At the recent American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Annual Session, the organization presented Sylvia A. Frazier-Bowers, DDS, PhD, with its prestigious ADEAGies Award for Innovation in the dental educator category.
“I pay a debt of gratitude to the UNC Adams School of Dentistry for supporting the Gies nomination, particularly the dean’s office leadership and staff,” said Frazier-Bowers, assistant dean for inclusive excellence and equity initiatives. “But I am also immensely grateful for the countless numbers of learners, staff and faculty who remind me daily that the human elements of courage and trust are timeless. This is what fuels the DOCSpeaks program; this is the first step to inculcating our stated value – inclusive beyond excellence – seamlessly into dental education. The long-term goal is to expand this program, started here at the UNC Adams School of Dentistry, to be a consortium across all U.S. dental schools in the near future.”
In addition to her many contributions to the science of orthodontics, the ADEAGies Award highlights Frazier-Bowers’ advancement of oral health, oral health equity and cultural competence, especially for her work establishing the Dental and Oral Health Community Scholars (DOCS) Program. The DOCS Program specifically sought to enact an innovative learning environment that aligns with the curriculum via focused cultural enrichment (e.g., societal inequity, race, gender, religion, diversity and understanding barriers to healthcare).
Since its inception, the DOCS Program has expanded to include employees and learners across the UNC-Chapel Hill campus through a more accessible forum. As a part of the DOCS Program’s expansion, a series of TED Talk-style discussions, called DOCSpeaks, was developed. Each talk features a content expert, often from outside UNC, to lecture and invigorate communication, teaching, and learning at the intersection of culturally sensitive topics and healthcare delivery.
“We are so proud that Dr. Frazier-Bowers has been recognized by the ADEAGies Foundation for her innovative work here at UNC Adams,” said Interim Dean Ed Swift, DMD, MS. “The DOCS Program and DOCSpeaks have enriched our community in many ways, and we are glad that her efforts have been recognized at this national level.”
The William J. Gies Awards for Vision, Innovation and Achievements annually honor the efforts of individuals, institutions and organizations to meaningfully advance oral health and dental education. The Gies Awards are presented by the ADEAGies Foundation, the philanthropic arm of ADEA. For more than 50 years, the ADEAGies Foundation has enhanced the oral health of the public through programs that support dental education, research, leadership, and recognition.