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College of Dentistry Alumni Association announces award winners

The following individuals were recognized at the UNMC College of Dentistry Alumni Association’s Alumni Reunion Banquet held on Oct. 28 at the Nebraska East Union.

2022 Outstanding Educator Award – James F. Jenkins, DDS ’84

Dr. Jenkins is an associate professor in the UNMC Department of Adult Restorative Dentistry and director of alumni affairs for the College of Dentistry. He graduated from the UNMC College of Dentistry in 1984 and practiced in Lincoln for 18 years before becoming a part-time faculty member in 1997. He became a full-time faculty member in 2002 and is one of the students’ most beloved faculty members. One of the many ways Dr. Jenkins influences students is through his service work, including being a faculty representative at a charity dental clinic in Honduras and helping start the Nebraska Mission of Mercy program which provides care to the underserved. Dr. Jenkins also volunteers at Clinic with a Heart in Lincoln supervising dental students in an extraction clinic for the underserved. He received the Lighthouse Woody Varner Leadership Award, the UNMC Faculty Senate’s Spirit of Community Service Award, and multiple outstanding faculty awards from dental classes. In his role as director of alumni affairs, Dr. Jenkins organizes and hosts receptions for alumni in Nebraska and other states, serving as the college’s advocate and liaison to alumni.  

2022 Distinguished Service Award – John Reinhardt, DDS, MS, MPH

Dr. Reinhardt served as dean of the UNMC College of Dentistry from 2000-2014. During that period, the college experienced impressive outcomes in student achievement, major facility improvements, substantial growth in research, greatly expanded service-learning and outreach programs, a large increase in donated funds, and many successes in faculty recruitment. Upon completion of his service as dean, he received a one-year University of Nebraska Faculty Development Award and an American Dental Association/William J. Gies Faculty Fellowship to study the fiscal sustainability of dental school clinics. That research led to eight national presentations and two publications. From 2016-2019, he served as a full-time faculty member in the UNMC Department of Adult Restorative Dentistry. In addition, he led student preparation in operative dentistry for clinical mock board and regional clinical board exams, developed calibration materials for standardizing faculty scoring of operative dentistry procedures, volunteered with numerous collegiate events for the underserved, led studies to measure clinical productivity under the new group clinic curriculum, and presented lectures in operative dentistry and dental public health.

2022 Alumni Achievement Award – Richard A. Reinhardt, DDS ’72, PhD ’87

Dr. Reinhardt is the BJ & Ann Moran Professor of Periodontology and co-director of undergraduate periodontics in the UNMC Department of Surgical Specialties. Dr. Reinhardt has mentored more than 30 predoctoral students in research projects, resulting in eight peer-reviewed manuscripts being published in scientific journals and four awards at national meetings. He also has supervised 40 graduate students, resulting in nine national awards and 33 peer-reviewed publications. In 2015, the American Dental Association honored Dr. Reinhardt with the Burton C. Borgelt Faculty Advisor Award in recognition of his outstanding work in mentoring students in dental research for three decades. He joined the College of Dentistry faculty in 1976 and received his master’s and periodontal residency certificate in 1981 and doctorate in 1987. Dr. Reinhardt has 139 publications to his name and his research interests include immunoregulation of inflammation and bone metabolism and the effectiveness of periodontal maintenance therapy.  

2022 Honorary Life Membership Award – Sreenivas Koka, DDS, PhD ’99

Dr. Koka received his DDS and MS in prosthodontics degrees from the University of Michigan. He joined the UNMC College of Dentistry faculty in 1992, became a diplomate of the American Board of Prosthodontics in 1995, and received his PhD in oral biology in 1999. Dr. Koka received the UNMC College of Dentistry Outstanding Teacher Award on numerous occasions and was the inaugural Merritt C. Pedersen Professor Dentistry. He joined the staff of the Mayo Clinic in 2004 and became executive director of the Foundation for Oral Rehabilitation in Zurich, Switzerland in 2013. In 2014, he opened the Koka Dental Clinic, a private practice focused on implant and removable prosthodontics in San Diego. In April 2021, Dr. Koka was appointed dean of the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry. He is a fellow and past president of the Academy of Prosthodontics, former president of the International College of Prosthodontics, and former chair of MIT’s Sloan School of Management Alumni Board. He has published more than 100 journal articles and book chapters and lectures nationally and internationally. Dr. Koka is one of a handful of dentists to have given a TED talk.

Additionally, the 2020 and 2021 award winners were recognized:

2021

Alumni Achievement: Byron Tullis, DDS ’58
Distinguished Service: Janet Guthmiller, DDS, PhD
Outstanding Educator: Robin Hattervig, DDS ’84
Honorary Life Membership: Joan Sivers, DDS

2020

Alumni Achievement: Charles Genrich, DDS ‘83 & Jon C. Asbjörnson, DDS ‘87
Distinguished Service: David G. Brown, BSc, MLS, PhD
Outstanding Educator: Darlene Carritt, RDH ’78
Honorary Life Membership: Nebraska Innovation Campus Hand Sanitizer Team

1 comment

  1. Kathryn Marche' (Che') Schulte says:

    My heart was warmed to see the faces of this publication; such worthy recipients. Dean Reinhart so generously was my mentor in the ninth hour. Dr. Koka encouraged me to complete research when I didn’t know if I wanted to; it has always been such a great memory and badge of honor. What I could easily say about all four of these men is that they display what a kind word turned can be used for instead of harsh criticism to build and encourage. What a blessing to the students and the college as a whole!

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