Imagine the possibilities of Florida Tomorrow. How will we shape them?
My vision of tomorrow for the University of Florida's College of Dentistry is one of international leadership in dental education,
research and service.
I see a college filled with the very best men and women of science taught by faculty who are academic leaders and who are excited to
be members of the Gator Nation. These happy, active and disciplined students and faculty study and work in state-of-the-art facilities
located throughout Florida that support active learning experiences and facilitate effective teaching efforts.
Patients are welcomed into state-of-the-art college clinics by caring staff members who greet each individual with warmth and respect.
Patients receive the best care available in dentistry, delivered by residents and students under the mentorship of expert clinicians.
Florida Tomorrow at the College of Dentistry is a place where oral health researchers explore the very building blocks of biology and
behavioral science in an environment that supports communication and collaboration, and enhances their ability to conduct ground-
breaking, multidisciplinary research in basic, translational and clinical science.
Florida Tomorrow embraces alumni, friends, donors and corporate partners who appreciate the college's commitment to excellence in
educating the state's future dentists and in pursuing scientific discovery to improve oral health. They are great supporters of the college,
and recognize their social and professional responsibility to give back to their communities, their profession and to dental education.
This is my vision for tomorrow. I hope you will join me in celebrating our successes and shaping our future during the University of
Florida's Florida Tomorrow Capital Campaign.
Florida Tomorrow is here today.
Dean, College of Dentistry
The Promise of Tomorrow
The University of Florida holds the promise of the future:
Florida Tomorrow a place, a belief, a day. Florida Tomorrow is
filled with possibilities. Florida Tomorrow is for dreamers and
doers, for optimists and pragmatists, for scholars and entrepre-
neurs, all of whom are nurtured at Florida's flagship university:
the University of Florida, the foundation of the Gator Nation.
What is Florida Tomorrow? Here at the College of Dentistry, we
believe it's an opportunity, one filled with promise and hope. It's
that belief that feeds the university's capital campaign to raise
more than $1 billion.
The Florida Tomorrow campaign will shape the university, cer-
tainly. But its ripple effect will also touch the state of Florida, the
nation and the entire world. Florida Tomorrow is pioneering research
and spirited academic programs. It's a fertile environment for
inquiry, teaching and learning. It's being at the forefront to address
the challenges facing all of us, both today and tomorrow.
UF College of Dentistry
Florida Tomorrow Campaign Goals
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Florida Tomorrow is a place ..
where all Floridians have equal access to dental care.
Crossing Borders, Changing Lives
The makeshift clinics are thatched huts, schoolrooms without
electricity and truck beds. For the dental students and their den-
tists-mentors who spend spring and winter breaks working with
some of the world's poorest people, no location is too primitive.
It's in those places, where running water and textbooks are
scarce, that College of Dentistry students receive some of their
The college's service trips to Dominican Republic, Ecuador and
Honduras are real-life classrooms and humanitarian missions.
Students work with practicing dentists on procedures ranging
from routine to nerve-wracking, while bringing oral care to peo-
ple who might not see a dentist otherwise.
It's that rich experience, Dean Teresa Dolan says, that makes
the trips valuable.
"The learning opportunities through collaboration with these
private dentists are invaluable," she says. "I enjoy having the stu-
dents come back and report their experiences to me; they're so
proud of what they've accomplished."
The Dominican Republic has been part of the college's curricu-
lum for two decades. In 2006, more than 500 people were treated
there. That same year in Honduras, the college's latest addition,
more than 700 people received care at a hospital, orphanage
and remote villages. In Ecuador, where UF's visit was dubbed
Project HEAL, UF partnered with college students there and saw
more than 300 patients.
Dr. Fernando Sandoval V. is dean of UF's sister institution in
"This is good for their manual skills and good for them to see
the problems of an undeveloped South American country," he
says, "because you have to see poverty to feel it."
