By Rosanne Fohn
|James B. Summitt, D.D.S., M.S., a tenured professor in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry, received the Leeper Award from Omicron Kappa Upsilon, the national dental honor society.|
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A dental professor from the UT Health Science Center San Antonio who has spent his career teaching, conducting research and practicing dentistry, has been presented the 2011 Stephen H. Leeper Award for Teaching Excellence.
James B. Summitt, D.D.S., M.S., a tenured professor in the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry, received the award from Omicron Kappa Upsilon (OKU), the national dental honor society. The award was presented March 13 at the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Annual Session & Exhibition in San Diego, Calif.
The award recognizes dental educators who have demonstrated exemplary standards in teaching, including innovative techniques or consistent excellence in dental education.
“Dr. Summit epitomizes excellence in teaching,” said Norma Partida, D.D.S., an associate professor of comprehensive dentistry and president of the Mu Nu Chapter of OKU, which nominated Dr. Summitt for the award.Textbook used around the world
“Dr. Summitt has been a major innovator and contributor to the teaching and advancement of the principles of minimally invasive dentistry for the past 30 years. He is the senior editor and an author of the textbook ‘Fundamentals of Operative Dentistry,’ now in its third edition and used by more than 50 percent of U.S. dental schools, eight Canadian dental schools and by many dental schools in Europe, Asia and Africa. The contents of the book are based on evidence, where evidence is available, in the field of operative dentistry,” she said.
“His textbook and research have led to an ongoing effort to change our Dental School curriculum to base teaching in operative dentistry on current evidence. Dr. Summitt has personally taught operative dentistry to more than 2,000 students at our Dental School since 1989,” Dr. Partida said. “He has moved a generation of Texas dentists and faculty members toward prevention of dental caries and minimally invasive dental treatment.” In good company
“It is wonderful to be recognized by your peers,” Dr. Summitt said, “but I work with some outstanding individuals who nominated me for this award.” He noted that two other Health Science Center faculty members have received the prestigious Leeper Award in the past, including Donald E. Willmann, D.D.S., M.S.
in 2007 and Thomas D. Marshall, M.S.Ed., D.D.S.
, in 2003.
|Dental School faculty members congratulate James B. Summitt, D.D.S., M.S., (center) on his award. Shown are (left to right) Charles Hermesch, D.M.D.; Norma Partida, D.D.S., M.P.H.; Dr. Summitt; John Jones, D.D.S.; and Ridley Ross, D.D.S., from the Department of Comprehensive Dentistry.|
Dr. Summitt joined the UT Health Science Center Dental School in 1989 after an 18-year military career where he served as a dentist and dental educator in the U.S. Air Force. Kevin M. Gureckis, D.M.D., an associate dental professor at the UT Health Science Center, studied under Dr. Summitt while in the military.
“I distinctly remember having the opportunity to attend an operative dentistry course with Dr. Summitt as my instructor way back in the 1986 when I was in the U.S. Air Force. From that moment on, Dr. Summitt’s profound influence on me to strive for excellence as a dentist, military officer and human being have turned out to be one of the most influential aspects of my life.” Department chair
After joining the Health Science Center faculty, Dr. Summitt served from 2002 through 2010 as chair of the Department of Restorative Dentistry. He is considered a national authority on minimally invasive dentistry, inhibition of bacteria that causes tooth decay, and restorative techniques and materials, including adhesive systems and resin-based composites.
He has published 65 scientific papers and 90 abstracts, and given numerous presentations at national and international meetings on these topics. He is a charter member of the UT Health Science Center’s Academy of Master Teachers, formed in 2008, and was named a Distinguished Teaching Professor by The University of Texas System in 2010. In 1993, he received the university’s highest teaching honor, a Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Dr. Summitt has held national leadership posts since 1996. He currently is president of the 1,100-member Academy of Operative Dentistry (AOD) and chaired the academy’s 2011 Scientific Sessions Committee. He was awarded the AOD’s Hollenback Memorial Prize for research and leadership in 2009, and his alma matter, the University of Tennessee College of Dentistry, in 2009 named Dr. Summitt the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. Positive influence for many dental students and residents
Ten faculty members and former dental residents and students supported Dr. Summitt’s nomination.
J. William Robbins, D.D.S., M.A., dental clinical professor at the Health Science Center, who also is in private practice and an international lecturer said, “Dr. Jim Summitt has been the single most important influence on my 37-year career; 25 years in dental education and 12 years in full-time private practice. He is a unique blend of master clinician, a master teacher and a clinical researcher, which is all stitched together with the highest level of integrity. He is the finest teacher I have ever known."
Johnnie D. Overton, D.D.S., associate professor in the UT Health Science Center Dental School, said, “My first day as a resident in 1985 I observed Dr. Jim Summitt place three pins in #24 as he repaired circumferential root caries damage. I knew right then that I wanted his skills to be my skills. I was thrilled when Dr. Summitt called me 17 years later to ask me to join his teaching staff.”
James C. Broome, D.D.S., M.D., associate dean for clinical affairs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry, added, “Dr. Jim Summitt was my general dentistry residency program director and has been my role model for the last 25 years. He taught me to strive for clinical excellence and to always demand the best evidence for decision-making. His example of character, service and scientific inquiry are unmatched in the profession.”