A message from the dean

I want to extend my gratitude to all of you – wherever you may be  for doing your part to help flatten the curve while we as a nation fight the COVID-19 pandemic. I am proud of our dental community for stepping up to meet emergency dental needs, our faculty and staff for adjusting to our new work environments, and our amazing students for volunteering to assist the health-care system while transitioning to new modes of instruction.

Since mid-March, the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry progressively tapered down its operations in accordance with provincial and national COVID-19 directives. As a result of the physical distancing requirements, the majority of our operations and teaching moved to a remote delivery format. We moved our didactic courses on-line and Dr. Dieter Schonwetter, director of student affairs and academic services, has been instrumental in helping us transition our curriculum.  Staff and administrators also mobilized very quickly by moving our operations on-line and facilitating working from home. 

On the patient care side, our third- and fourth-year dentistry and dental hygiene students, residents, support staff and faculty worked very hard before the closure of our clinics to address emergency patient needs and complete as many treatments as possible.

Following the recommendation of the Manitoba Dental Association, we ceased providing elective treatment to our patients and transitioned to management of emergencies with pharmacotherapy. Under the leadership of Dr. Trenna Reeve, associate dean, clinics, new algorithms for patient screening and triaging were created and implemented.

With the increasing information about the danger of COVID-19 viral transmission in the dental setting, we reached out to Shared Health and the Manitoba Dental Association and were able to organize and launch a dental emergency clinic out of the Health Sciences Center. Shared Health is lending its expertise, equipment and facilities to assist us in this endeavour. This clinic is accepting referrals not only from the dental college and its associated community clinics; but also from the Manitoba dental community. Teams of volunteers and faculty are providing emergency service in oral and maxillofacial surgery, endodontics and pediatric dentistry.

We have also connected with our Rady Faculty of Health Sciences’ colleagues in medicine, pharmacy, nursing and rehabilitation sciences to see how we can best support our health-care system. Dr. John Perry, associate dean, academic, has been disseminating volunteer opportunities and our dental and dental hygiene students and faculty have taken up the chance to serve. At last count, more than 50 percent of our student body has volunteered within the health-care system to provide much needed health-related service to the community at large.

This spirit of collaboration amongst us has truly been inspirational! And I know these same kinds of efforts are occurring among our “family” of University of Manitoba alumni spread out across Canada and beyond. Although we know that times ahead will be challenging for all of us, we will be able to face these challenges together. I am humbled by the generosity, ingenuity and determination of all around me, and I am grateful to be part of such a caring community.

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Anastasia Kelekis-Cholakis

Dean, Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry

COVID-19 updates

Visit the University of Manitoba’s COVID-19 webpage for the latest updates from President David Barnard and senior administrators.

For the latest updates from Dr. Brian Postl, dean, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, and senior administrators, visit the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences COVID-19 page

Team steps up to treat dental emergencies

Professors and instructors from the college are treating patients for dental emergencies at Health Sciences Centre under a pandemic plan that went into effect.

A UM clinic at the hospital is accepting emergency referrals from all Manitoba dentists. The clinic is not a physical location, but an arrangement whereby the university team has access to two operating rooms, one for adults and one for children.

Read the full story here

Researcher develops tool to assess children’s tooth decay

Dr. Bob Schroth, professor, department of preventive dental science, has developed Canada’s first screening tool designed for non-oral health professionals to assess the risk of tooth decay in children under six.

The Canadian Caries Risk Assessment Tool was developed for doctors, daycare workers, dieticians and social workers to help identify whether a child under six years old is at risk of tooth decay. 

Read the full story here

Students volunteer

First-year dental student Rita Wang was interviewed by CBC Manitoba and UM Today for stories about the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences students volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 70 dentistry and dental hygiene students have stepped up to help out.

Read the CBC story here and the UM Today story here

Alumni Reception 

Dr. Anastasia Kelekis-Cholakis, dean, Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry, attended the 2020 Pacific Dental Conference in Vancouver and welcomed approximately 150 alumni to the college's annual Alumni Reception. The event took place March 5, 2020 at the Pan Pacific Hotel.

Dr. Anastasia Kelekis-Cholakis (left) and Dr. Pat Kmet, Class of 1987. 

(Left to right) Ondina Love, CEO, Canadian Dental Hygienists Association, Mary Bertone, director of the School of Dental Hygiene, and Vera Husarewycz, dental hygiene Class of 1993. 

New role for longtime dentistry professor

Dr. John Perry stood in a hallway in the Dentistry Building where graduating class photos line the walls. He motioned with his hand to show that every student pictured since 1985 he had taught.

“The vast majority of dentists and dental hygienists in Manitoba know me as being one of their instructors,” said the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry’s associate dean, academic.

Read the full UM Today profile here

Psychology meets dentistry

If someone had told Dr. Dieter Schönwetter when he graduated with his PhD in social psychology that one day he would be a worldwide expert in dental education, he would have shook his head in disbelief.

Dr. Schönwetter thought he’d go on to be a psychology professor after graduating with his doctorate from the University of Manitoba in 1996, but instead, he’s found a home in the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences.

Read the full UM Today profile about the college's director of student affairs and academic services here

Dentistry, dental hygiene students push green plans

A group of green-minded students is working to reduce the carbon footprint of the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry.    

