Open Wide - The Official Blog of The Chicago Dental Society

Permanent link  Mentorship luncheon supplements clinical education


2014 Mentorship LuncheonLongtime Chicago Dental Society volunteer Salvatore Storniolo held court over lunch. At a table filled with dental students, conversation included Game of Thrones, the Oscar nominees for Best Picture and the wisdom he’s gained through 26 years in dentistry.

“I think of myself in your shoes 27 years ago, and I can say it was scary. There were a lot of mixed emotions,” he told the students with whom he shared a lunch table. “But what you’ve got to realize is that it’s all there for the taking. You just need to figure out what kind of dentist you want to be. And you must get involved; networking is the key.”

Dr. Storniolo was one of many CDS volunteers who made time Thursday, Feb. 20, to attend the Mentor Luncheon. Held annually at the Midwinter Meeting , the event paired practicing dentists with dental students for camaraderie.

They agreed that their time together was a valuable part of their Midwinter Meeting experience.

“As dental students we spend so much time in class and lab, but there is no instruction on how to be a dentist in the real world,” said second year dental student Jeri McCombs, who lunched with dentist Victoria Ursitti. “That’s where organized dentistry comes in for students. It’s really neat to meet people at events like this and talk about tangible career goals.”

Dr. Ursitti agreed that networking events like the Mentorship Luncheon would have enhanced her experience as young dentist; she volunteers today so that others benefit from her experience.

“It would have been nice to have had someone to ask ‘what do you use for scheduling software?’ or ‘what kind of clinical software do you like?’ Running a business is not just clinical,” Dr. Ursitti said. “The personal contacts here are fantastic, but as a young dentist I think you need someone to put their arm out and invite you to do something, and I think I have a lot of offer in that way.”

Second year dental student Shauvik Ponnusamy found that kind of camaraderie in his relationship with CDS member Dean Nicholas. Mr. Ponnusamy shadowed Dr. Nicholas in the office to supplement his clinical instruction; he most enjoyed the way Dr. Nicholas interacts with patients.

“He makes everyone laugh,” Mr. Ponnusamy said. “It was great to see how he made connections with patients, which is not something they teach in dental school. And when we started endo at school, it was nice to hear him say ‘it’s going to be okay, there is a light at the end of the tunnel,’ and hear his reassurance and feel that camaraderie.”

Mr. Ponnusamy encouraged his peers to seek out the mentorship program.

“Take initiative. Small steps make a big difference in learning about how to manage outside of class when it comes to things like finances and debt and continuing education.”

His classmate Punita Shukla agreed.

“You can’t do one without the other: go to school and talk to a mentor. This is the base for your future,” she said.

Find more photos from this and other 2014 Midwinter Meeting events on Flickr.


cds members , dental education , dental school , meetup , midwinter meeting ,

Permanent link  Midwestern University clinic adds pediatric care to menu of services


Midwestern University’s Dental Institute recently announced the addition of pediatric dental care — exams, cleanings, tooth restoration, and minor oral surgery  — for children from age 5 and up. Orthodontic care is also available. Since some children can benefit from early orthodontic intervention, the Dental Institute strongly advises an orthodontic screening by age 7.

The Dental Institute is home to some of the most advanced technology and diagnostic tools available to help provide patients with quality dental care. Student dentists in their final years of professional training treat patients under the supervision of licensed faculty who have many years of private practice experience. As a teaching clinic, patients can expect comprehensive, compassionate care – at about half the cost.

The Dental Institute is part of Midwestern University’s Multispecialty Clinic located at 3450 Lacey Road, Downers Grove IL. For more information about the services offered at the Dental Institute, contact 630.743.4500 or visit


access to care , children , dental care , dental school , midwestern university , pediatric dentistry ,

Permanent link  CDS Foundation honors Brian Homann with Vision Award


To say that Brian Homann knows about volunteerism is an understatement. He actually wrote the book on it.

Dr. Homann, a 2012 graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, will be honored with the Chicago Dental Society Foundation’s Vision Award for outstanding volunteer achievement. He was nominated by his peers for work he did to establish the student-run dental clinic at Goldie’s Place, and his continued efforts to help dental students across the country replicate their success at increasing access to care.

The Vision Award will be presented Thursday, Feb. 20, at the 149th Midwinter Meeting. 

“Dr. Homann is in the beginning of his career as a dentist and already has determined that helping to bring oral care to those underserved is part of the fabric of his professionalism.  It is truly heartening to see that his dedication — including passing on his secrets — so that others can do the same,” said CDS Foundation chair Mary Hayes. “We are privileged to honor this leader for his Vision: he energetically shows the rest of us how it is to work effectively to improve all our patients’ oral health.

