News and Updates

Foundation releases most recent issue of Torch newsletter

The Foundation has released the latest news in our Torch newsletter. It is full of information about our donors, programs, and the important work we are doing to support the OMS specialty. Less recent issues of our Torch can be found in our archive.

Apply now for Foundation Research Grants

Applications will be accepted April 15 – July 15 for the OMS Foundation’s 2021 research funding opportunities. 

Apply online for: 

Research Support Grants (RSG): $75,000 each 

  • One-year duration 
  • Purpose:
    • Encourage promising lines of basic, translational, and patient-oriented research consistent with the research priorities of the specialty.

Clinical Research Support Grants (CRSG): $150,000 each

  • Two-year duration, disbursed in two $75,000 payments 
  • Two CRSG awards will be funded, including: 
    • An analysis of the safety of administering sedation/anesthesia during office-based OMS procedures.  
    • Patient- and outcomes-oriented clinical research on a topic selected by the investigator which is consistent with the research priorities of the specialty.  

Student Research Training Award: $12,500

  • Two-year duration
  • Purpose: 
    •  To attract highly qualified dental students to the OMS specialty 
    • To generate interest in behavioral or biomedical research related to oral and maxillofacial surgery 

New research projects address a diverse array of topics

The OMS Foundation recently disbursed Research Support Grants of $75,000 each to four projects that show promise for advancing the specialty through innovation. The Stephen B. Milam Research Award recognizes the highest-ranking proposal of those submitted for review. The four projects are:

Stephen B. Milam Research Award
Magnetic resonance neurography and diffusion tensor imaging of peripheral trigeminal nerve injuries: Surgical correlation and outcomes prediction
PI: Dr. Avneesh Chhabra, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Co-PI: Dr. John R. Zuniga, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Injury to branches of the trigeminal nerve is a well-known risk of dental and oral procedures. Molar tooth extractions alone account for 11 million patient days of “standard discomfort or disability” – pain, swelling, bruising and malaise.

Magnetic resonance neurography (MRN) is an imaging strategy dedicated to the peripheral nerves that provides a non-invasive, 3D map of neuromuscular anatomy, facilitating the detection of neuropathy by showing alterations of nerve caliber, identification of neuroma and abnormal intraneural T2 signal intensity ratio (SIR). In addition, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) aids in functional evaluation of the intraneural patho-physiology and augments routine MRN for the diagnosis of neuropathy.

This project seeks to improve the diagnosis of peripheral trigeminal nerve (PTN) injury and evaluate whether MRN can serve as a pre-surgical diagnostic and prognostic tool during patient management.

Dr. Chhabra is associate professor of radiology at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and chief of its Musculoskeletal Radiology Division. He also serves as chief of musculoskeletal imaging at Parkland Memorial Hospital.


The Oral and Maxillofacial Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills (OMOSATS)
PI: Dr. Marco Caminiti, University of Toronto
Co-PI: Dr. Mark Shuren, University of Toronto

To date, the main method of assessment of surgical ability has been written and oral examinations followed by in-training evaluation reports that may or may not deal with technical competency. A technical skills examination that evaluates a surgeon’s ability to properly execute surgical procedures has not been implemented in any academic or licensure setting. The Oral and Maxillofacial Objective Structured Assessment of Technical Skills (OMOSATS) is a procedure-based, multi-station technical skills examination that reflects the range of milestones and Entrustable Professional Activities necessary for OMS surgical practice. Its objective is to enable academic programs to assess the development of skills and how they are taught. It also may help residents establish a self-assessment tool for competency and areas requiring improvement and assist residency programs in assessing candidates for potential entrance into the OMS specialty.


Development of surgically implantable minor salivary gland-based constructs for treatment of xerostomia
PI: Dr. Mary (Cindy) Farach-Carson, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Co-PI: Dr. Simon Young, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Xerostomia, a condition characterized by decreased saliva production and flow, afflicts approximately half a million people worldwide and leads to difficulty in eating, swallowing and speaking along with increased susceptibility to dental caries if the condition persists. Xerostomia is a common consequence of radiation therapy subsequent to treatment of head and neck cancers.

To mitigate the difficulties associated with the loss of salivary cells post-radiation, a team is working to develop a biologically based, surgically implantable salivary gland replacement tissue. Recently developed procedures for culturing intact pieces of resected major salivary glands in 3D hydrogels have shown promising preliminary results. This project aims to identify and optimize methods for long-term culture and expansion of minor salivary gland tissue in 3D hydrogels for future surgical transplantation into oral tissues of patients with xerostomia, thereby developing a novel and effective therapeutic approach for radiation-related xerostomia.


