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Jul 19, 2008
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Here is an updated overview of UAB’s OMFS program. This is an updated/edited version of a previous post.


University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) OMFS Program Overview

This program is one that is rich in tradition and history. We are one of the oldest 6 year OMFS programs in the country. If you search UAB in these forums, you will see the high praise of the program throughout the years. There has not been an overview of this program for many years now so this is for future applicants and externs to learn more about us! Especially in the era of COVID-19, information about programs is hard to come-by. In the last 6 years, we have made proud strides and have increased the number of OR cases and have almost doubled the number of faculty as our service continues to grow. Our program has evolved a ton that it is different from what it was even 4 years ago.

Overview:
6-year MD integrated program with 4 residents per year
  • Attend UAB med school #31 nationally ranked medical school (UAB has been ranked in the 20s- 30s depending on the year). UAB SOM graduates have a great reputation among various residency programs, and the students routinely match into competitive programs across the country. Tuition for med school is currently ~34k/yr (You are paid for the months on service in 3rd year)
  • UAB is an impressive hospital. One of the largest academic medical campuses in the country. The medical campus is in the heart of the city, and Birmingham is the life source for the state. Alabama’s success is very closely tied to UAB’s success, so it’s always on the cutting edge. Check out the rankings for specialties within UAB hospital (US News) – it is a medical hotspot in the Southeast. Anything ranked is impressive because there are hundreds of med residencies per specialty. Most hospitals in the country (especially southern hospitals) do not have a vast majority of their specialties ranked or in a high performing category.
  • The reputation of the residents within the hospital is excellent. Many attendings and services say that the OMFS residents are the best residents in the hospital because they’re responsive, willing to go the extra mile, are friendly, and provide good quality work. Our department is well respected and our OR privileges prove it.

The Numbers:
We do it all. We are a total scope program with heavy dentoalveolar, trauma, orthognathics, reconstruction, cosmetics, craniofacial (secondary clefts), and head and neck cancer We can perform full IV sedation cases as first years after a sedation course in July of intern year (only 1-2 other programs have this) and our implant numbers are high. Interns can place around 40+ with increasing numbers as you rise the ranks – Most leave having placed between 100-200 implants, but some place more than that.
  • We have multiple clinics and multiple ORs running simultaneously every single day! We work at University Hospital, UAB Highlands, Birmingham VA medical center, Children's Hospital of Alabama, Callahan Eye clinic, The Kirklin Clinic and UAB dental school.
  • Children’s and UAB are all Level one trauma hospitals.
  • CODA Procedure Categories:
    Trauma - 517
    Pathology – 1305*
    Orthognathic - 238
    Reconstruction/Cosmetics – 1342
  • OR Procedures per Chief – 850.5 (CODA requires 175/chief)
  • Other Categories:
    Outpatient Visits – 55,615
  • Implants placed/year - 1432
Unique Features:
  • Our service treats 5s and 6s as “chiefs” (6s have the administrative responsibilities to run the service) so they will NEVER be in the same OR together. There is essentially 8 chiefs on different rotations. As a 6, you will make the schedule and be allowed to choose your rotations and decide on what services you will want to rotate on. You are required to do only 1 month of the head and neck service as a chief but you may do more months if you are interested.
  • As interns, you are split into 1) OR/Clinic, 2) VA, 3) School of Dentistry and 4)Head&Neck. You spend a month on each at a time. This structure allows interns to have great exposure to H&N without sacrificing the other important aspects of OMFS.
  • Dentoalveolar - Our dentoalveolar experience is unrivaled. In our VA rotation first year, you run the VA service as an intern with NO upper level and do full dentoalveolar - IV sedation of full bony impacted 3rds, sinus lifts, all on 2s. We can do full IV sedations with propofol, fentanyl, versed, ketamine after taking our sedation course with Dr. Louis in July of intern year. On top of this you are on a separate dental school rotation as the only intern with one upper level seeing 30-40 patients a day also doing full dentoalveolar - it is a very busy day. The chiefs will usually take the more complicated/interesting cases such as multi implant cases.
  • Head & Neck: We have one of the highest free flap numbers in the country along with one of the highest malignant/benign pathology numbers. Our young attendings Dr. Morlandt and Dr. Ying have grown our H&N service to be an amazing experience and its reputation has been on the rise. We do as many free flaps overall as our ENT Service (#29 ranked in the country so it is a strong program). On top of this, we actually do more fibula free flaps than our ENT brethren. We account for 80-90% of bony flaps for our insitution. Our rotations are 1-month at a time so you will only rotate on H&N every 4 months. We have one fellow that does not take away the experience on cancer like other programs.
  • We have a PA for Dr. Louis’ TMJ clinic/ day consults and a PA for our H&N clinic/OR. We have RNFAs that assist in the OR as well.
  • Trauma: We are on face call twice as much trauma call as Plastics and ENT so we receive a majority of the trauma cases. UAB is considered the only ATLS level 1 trauma center in the state. The ED beds are maxed out day to day so only the most mutilating and heavy trauma come our way.
  • No tooth call. Hospital dentistry will take care of this. We will, however, handle odontogenic infections, isolated alveolar ridge fractures.
Schedule:
  • Year 1: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Internship (12 months OMFS which includes 4 rotations - H&N, VA, Dental School, OR/Clinic) Get 6 weeks off in the Spring to finish studying for and take/Pass Step 1. This allows you to skip the first two years of medical school.
  • Year 2: Third year of medical school (Clerkships)
  • Year 3: July to March - Fourth year of Med school (8 months – 3 are mandatory acting internships, 5 are electives (20 weeks) of your choosing like Craniofacial, Occuloplastics, ENT etc) March to June – 4 months of OMFS on service as a Junior resident
  • Year 4: General Surgery Internship (7 months General Surgery, 4 months Adult Anesthesia, 1 month Peds Anesthesia)
  • Year 5: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Senior (12 months OMFS)
  • Year 6: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Chief (12 months OMFS)

