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Record Online - October 2009

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Pediatric dentistry department changes leadership

mcwhorterThe beginning of September brought the beginning of new leadership in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry. After 23 years as department chair, Dr. Suzi Seale relinquished her position and Dr. Alton McWhorter took the lead.

McWhorter credits his predecessors for his success as he steps into this new role. First guided by Dr. Paul Taylor as a graduate student at HSC-Baylor College of Dentistry, McWhorter later joined Seale as a faculty member for 22 years, where she became his career mentor.

“I am particularly honored to become the chairman of the department that my two role models created,” McWhorter says. “The Baylor pediatric dentistry programs, both predoctoral and postdoctoral, are among the finest in the nation.”

Seale’s enduring leadership earned her recognition as 2001’s Pediatric Dentist of the Year from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. She also led the dental departments at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children and Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, touching thousands of young lives.

Reflecting on her tenure as chair, Seale attributes her success to those around her. “They have been open to change and innovation and have shared responsibility and exhibited creative thought and energy,” she says of the department. “It has been such a pleasure to work with these fine, hardworking people and to have had their loyalty and support.”

Looking ahead, Seale will continue to teach and expects McWhorter’s leadership will “take it to the next level.”

McWhorter has been involved in all aspects of HSC-BCD’s pediatric dentistry department since joining the faculty in 1986. He has served as director of the undergraduate pediatric clinic, director of the graduate program and vice chair of the department. Within the college, he has served on 16 committees and is a past president of the HSC-BCD Faculty Forum.

McWhorter also has served within the dental community, including a term as president of the Texas Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and appointment as a member of the editorial board of Pediatric Dentistry. His involvement with the Objective Structured Clinical Examination has garnered national recognition, and he has published and lectured extensively on this methodology.

“We are fortunate to have a member of our faculty who is eminently qualified to assume the role as chair and is already experienced in departmental administrative matters,” says Dr. James S. Cole, HSC-BCD dean. “He will be an effective and capable administrator who will provide a smooth transition in leadership for this department.”