Luana Oliveira, DDS, MS, PhD, has been appointed as the new AEGD Residency Director.
Oliveira earned her dental degree at the Federal University of Uberlandia in Brazil. In addition, she earned MS and PhD degrees in Operative Dentistry and completed a 2-year AEGD Residency at the University of Florida. She has 15 years of prior academic experience at Nova Southeastern University College of Dental Medicine and the University of Nebraska College of Dentistry.
Oliveira is taking over the program after a brief hiatus, which, she explains, allowed for some careful evaluation to ensure its success.
“The AEGD program had previously been intertwined with Faculty Practice, making it challenging to figure what was driving the costs,” she says, “However, when the program director resigned, the school took the opportunity to temporarily suspend the AEGD program and shift its attention exclusively to Faculty Practice. After careful evaluation, it became evident that it was in the best interest of both programs to separate them, given their distinct natures—one being an educational program and the other a non-educational program. This separation has allowed the AEGD clinic to assume control over its finances and prioritize both teaching and patient care. As a result, both programs can now focus on their individual growth and development.”
Oliveira says she is deeply honored to have been entrusted with the remarkable responsibility of directing the AEGD program and believes that it will thrive under her guidance.
“Drawing from my prior experiences, I can affirm that UMKC is an exceptional institution, offering incredible opportunities. I am here with a sincere commitment to learning and building connections within the UMKC community. Each day presents an opportunity to acquire fresh knowledge, which I can then apply to enhance the well-being of others.”
Those prior experiences include her services as program director for a two-year Advanced Education program at Nova Southeastern University. As the program director, she held the responsibility for overseeing all aspects of the program, including curriculum design, faculty recruitment, CODA accreditation, resident interviews, and clinic operations.
“The program was successful since day one, she says, “The highlight of the program was the exceptional clinical education offered to residents, which filled me with great pride. I have extensive background in clinical dentistry and my focus is to have an AEGD program that aligns with the most current dental practices.”
With her own recent completion of a two-year AEGD program at the University of Florida, Oliveira feels this has equipped her with valuable insights into the priorities and needs of students when it comes to their learning experiences. Along with her insights comes a series of goals she’s set for the success of the AEGD program at the dental school.
“My primary goal for the program is to achieve a high standard of clinical excellence. Our main focus is to refine clinical skills while exposing residents to a diverse patient base, gaining experience in treating complex cases with a strong restorative and esthetic component. The objective is to graduate highly skilled general dentists who can deliver exceptional care.
My short-term goal for the AEGD program involves an even greater integration of technology into dental education. We are in the process acquiring equipment to build a Digital Dental Laboratory in the AEGD clinic. Increasing adoption of digital dentistry techniques in the clinic is our focus now. We are placing a great emphasis on training residents in digital impression-taking, digital smile design, CAD/CAM technology, and 3D printing applied to clinical practice.
In addition, I value interdisciplinary education and collaboration. There is no better way to prepare our residents to work in team-based healthcare settings after graduation than working together with other specialties. We are fortunate to share the same physical space with Advanced Periodontics which give the residents an amazing opportunity to share patients and provide the best possible dental care.
Lastly, one of the main objectives of having an AEGD program is to serve UMKC patients and the community. That’s why we are here for! The AEGD program closes the gap between predoc clinic and Faculty Practice. We want to attract the best residents and get them ready to practice dentistry at the highest level. We are working hard to have all four positions filled next year and keep the clinic productive and becoming financially stable.”
Since starting at the School, Oliveira says she’s been overwhelmed by the assistance and encouragement they’ve received. “The saying ‘it takes a village’ is undoubtedly accurate and applicable in our situation,” she says.
As for the future of the program, Oliveira says she feels “exceptionally positive,” as over 14 applications have already expressed interest in the upcoming cycle.