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Matters of school and state

2012 Legislative Visit

Rep. Jim Pitts, District 10, gets a closer view of a prosthetic ear model,
with help from
Diego Hurtado, D4 and Dr. Jorge Gonzalez, assistant professor
and director of the Center for Maxillofacial Prosthodontics.

Photos by Steven Doll

TAMHSC-BCD students and faculty get valuable face time with legislators during January visit

It’s nearing 11 a.m. on Jan. 24, and a group of the dental school’s students, faculty, staff and administrators have gathered in the Center for Maxillofacial Prosthodontics. With them are some special guests, including representatives from the Texas Legislature and the Texas A&M Health Science Center president.

At the moment, Rep. Jim Pitts of House District 10 is closely studying a model of a prosthetic ear that Suzanne Verma, anaplastologist and assistant professor in oral and maxillofacial surgery, has passed to him as part of her presentation.

“You can’t even tell,” says Pitts, who is the House Appropriations Committee chairman, as Verma demonstrates how patients can snap the prosthesis on and off with ease.

The group also includes Rep. Dan Branch of House District 108, who is chairman of the House Higher Education Committee, and Rep. Kenneth Sheets of House District 107. 


“The opportunity for legislators to see the dental school in action is invaluable, specifically with regards to understanding the clinical relevance of TAMHSC-BCD’s programs in the Metroplex and the communities it serves.”
—Dr. Nancy W. Dickey


Soon Reps. Diane Patrick of House District 94 and Angie Chen Button of House District 112 join the tour as it progresses to the fourth floor. Dr. Larry Bellinger, Regents Professor and associate dean for research and graduate studies, then talks about some of the clinical applications of the research at TAMHSC-Baylor College of Dentistry, including work done in the Stomatology Center and Salivary Dysfunction Clinic and Research Laboratory.

Since the state legislative session doesn’t reconvene until January 2013, Dr. Nancy W. Dickey, TAMHSC president and Texas A&M University System vice chancellor for health affairs, extended the invitation to Dallas-area members of the Texas House of Representatives to give them the chance to learn about the Dallas campus, specifically TAMHSC-BCD.

The legislative visit also included an overview of the college presented by Dean Lawrence Wolinsky, and a tour of the college’s Dental Simulation Clinic and Laboratory as well as the third floor clinic. It ended with a lunchtime roundtable discussion for legislators and dental students.

“The opportunity for legislators to see the dental school in action is invaluable, specifically with regards to understanding the clinical relevance of TAMHSC-BCD’s programs in the Metroplex and the communities it serves,” says Dickey. “Plus, this visit gave us an opportunity to thank these elected officials in person for all they do on behalf of higher education and the citizens of Texas.”

2012 Legislative Visit
From left to right: Dr. Margaret Yanus, associate professor in restorative sciences; Rep. Kenneth Sheets, District 107; and Dr. Lawrence Wolinsky, dean.