Research:
All residents are expected to participate in at least one project and produce a publishable product.
  • Many research opportunities - UAB hospital is #21 nationally in NIH funding.
  • Affiliated UAB dental school has the #1 NIH research funding in the country among dental schools

Resident School demographics:
Our current residents come from UPenn, Michigan, UCSF, UNC, Maryland, UAB, UConn, UT San Antonio, UT Houston, USC, Tennessee, Ohio State, Western, SUNY Buffalo, Louisville, UNE, Columbia.

OMS Full-Time Faculty (One of the largest full time faculty staff):
  • Interim Program Chair (Former Program Director): Dr. Patrick Louis, DDS, MD
    • One of the longest reigning program directors in the country. Dr. Louis has made great strides for the service and for the field of OMFS. Well known for complex TMJ surgery, orthognathic, trauma, and zygomatic implants. Trained at UAB.
  • Interim Program Director (Former Program Asst Director: Dr. Kathlyn Powell, DMD, MD
    • Trained UAB with subsequent pediatric fellowship under Dr. Waite at UAB. Focuses on a broad scope of pediatric OMFS.
  • Former Program Chair: Dr. Peter Waite, MPH, DDS, MD, FACS, Charles A. McCallum Endowed Chair
    • One of the biggest minds in OMFS of our generation and the longest tenured OMFS chairs in the country– he is well known for Cosmetic Surgery and orthognathic surgery. One of the 4 editors of Peterson’s OMFS. Past President of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. Trained at UAB.
  • Dr. Somsak Sittitavornwong, DDS, DMD, MS
    • Trained at UAB and Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. Known for trauma, TMJ, nerve repairs.
  • Dr. Anthony Morlandt DDS, MD
    • Trained at UAB with a subsequent head and neck fellowship at UF Jacksonville. Now is the UAB Chief of Oral Oncology, and is a fellowship director.
  • Dr. Yedeh Ying, DMD, MD
    • Trained at MGH with a subsequent head and neck fellowship at OHSU. Another very busy attending on our H&N service.
  • Dr. Terry Whatley, DMD
    • Trained at Oklahoma. Specializes in trauma.
  • Dr. Warren Arrasmith, DMD
    • Trained at UAB. Director of undergraduate clinic.
  • Dr. Shaundra Kelly Pringle, DMD, MD
    • Trained at UAB. Director of OMFS at the VA.
  • Dr. Brian Kinard, DMD, MD
    • Our newest faculty. Trained at Emory with a subsequent advanced orthognathics fellowship at Georgetown under Dr. Posnick. Focus on orthognathics and complex orthognathics cases involving syndromic children.
  • Dr. Michael Kase, DMD
    • Trained at UAB Prosthodontics with subsequent Maxillofacial Prosthetics and Oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer center. One of the only full time Maxillofacial Prosthodontists in the country.
Program Culture:
UAB is a program deeply rooted in southern hospitality. The residents are all genuinely nice and hang out. We are a diverse group of residents. Residents grab dinner, grab beers, etc. We are a social program with the policy of work hard, play hard. With 4 residents per year, we have a diverse group of residents (People come from all over and are all sorts of ethnicities) - some have families and some are single. This is also reflected in the diversity of ethnicities and cultures seen in our faculty as well. The staff are also great and as generous as they come. It is very easy to fit in with our motley crew.

