Skip Navigation and Go To Content
News from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Stories from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth Houston)

Navigation and Search

Day of learning: Lecture series combine into one powerful day of continuing education

Lecture series
PACE Center practice consultants S. Jerry Long, DDS and Joe M. Piazza
Support from key figures within the School of Dentistry, including PACE Center practice consultants S. Jerry Long, DDS (left), and Joe M. Piazza, DDS (right), helped consolidate a number of continuing education lectures into one day.

The school’s leadership identified its continuing education offerings— specifically, lecture series—as fertile ground for trying new approaches. Offered through the school’s PACE Center, which focuses on helping students, alumni, and dental professionals succeed in dentistry, lecture series provide unique benefits by bringing in renowned experts in oral health fields to share their knowledge with attendees.

Previously, these lecture series were spaced throughout the year and only available to third- and fourth-year DDS students. That changed in late 2023 with the Generations Conference, which combined five lectures into one event on September 8 open to all DDS students, dental hygiene students, faculty, and alumni.

“Our goal was to bring everyone together for the latest and greatest in continuing dental education,” says Dean John A. Valenza, DDS ’81.

Moving the lectures to one day ensured they would not compete with clinic operations or academic schedules, allowing more people to attend. Topics explored at the Generations Conference—which will be held in the new format moving forward—included dental implants, regenerative dentistry, relieving and managing erosion, successful leadership, and issues relating to dentistry and the opioid epidemic. In addition to providing academic enrichment for students, the lectures allow faculty and alumni to hear speakers they would otherwise only encounter at high-level dental meetings.

Continuing education like the Generations Conference helps ensure current and future practitioners stay up to date on the latest developments in the field. Some advances like regenerative dentistry and implants can help change the lives of people affected by traumatic injuries or oral cancer. Others, like dentistry and the opioid epidemic, help apply the field of oral health to areas of national importance.

“Whether someone is a first-year student or has been in practice for 30 years, all of us have something we can learn, and sometimes what we learn can make a big impact,” Valenza says. “This conference gives us the opportunity to hear from some of the finest educators and practitioners in dental education, dentistry, and dental hygiene all in one day.”

The Generations Conference received funding support from endowments established by generous donors. These endowments include the Jack R. Winston, DDS, Visiting Professorship in Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry; the Claude L. Nabers, DDS, MSD, and Blanche Eaton Nabers Visiting Professorship in Periodontics; the S. Jerry Long, DDS, Career Development Endowment Fund; and the W. Kenneth Horwitz, DDS, Endowed Fund in Ethics. Funds from the endowments help pay for honorariums, travel costs, and accommodations for speakers.

The School of Dentistry received overwhelmingly positive feedback on the Generations Conference and plans to include even more lectures at next year’s event. Potential future plans also include holding class reunions on conference dates to enhance the experience for alumni.

“We are grateful to all our donors who make this conference possible, and excited to see how it develops in the years ahead,” Valenza says. “It represents our commitment to help everyone at the School of Dentistry continue to learn and grow.”

site var = uth