Dr. John Akers, a Volusia County oral surgeon, has accompa-
nied UF students on several Dominican Republic missions. On
one trip, he became aware of the chasm of care in correcting cleft
palate abnormalities for many children. He decided to collabo-
rate with a dental school there to start a clinic. Akers donated his
surgical expertise, brought his own equipment and recruited col-
leagues on missions to repair cleft palate abnormalities.
"I often feel that the surgeons get as much out of it as the
patients," he says. "We do quite a lot of pro bono work in
America. It's an everyday occurrence here; but down there they
have so little access to be able to help them is a wonderful
thing to do.
"And, honestly, once you start doing this stuff, you just can't
get enough. You start thinking about what else you can do, where
else you can go."
Florida Tomorrow is a day
when dental caries is no longer the leading infectious
A person with a broken arm might rush to the emergency room.
A child with a high fever might see a pediatrician. But impover-
ished children and adults often suffer with dental pain and illness
for months or longer without seeing a dentist, and that's some-
thing UF's College of Dentistry wants to change.
Through the college's Statewide Network for Community Oral
Health, faculty, community dentists and students provide dental
care for Florida's most vulnerable and indigent people. The new-
est addition to the program is an $8 million Naples clinic, which
focuses on dental care for children.
"Sadly, a good portion of children at or below the poverty
level have learned to live with dental pain," says Micaela Gibbs,
who oversees the network. "We need to take care of children and
adults who have fallen through the safety net."
While dental care in impoverished communities often ends
with screening and education, the Naples clinic is unusual
because it provides both preventive care and treatment.
"Now there will be a treatment answer for the people who need
it," says Boyd Robinson, associate dean for clinical affairs.
The 20,000-square-foot clinic was made possible by a $5.5 mil-
lion gift from the Naples Children & Education Foundation.
The group stepped up with its donation after a 2005 UF study
revealed that 17,000 impoverished and migrant children in the
area were without dental care.
Parents often don't realize that oral health is a key to good
general health, Robinson says. Tooth decay and dental pain can
contribute to problems with eating or speaking, general infections
that lead to heavy antibiotic use and even psychological problems
for children whose teeth are stained, pitted or missing.
Gibbs, who oversees the college's four community dental clin-
ics and 14 partner clinics statewide, hopes the Naples clinic will
show parents the value of prevention.
The clinics are one way UF is addressing the state's dental
needs. Researchers are pioneering novel strategies in dental care,
says Robert Burne, chairman of the Department of Oral Biology.
Faculty are using sophisticated genetic tools to develop strains
for replacement therapy, experimenting with probiotics to pre-
vent caries, and investigating ways to make vaccines more
effective and affordable.
Even so, making dental care routine for impoverished people
will mean making it accessible, Gibbs adds. The need far exceeds
what private dentists and UF residents and faculty can do.
"None of us can do the job ourselves. The problem is mon-
strous. There is not a community that would not benefit from
a clinic like this," Gibbs says. "The resources we have are very
dependent on private-public partnerships. We need to work
hand-in-hand to rally resources to take care of these kids."
Florida Tomorrow is a belief ...
that excellence in dental care demands excellence in scientific
discovery, dental care delivery and education.
Speaking from Experience
When the orthodontic department at UF's College of Dentistry
asked him to lend a hand with teaching, Clark Hodge was semi-
retired, playing tennis in the morning and straightening teeth in
"I had 35 years of experience that I could offer, so I said I
could teach in the mornings," Hodge says, "and my tennis game
The teaching gig was meant to be temporary, but it's difficult to
find orthodontists who will pass up private practice for academia,
so Hodge stayed on.
"Before I knew it, six years had gone by, and I was 70 years
old," he says. "It was time to retire."
Although Hodge had already given generously of his time
and talent the college approached him again, and again he gave.
Hodge and his wife, B.J., donated property, which the college
sold for $620,000. With the state matching funds, that gave the
college the resources to set up an endowed professorship, a crit-
ical tool in recruiting talented orthodontic professors. The Clark
and B.J. Hodge Professorship in Orthodontics is the college's first
Hodge hopes future orthodontists who benefit from his gift
enjoy the profession as much as he did. For him, orthodontics is
about working miracles.
