 includes veterans, entrepreneurs, talented educators, community volunteers, public health researchers, and a chorus of passionate and articulate voices.

Their education under the instruction of both dental and medical faculty, among others, has prepared them to be competent clinicians as well as innovative scholars who will help shape the future of oral health care. “As you transition to the next phase of your career, I urge you to continue the tradition of service work that you started here and to become an advocate for your profession as well as your patients,” said graduation speaker Ross A. Frommer, vice president of government and community affairs and associate dean at Columbia University Medical Center, whose father Herbert Frommer graduated from CDM in 1957.

These graduates have offered treatment to underserved populations both locally and abroad, won accolades for original research, experimented with new technologies, offered critical support as the school underwent accreditation, and even helped the administration make changes to preclinical training. They did all of this while successfully completing particularly stringent licensing exams and juggling major life events from getting married to having children.

They also endured an especially competitive application year for residencies. The entire graduating class matched in postdoctoral programs, with 26 students in General Practice residences; 18 in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery; 12 in Advanced Education in General Dentistry (7 of those 12 in Uniformed Services); 8 in Pediatric Dentistry; 4 in Prosthodontics; 4 in Endodontics; 1 in Periodontics; and 1 in Private Practice.

Though their career paths vary, all of them will face new challenges and opportunities as dental medicine is transformed by new technologies and new health care delivery models. Many say they will draw on the strong bonds they made at Columbia as they embark on their next steps, helping to carve out the future of dentistry.