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Harvard School of Dental Medicine: Wikis


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Harvard School of Dental Medicine
Established 1867
Type Private
Dean Bruce Donoff
Students 280
Location Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Campus Urban

Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) is one of the graduate schools of Harvard University. It is an American dental school located in the Longwood Medical Area in Boston, Massachusetts. In addition to the DMD degree, HSDM offers specialty training programs, advanced training programs, a Ph.D. program affiliated with the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Master of Medical Sciences & Doctor of Medical Sciences degrees in Oral Biology.

Today, HSDM is the smallest school at Harvard University. With a total student body of 280, including pre-doctoral and post-doctoral students spread over several disciplines, HSDM is an intimate community of students and faculty. Even when compared to other dental schools, HSDM is small, and its total living alumni number is approximately 2,300 worldwide. While HSDM is small, it continues to have considerable influence on dental education and research within the broader oral health community. Many other HSDM alumni pursue careers as full-time faculty members, department heads, and leaders of organized dentistry.




First University-based Dental School

In the early 19th century most dental practitioners had either learned their "trade" through apprenticeships, or they simply offered their services to the public as self-proclaimed experts. The move toward more formal dental education in the United States began when the state of Maryland chartered the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery in 1840. The establishment of this independent college, which may have occurred after the University of Maryland refused to add dental education to its curriculum, exemplified the nineteenth-century debate over whether dentistry should be part of scholarly education, or be taught in separate "trade" schools.[1] As a result of this resistance, the four American dental schools that existed by 1865 were all freestanding. The move towards university-based dental education institutions (as they exist today) began with the formation of Harvard Dental School in 1867. Dr. Reidar F. Sognnaes, noted oral pathologist and founding dean of the UCLA School of Dentistry, commented on the significance of the school's formation in a 1977 New England Journal of Medicine article:

There was a time when the mouth, relatively speaking, was considered a scientific "no-man's land." That was when dental education fell between academic chairs--literally between the eyes, ears, nose and throat. In the United States dentistry was denied the academic status of other segments of higher education until 1867, when Harvard established the first dental school affiliated with a university-based faculty of medicine. [2]

Origins of DMD Degree

Harvard was the first dental school to award the DMD degree. Harvard University only grants degrees in Latin and school administrators thought the Latin translation of Doctor of Dental Surgery ("Chirurgae Dentium Doctoris," or CDD) was too cumbersome. A Latin scholar was consulted and suggested "Medicinae Doctor" be prefixed with "Dentariae." This is how the DMD, or "Dentariae Medicinae Doctor" degree, was started. Other dental schools made the switch to this notation, and in 1989, 23 of the 66 North American dental schools awarded the D.M.D. There is no difference between the DMD and DDS degree; all dentists must meet the same National & Regional certification standards. \

Renaming the School: 1940

The school was established as Harvard Dental School in 1867, but renamed the Harvard School of Dental Medicine in 1940. This symbolic change was made to emphasize the biological basis of oral medicine and the increasingly multidisciplinary focus of dental research.

Expansion of Postdoctoral Educational Programs: 1957

In 1957, Harvard School of Dental Medicine was awarded a training grant from the National Institute of Dental Research (now the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research) to expand its postdoctoral training programs. These new programs included an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery/MD/General Surgery residency program; a Doctor of Medical Sciences (DMSc) in Oral Biology; and 3- and 4-year joint-degree programs with an emphasis on combining clinical training with research into Health Policy, Public Health, and/or biomedical sciences.

The school's current post-doctoral programs include both school-based and hospital based residencies. School-based programs award the Master of Medical Science (MMSc) degree, with an optional Doctor of Medical Sciences (DMSc) degree available for those spending extra time on research activities.

School-Based Programs

  1. Orthodontics
  2. Endodontics
  3. Prosthodontics
  4. Periodontics
  5. Advanced Education in General Dentistry

Hospital-Based Programs

  1. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: Combined Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery/General Surgery program at Massachusetts General Hospital with MD degree awarded from Harvard Medical School
  2. Pediatric Dentistry: At Boston Children's Hospital
  3. General Practice Residency: Combined program at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital

Major Changes in Predoctoral Curriculum: 1994

In 1994, a major change in the predoctoral curriculum included an increase of the predoctoral class size to 35, introduction of problem-based curriculum, and a switch from a 5-year program to a 4-year case based curriculum.

Harvard Dental Alumni Association

The Harvard School of Dental Medicine has an active group of over 2500 alumni who continue to participate in the day-to-day events of the school and are major contributors to the school's vision and goals for the new millenium. In addition to publishing a quarterly bulletin, marking the current events of the school as well as the achievements of alumni, the Association also sponsors the annual Gold Medal and Silver Medal awards at graduation, honoring the valedictorian and salutatorian of the graduating class, respectively.

Some notable alumni

Early Graduates

Deans and Former Deans of US Dental Schools

  • Dr. Michael C. Alfano, Former Dean, New York University, Currently, Vice-President of New York University, PD Perio’74
  • Dr. Leon Assael, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, former Dean, University of Kentucky College of Dentistry, DMD'75
  • Dr. Charles Bertolami, Former Dean, UCSF School of Dentistry, Currently, Dean, NYU College of Dentistry, OMFS'80
  • Dr. Frank A. Catalanotto, Former Dean, University of Florida College of Dentistry, Pediatric Dentistry Cert.'71
  • Dr. Bruce Donoff, Dean, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, DMD'67, OMFS'71
  • Dr. Donald Giddon, Former Dean, New York University College of Dentistry, DMD'67
  • Dr. James Hupp, Editor-in-Chief, Oral Surgery Oral Medicine Oral Pathology, Radiology and Endodontology and Dean, East Carolina University School of Dentistry, former Dean, University of Mississippi School of Dentistry, DMD'77
  • Dr. Marjorie K. Jeffcoat, Former Dean, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, DMD'76, Perio'78
  • Dr. Ira B. Lamster, Dean, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, MMSc'80, Perio'80
  • Dr. Lonnie Norris, Dean, Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, DMD'76
  • Dr. No-Hee Park, Dean, UCLA School of Dentistry, DMD'82
  • Dr. Peter J. Polverini, Dean, The University of Michigan School of Dentistry, DMSc, Oral Path
  • Dr. Ray C. Williams, Dean, Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine, Cert. Perio'73

Affiliated organizations

Harvard Odontological Society

External links


  1. ^ "Dental Education at the Crossroads." 1995. Report by Institute of Medicine (National Academy Press). Editor: Marilyn J. Field. Pg.39
  2. ^ "Why "mouthless" medical schools?" New England Journal of Medicine. 1977. Oct 13;297(15):837-8. Sognnaes, RF.
  3. ^ "Public perception of DDS versus DMD degrees." Journal of the American College of Dentists. 1999. Fall; 66(3):29-37. Lalumandier, JA.


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