"To take an ugly duckling and make a swan," Hodge says,
"gives you a good feeling."
Hodge also found satisfaction in teaching. Although he
approached his first class with a bit of trepidation, he overcame it
and tapped into his experience.
"One of the most shocking things in my life was standing in
front of a class of 80 undergrads," he says. "I thought back to
when I was a student and a 65-year-old codger stood in front of
my class. I hoped they didn't think of me like that."
Soon he was on a roll, though. After years of thinking fast and
working fast, teaching made him slow down to explain why he
performed a procedure in a certain way, and he found that he
enjoyed relating the basic sciences to his clinical knowledge.
When the college finally found a replacement, Hodge was
asked to serve on the committee to screen candidates for the orth-
odontic professorship he endowed. He is looking forward to
watching the college chart a path into the future and knows it will
be a good steward of the funds he provided.
"I have inside knowledge, so I know they will use the money
wisely," Hodge says. "I was there."
Our Vision of Tomorrow
The University of Florida's College of Dentistry is poised to be
an international leader in dental education, scientific discovery
and patient care. College programs will be recognized worldwide
as models of innovative and cost-effective initiatives that increase
access to dental care for vulnerable and underserved populations.
Our graduates will have the reputation of being preeminent den-
tal clinician-scientists and specialists dedicated to serving the
state's residents; patients will actively seek out their skillful and
caring services. Scientific discoveries made in college laborato-
ries will illuminate the biologic and behavioral progression of oral
diseases, and will transform the way in which clinicians treat dis-
ease in their patients.
The UF College of Dentistry aspires to be the benchmark insti-
tution to which all other dental institutions strive to match.
The college is respected for its excellence on the University of
Florida campus and throughout the dental and research com-
munities. We serve Floridians through our Gainesville campus
clinics, but also throughout the state in clinical teaching facilities
in Jacksonville, Hialeah, St. Petersburg and Naples. These com-
munity-based clinics provide dental students with a broadened
educational experience within a patient-centered, small group
practice model of education.
Students will be drawn to the college's educational programs,
knowing that they are the best in the world and that it is an honor
and a privilege to study at the University of Florida.
College faculty will take satisfaction in the development and
delivery of coursework that is exciting, well organized, challeng-
ing and interactive and that takes advantage of new educational
technologies. Florida's multicultural diversity will be reflected in
the college's faculty, staff and students.
The college's Faculty Endowment will grow from $10 million
to $50 million, enabling the college to recruit and retain the very
best and brightest dental faculty and researchers. Teaching faculty
members are dedicated and focused on developing challenging
and interactive coursework, and they recognize the importance
of their teaching efforts. Research faculty work in a collabora-
tive environment with open communication that enhances their
ability to conduct groundbreaking research addressing signifi-
cant clinical problems. All faculty clinical, instructional and
research feel their efforts are appreciated.
All aspects of college operations are housed in an organized
and modern facility with state-of-the-art equipment and tech-
nologies. Clinical areas shine with orderly cleanliness, research
facilities are spacious and organized into central cores that effec-
tively support the needs of the researchers, and classrooms are
comfortable and equipped with cutting-edge educational technol-
ogies. The facility will be a mixture of new and newly renovated
spaces that reflect the institution's excellence. Our main cam-
pus at the Health Science Center will feature a new west wing,
constructed to tie existing architecture into an open and inviting
atrium, with social and teaching space to enhance faculty and stu-
dent interaction, and clinical areas staffed with warm and caring
professionals who contribute to the delivery of the finest patient
care in a mentored general practice clinical model.
Fusion of private investment with university support is key
to achieving these goals. The Florida Tomorrow capital campaign
is an opportunity for transformational gifts to endow programs,
enhance faculty efforts and build brick by brick a UF
College of Dentistry that achieves excellence in dental education,
scientific discovery and patient care that serves as a model for the
world and exceeds the limits of our imaginations.