The University of Oklahoma Regents Visit OU College of Dentistry and College of Allied Health

Published: Tuesday, August 22, 2023

The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents Visits OU Dentistry and College of Allied Health On Monday, Aug. 7, members of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents visited the College of Dentistry in a continued effort to raise awareness of dental needs across the state. The following regents and Health Sciences Center leadership were in attendance: OU Regents Rick Braught, Anita Holloway, and Tim Rhodes, JD, executive secretary; as well as Jennifer Hembree, Ed.D; Gary Raskob, Ph.D., senior vice president and provost; and Jill Raines, JD, M.Ed., LLM, vice provost for health sciences administration.

The regents had the opportunity to tour the state’s only dental school and saw academic areas, clinics and the college’s research facility. During the meeting, the conversation centered around the need to expand access to affordable oral health care throughout the state and ways the college can work with state leaders to overcome common barriers to care.

Oklahoma currently ranks 49th in the nation in regard to access to oral health care and ranks below the national average of the number of dentists per capita. College leaders discussed plans to increase class sizes and expand specialty programs that will help meet the current workforce demands of the state.

“It was an honor to host members of the OU Board of Regents,” said Paul M. Mullasseril, D.D.S, M.S., dean of the college. “Our college continues to make strides to expand access to high-quality, yet affordable dental care, all-the-while providing our students with an excellent education that will allow them to excel in the dental profession.”

Sharukh Khajotia, B.D.S., M.S., Ph.D., associate dean for research and innovation, provided an overview of the research activities of students and faculty, emphasizing efforts to align the college’s research strategy with the current OUHSC Strategic Plan. The group toured the research laboratories of the Division of Dental Biomaterials, where Drs. Esteban Florez and Khajotia highlighted the Division’s recent accomplishments in research and innovation.

At the College of Allied Health, Regent Bob Ross joined the group and the tour was led by Associate Dean Mark Britton, PharmD, MDiv, CDCES, BC-ADM, FASHP and highlighted the 19 programs offered by the College of Allied Health. Regents visited the sonography lab, one of 5 programs housed in the Medical Imaging and Radiation Sciences department, chaired by Professor Vesper Grantham, MEd, RT(N), CNMT. Students in radiation sciences work with the most advanced and sophisticated equipment, using critical judgment to produce diagnostic images and ensure safe and effective therapeutic interventions.

The Regents then visited the John W. Keys Speech and Hearing Clinic which serves Oklahomans of all ages with disorders of speech, hearing, language, balance, and swallowing. This clinic is part of the Communication Sciences Department led by Dr. Andrew John, PhD.

Carrie Ciro, PhD, OT/L, FAOTA, chair of the Rehabilitation Sciences department, hosted the regents in the occupational and physical therapy laboratories. The Rehab Sciences department is the only program in the country to offer integrated plans of study for our Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) and Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students.

And finally, Dr. Leah Hoffman Anderson, PhD, RD/LD, CNSC, a faculty member in the department of Nutritional Sciences and director of the coordinated program for master of arts in dietetics provided a tour of the foods lab where our annual Children’s Healthy Activity and Meal Planning Camp is held.

“We were very excited to share the OU College of Allied Health’s education and research endeavors with the OU Board of Regents members,” said Jane Wilson, PhD, dean of the college. “We have outstanding faculty and staff who strive to provide the best educational experiences for our students so they may provide the best possible care to the citizens of Oklahoma.”