Growth, Innovation and Fun | A message from the Dean

Dean Keith Mays in lobby of School of Dentistry office.

Happy New Year! Looking in the rearview mirror, 2023 was a great year because we provided excellent patient care, educated learners and advanced our research portfolio. I am thankful to each of you for your contribution. As 2024 begins, let us strive to further advance our mission and make an impact in Minnesota and beyond.

Advancing Growth

People learning in  lab

This past week, bidding on a performance related fee (PRF) for the acquisition of new digital dentistry closed; selection of the vendor will occur soon. This means that in the coming months we will receive and install new equipment to allow us to advance our goals of increasing the use of technology to educate our learners and provide contemporary care to our patients. We are hopeful that this equipment will be available in early summer to help begin the transformation of our clinical workflows. I am proud of and excited by the activities of the working group, our IT team members and our faculty trainers who have collaborated to make this growth possible for the School of Dentistry. It is a great example of how advancing growth is enhanced when we work across areas and units of responsibilities to achieve outcomes for our learners and patients. 

Leading Innovation

Congratulations to Don Nixdorf, DDS, MS, director of the Division of TMD & Orofacial Pain, on receiving a grant from Dentsply Sirona in conjunction with Siemens Healthineers to develop research utilizing dental-dedicated

MRI machine

magnetic resonance imaging (ddMRI) for the practice of dentistry. This is truly a novel line of research for the dental profession and for the School of Dentistry. This grant is years in the making, and I am thankful to all who have made this a successful opportunity for the school. In the coming months, a small area on the first floor of Moos Tower will be under construction to install the MRI scanner. Once installed, Drs. Nixdorf and Gaalaas will work to develop the school’s dental-dedicated MRI (ddMRI) center (to be named soon). This is another excellent example of advancing our strategic priorities to increase our use of technology in patient care through research and discovery. 

Take time for fun

Students playing basketball

As we launch into 2024, I want to provide an example from the DDS class of 2026. When they started their program, they made a decision to create intramural sports teams, so they created a basketball and soccer team. The soccer team is composed of both medical and dental students,  who advanced to the finals. The basketball team found great success by winning the winter B term finals. These teams were a way for our students to gather and have fun outside of class. This should be a reminder to us that as we advance teaching, patient care and research and discovery,  we should also take time for some fun. Whether it is sports, needle work, going to museums or theaters, take some time this year to have fun.