Call/Hospitals:
We cover 4 main hospitals on call-University Hospital, UAB Highlands Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Alabama, and the Birmingham VA medical center. We operate at these 4 and operate at Callahan Eye hospital (outpatient procedures).

Call is taken by the interns on a roughly a q4 basis. We are always on for call odontogenic infections, and take trauma call 2.5 weeks every month. We take call on the 8th-14th and 22nd-end of the month every single month. Trauma call is basically split ½ OMFS, ¼ ENT, ¼ Plastics. Call is to taken in the hospital for 1st call providers and can be very busy. (especially on trauma call), Our call rooms are pristine and are extremely comfortable to stay in. There is a large bathroom with a shower, and an overnight room with coffee/snacks down the hall.

Birmingham:
Birmingham will defy your previous conceptions about Alabama. Please do not write Birmingham off the list because it is in Alabama. The city is nice, clean, has great facilities and has an awesome vibe. There are tons of breweries, restaurants and a great night life. Birmingham is very different from the rest of the state. Major changes have been happening to the city with more restaurants, bars, breweries opening. Tech is starting to move to here as well – Read WSJ and Forbes article on Birmingham’s tech renaissance. On top of this, people are very friendly and it is a very racially accepting city. Residents typically buy houses and are able to sell easily when they leave. Mortgage for a 3 bedroom house can be as low as $1200 per month. We are 1 hour 45 minutes from Atlanta, 2 hour and 30 mins from Nashville, 4 hours from Pensacola and Destin Beach and 5 hours from New Orleans. In the suburbs south of Birmingham, there is an extremely affluent area with old money and new money. (This is also a plus in that people can afford all on 4s/all on 6s) The education systems are insane and consistently send kids to prestigious schools.

Notable Alumni Currently involved in OMFS:
These are the alumni in top academic positions who are currently active outside of UAB.
  • Dr. Rui Fernandes, DMD, MD, FACS, FRCS – Chief, Division of Head and Neck Surgery, UF Jacksonville Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Dr. Luis Vega, DMD - Program Director of Vanderbilt Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Dr. Dane St. John, DMD, MD - Former Program Director of LSU New Orleans Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Dr. Daniel Meara, DMD, MD, FACS - Program Chair of Christiana Care Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Dr. Lewis Jones, DMD, MD - Assistant Professor at University of Louisville Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery with a focus in Craniofacial surgery
  • Dr. Angelo Cuzalina, DDS, MD – Cosmetic Surgeon and fellowship director at Tulsa Surgical Arts. Past President of American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery and American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. Practices full body cosmetics with reconstructing with flaps anywhere on the body.
  • Dr. Dina Ameen, DDS, Assistant Professor at Emory University Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Director of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Grady Memorial hospital
  • Dr. Todd Hanna, DDS, MD - Head and neck surgeon based at Lennox Hill hospital - Double fellowship trained (OMFS and ENT fellowships) Head and neck recon and cosmetics

Externship (ON HOLD DUE TO COVID-19):
Our externs will see a wide scope and OMFS and get their hands dirty. They will work alongside residents in our Kirklin clinic, in the operating room, and participate in taking tooth and trauma call. We invite all 3rd and 4th year dental students (2nd year if you have done injections) to come and spend time at our program to see and judge for themselves how UAB may be a fit for them and to see a great program. This is a hands-on externship and we expect externs to work hard and to take call when they are here. You may stay with a resident the entire time so this is a relatively cheap externship!

More information can be found by exploring the site and contacting the program coordinator at [email protected]:


Conclusion:
If you train at UAB, you will be exposed to every aspect within and beyond OMFS without sacrificing bread & butter OMFS – this is as full scope as you can be. The expectation is that you will work your ass off for 6 years because there are so many cases at this program and you will be trained at such a high level by the end. On top of this, you will live in an amazing city and come out in an absolutely amazing financial situation due to the cheap cost of med school, cheap cost of living, and the ability to buy a house and accumulate capital during residency. Don’t forget about that BBQ and juicy fried chicken!
 
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