When Robert “Bobby” Elliott received his acceptance letter to the UNC School of Dentistry in 1995, he happily packed his bags at the University of Louisville, where he completed his undergraduate and DDS degrees, to embark on his residency journey in pediatrics at his first choice of schools.
“The faculty is nationally and internationally known,” Elliott says of his decision to enroll at UNC. “Their recognition showed me that this was a very viable school. The School has one of the top three pediatric programs in the country.”
A self-proclaimed “big kid,” Elliott always related well with children. He grew up teaching gymnastics to youngsters, learning to build the trust he would later need during his dental education and now in his practice in Cary, N.C.
Elliott completed his coursework in June of 1998. He made his dream come true in November of the same year when he opened his pediatric practice in Cary and currently heads a staff of eight.
“I enjoy working with kids and watching them grow up,” Elliott says. “The most exciting thing for me is seeing them become more independent. A child, for instance, will tell their parents to sit in the waiting room instead of bringing them along to the operatory chairs.
Mike Roberts, the Dr. Donald and Mrs. Sandra Henson Distinguished Professor of Pediatric Dentistry and chairman of the pediatric dentistry department, says Elliott knew he wanted to help future students even before he opened the doors of his pediatric dentistry practice.
“Bobby has been very eager from the day he arrived here to be able to give back to the department and contribute to the health care of the children in the state,” Roberts recalls. “He was inspired by people like Dr. Jim Congelton, who also established an endowed fund for pediatric residents, and he knows how important it is to us.”
This spring, Elliott invested in an endowment fund with the Dental Foundation of North Carolina (DFNC) that becomes active when it reaches $100,000. At that time, Roberts and Elliott will meet to discuss how the money will be used.
“It’s also my hope that a recipient of the fellowship would be more willing to provide a gift of his or her own as an alumnus or alumna,” Elliott says.
Elliott currently balances practicing full-time and instructing part-time at the School with regular appearances on WRAL-TV as a pediatric dentistry expert. He hopes his on-air advice will send young students to school with bright and healthy smiles. In his free time, Elliott enjoys rollerblading, traveling, and entertaining his friends and family in his Cary home.
Elliott credits the School for the valuable instruction he received throughout his residency. “My education has enabled me to be happy and have 125 percent job satisfaction. To be able to give something back and continue to fund another resident’s future is priceless,” he says.