The Student Environmental Group was created earlier this year to look at ways to decrease the amount of waste in the college. They’re focused on what is being thrown away in the clinic, pre-clinic and in the college as a whole. The group is led by fourth-year dentistry student Madison Flamand and third-year dentistry student Derek Oryniak

Read the full UM Today story here

Alumnus visit

Dr. Sean Corsini (pictured in the front row on the left) visited graduate orthodontics in January. He is the inventor and lead programmer for STERISIMPLE, and an active practicing specialist orthodontist in Ontario. Dr. Corsini is a 2002 graduate of the MSc. specialty program in orthodontics at the University of Manitoba.

Read more about Dr. Corsini’s visit here.

International tour

A “magical mystery tour” down-under through Australasia provided more than just wanderlust. Over a six-week period, a group of five academics from two continents facilitated 32 events covering seventy hours of interaction, including workshops, panel discussions, networking lunches, keynote presentations, showcase presentations and individual/small group consultations and three international conferences, at 18 universities and with a combined attendance of over 750 university staff.

Read about the college's director of student affairs and academic services Dr. Dieter Schönwetter's tour here

Dr. Anthony Iacopino, former dean of the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry, has been named the recipient of the Pierre Fauchard Academy’s prestigious Dentist Citation Award for 2020. The award was to be presented to Dr. Iacopino in Winnipeg in April. However, the event has been postponed and he will be honoured at a future ceremony.

Read about Dr. Iacopino’s influential career here.

Dr. Lawrence Lau is an alumnus of the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry and a valued part-time instructor at the college. For several years, Dr. Lau has volunteered his services during the December recess period to undertake emergencies for patients at his private office when the graduate orthodontic clinic is closed.

Dr. Billy Wiltshire, professor and head of orthodontics, presented Dr. Lau with a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the staff, residents and patients of the graduate orthodontic program. The college is fortunate to have an alumnus like Dr. Lau, who is always willing to take excellent care of any orthodontic emergencies for our patients when our university clinic is closed.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Dentistry and Dental Hygiene welcomes its new program coordinator, Sarah Harvey. She comes to CPD with extensive knowledge and experience in office administration, management of information systems and as a support to regulatory programs in the dental profession.

On February 20, Cindy Isaak-Ploegman, RDH, BA, MEd, presented a Manitoba Dental Hygienists' Association Continuing Education lecture titled Why we do what we do: Rationale behind IPAC interventions in the Schwartz Lecture Hall, Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry. 

Day G, Singleton R, Thomas T, Schroth R, Klejka J, Lenaker D, Berner J. Association of Maternal Vitamin D Deficiency with Early Childhood Caries. J Dent Res. 2019 Mar 14:22034519834518. doi: 10.1177/0022034519834518. [Epub ahead of print]

Wong JP, Venu I, Moodie RG, Arivudainambi VC, Stewart H, Schroth RJ, Feller AF, Nicolae A, Zweig KN, van den Heuvel M, Ford-Jones EL, Wong PD. Keeping caries at bay in breastfeeding babies. J Fam Pract. 2019 Apr; 68(3):E1-E4.

Grant CG, Daymont CB, Rodd C, Mittermuller B, Pierce A, Kennedy T, Singh S, Moffatt ME, Schroth RJ. Oral Health Related Quality of Life of Preschoolers with Severe Caries After Dental Rehabilitation under General Anesthesia. Pediatr Dent 2019;41(3):221-8.

Tang S, Finlayson G, Bertone M, Dahl P, Schroth RJ*, and the Manitoba Dental Association’s Committee on Dental Care for Residents in Long-Term Care Institutions. Dentists’ views on providing care for residents living in long-term care facilities. J Can Dent Assoc. 2019;85:j8. *corresponding author

Pierce A*, Singh S*, Lee J, Grant C, Cruz de Jesus V, Schroth RJ. The burden of early childhood caries in Canadian children and associated risk factors. Frontiers Public Health 2019;7: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2019.00328 *co-first authors

Schroth RJ, Mittermuller B, Au W, Hai-Santiago K, Martin H, Martens P, Brownell M. Prenatal, maternal and early childhood factors associated with dental general anesthesia to treat severe early childhood caries. Pediatr Dent 2019;41(6):477-84.E109.

Folayan M, El Tantawi M, Aly NM; Al-Batayneh OB, Schroth RJ, Castillo JL, Virtanen JI, Gaffar BO, Amalia R, Kemoli A, Vulkovic A, Feldens CA, ECCAG. Association between early childhood caries and poverty in low and middle income countries. BMC Oral Health. 2020 Jan 6;20(1):8. doi: 10.1186/s12903-019-0997-9.

Kennedy T, Rodd C, Daymont C, Grant C, Mittermullter ME, B Mittermuller, Pierce A, Moffatt ME, Schroth RJ. The association of body mass index and severe early childhood caries in young children in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Int J Paediatr Dent. 2020 Feb 14. doi: 10.1111/ipd.12629. [Epub ahead of print]

Folayan MO, El Tantawi M, Vukovic M, Schroth RJ, Gaffar B, Al-Batayneh OB, Amalia R, ArheiamA, Obiyan M, Daryanavard H, Early Childhood Caries Advocacy Group. Women’s economic empowerment, participation in decision-making and exposure to violence as risk indicators for early childhood caries. BMC Oral Health. 2020 Feb 17;20(1):54. doi: 10.1186/s12903-020-1045-5.

Cruz de Jesus V, Shikder R, Oryniak, D; Mann K, Alamri A, Mittermuller B, Duan K, Hu P, Schroth, RJ, Chelikani P. Sex-based diversity among the plaque microbial composition in children with severe early childhood caries and those caries-free. J Dent Res 2020.