A 2012 graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, Dr. Homann was a founding participant in the student-run dental clinic at Goldie’s Place for homeless Chicagoans; while there, he initiated a donation drive and created Goldie’s Place Denture Program. 

As the clinic grew in scope of services and capacity, Dr. Homann created a manual for other dental students to follow as they created their own student-run dental clinics on campuses nationwide. Along with the manual came Dr. Homann’s mentorship, as he admits that there is no universal model for success.

Now a practicing dentist, Dr. Homann continues his involvement at Goldie’s Place. He works part-time in private practice and two days per week in a paid position at Goldie’s Place. This is the first time Goldie's Place has ever had a paid dentist on staff, funded by a grant.

He is also an adjunct assistant clinic professor at UIC, an unpaid position that allows him to work with current dental students in the student-run clinic on his days off. His current students have assumed his old role of mentor to other campuses across the country.

The Roscoe, IL, native thanked the CDS Foundation for honoring him with the Vision Award. 

“I was at Goldie's Place when I heard. I was excited, I was surprised, I was blown away because I know what I've always done with my time, and it doesn't compare to what others have given,” he recalled. “But it made me excited to realize that the selection committee saw the importance of giving back early in our professional lives. It's not extra - it's part of being a dentist. Dentists have opportunities to do what only our profession can. With our education, we have the responsibility to help people in need.“






cds foundation , dental school , midwinter meeting , philanthropy ,

Permanent link  ASDA conference supplements class time


With school back in session, dental students across the country have immersed themselves in gross anatomy, pathology and histology. While classroom and clinical experiences prepare you to be a dentist who provides quality care to patients, the American Student Dental Association supplements your learning and prepares dentists to also be successful business owners, managers and public speakers. Consider participating in ASDA’s National Leadership Conference to start developing the skills not always taught in dental school.

The National Leadership Conference is Nov. 15-17 in Chicago, with a wide variety of courses to choose from. Participants may consider following a track during their conference:

  • ASDA & Organized Dentistry
  • Career Planning & Business Leadership
  • Advocacy, Politics & Professional Issues
  • Chapter Leadership & Management

 Also on site, participants may participate in:

  • Group discussions about licensure and other issues affecting dentists, how to balance school and life, and strategies to market yourself as a young dentist.
  • Networking opportunities with other students and leaders within organized dentistry. Use this time to swap stories, share advice and make connections with people who live where you want to practice.
  • An exhibit fair with more than 70 companies showcasing products and services.

 Registration continues through Oct. 1, at



dental education , dental school ,

Permanent link  Dr. Lex MacNeil new dean of Midwestern Universitys College of Dental Medicine


From Midwestern University's press release:

Kathleen H. Goeppinger, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Midwestern University (MWU), announces the appointment of M.A.J. (Lex) MacNeil, D.D.S., as the inaugural Dean of the College of Dental Medicine, Downers Grove, Illinois.

Prior to his appointment at MWU, Dr. MacNeil was the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Associate Professor in the Department of Oral Health Sciences at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Faculty of Dentistry in Vancouver, Canada. In the early 1990's, Dr. MacNeil was actively involved in the development of continuing education programs and clinical practice guidelines for dental practitioners in British Columbia, serving as chair for both related committees of the College of Dental Surgeons of BC. He joined the faculty at UBC in 1994 after practicing dentistry full time in the Vancouver area for 20 years and serving as a part-time clinical faculty member at UBC in prosthodontics since 1982. Dr. MacNeil has published widely and brings outstanding expertise to the new College of Dental Medicine.

The appointment of Dr. MacNeil is one of the first steps in Midwestern University's plan to seek approval from the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Commission on Dental Accreditation for a new center of learning in dental education in the state of Illinois. The University intends to offer a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree on the Downers Grove Campus starting in 2011. In the new DMD program, students will complete a four-year curriculum that includes didactic basic medical and dental science studies, preclinical simulation modules, extensive patient care based clinical dentistry and community centered clinical experiences. The inaugural class will consist of 125 students.


midwestern university , dental school ,

That is Great to have Midwestern open a for profit school not supported by the state, much nimbler and new administrations. The catch 22 is the overabundance of dentists and dental practices in Downers Grove and the western suburbs reduces practice population thus less money. The other side of the sword is since there are plenty of top tiered dentists, they are willing to teach because of less time in the practice. I wish them well.<br />Sincerely,<br />Dr. BDC<br />

Posted by: Brian ( on 05/16/2011