Orthognathic speech pathology
PI: Dr. Laura Anne Jacox, University of North Carolina Adams School of Dentistry
Co-PI: Dr. Timothy Turvey, University of North Carolina Adams School of Dentistry
Co-PI: Dr. George Blakey, University of North Carolina Adams School of Dentistry

Patients with severe jaw disharmonies pursue orthognathic surgery to address issues with esthetics, mastication and speech. Few quantitative data exist to correlate severity of speech distortion with degree of malocclusion. Furthermore, it is unknown whether surgical correction yields lasting improvement in articulation, as long-term follow-up data have rarely been collected. Despite this lack of data, patients undergo invasive jaw surgery in hopes of speech improvement. To address this knowledge gap, the hypothesis will be tested that speech distortions correlate with severity of anterior-posterior and vertical jaw disharmonies and that corrective surgery yields long-term improvement in speech.

How does the SECURE Act impact you?

Austin Leavitt, MS, CFP®

By: Austin Leavitt, MS, CFP®,
Senior Financial Planner
The Financial Advisory Group

Tucked inside Congress’s 2019 year-end spending bill, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement (SECURE) Act includes several provisions that merit further discussion with your financial & legal counsel. Here are the top things you should know:

1) Age limit for IRA contributions revoked: The age limit for making contributions to your traditional IRA (previously set at age 70 ½) is gone, allowing those who continue to work into their 70’s to continue to contribute to an IRA or other qualified plan as long as they can show earned income.

2) Initial RMD age increased to 72: The age at which retirees must begin taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from their retirement plans changed from 70 ½ to 72, allowing those born after 6/30/1949 to (temporarily) delay the tax impact of these annual distributions.

3) Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) abide: For those age 70 ½ or older with other income on their tax return, the tax impact of annual Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from a retirement plan can be sidestepped by designating a qualified charity as the RMD recipient (limited to $100,000 per year, per person). Consult your financial advisor to determine if a QCD or a gift of appreciated securities is more appropriate for you.

4) The “Stretch IRA” goes away: Under the new law the contents of an inherited IRA must be disbursed within ten years of the original owner’s death, with spouses and minor and/or disabled children as exceptions. This has potential to significantly increase beneficiaries’ tax exposure and should signal an urgent meeting with financial/tax counsel. More complex trusts such as CRT’s (Charitable Remainder Trusts) and CLT’s (Charitable Lead Trusts) may offer attractive tax benefits by extending the payout period over time.

5) Roth Conversions & Retirement Accounts: Under the new law Roth-based (post-tax) assets have become much more desirable for retirement and estate planning. There are no RMD’s, spousal rollovers can add to tax-free accumulation, the surviving spouse receives tax-free retirement income and the trust tax problem associated with pre-tax retirement accounts is eliminated.

Schedule a meeting NOW with your legal and financial advisors to discuss strategies to control your money. Consider donating your appreciated securities while the market is high, and consolidating the assets you’ve designated for charity into a Donor Advised Fund to reap the maximum tax benefits from your charitable giving. Securing your legacy is easier than you think and is rewarding beyond measure.

Donors who commit to a planned gift of $25,000 or more to the OMS Foundation are welcomed into its prestigious R.V. Walker Society. Visit the R.V. Walker Society page to learn more about planned giving options, and contact Mary DiCarlo at (847)-233-4325 to discuss your commitment.

*The Financial Advisory Group, Inc. is a fee-only registered investment advisor. Our core services include investment management, financial planning & tax services. For more information, please visit or call Austin Leavitt at 832-683-5084.

Foundation, AAOMS to collaborate on anesthesia and patient safety study

William Passolt, CPA Chair, OMS Foundation

When the safety record of our specialty’s anesthesia team model was questioned this summer, the Boards of AAOMS and the OMS Foundation agreed: Quality data are needed to tell the real story. To that end, the Foundation has committed to facilitate a study of past and prospective data related to anesthesia and patient safety. AAOMS and the Foundation have each committed $75,000 to launch the study.

AAOMS’s rollout of the OMS Quality Outcomes Registry (OMSQOR®) and Dental Anesthesia Incident Reporting System (DAIRS) has provided a good start to developing the data that are needed; your participation in these registries is urgently needed. The research funding commitment by AAOMS and the Foundation is intended to supplement the registry data with data specifically focused on outcomes.

This study is one of several exciting new programs underway at the Foundation. A new Clinical Research Support Grant is set to debut at the 2020 Clinical Trials Methods Course. Applications for this two-year, $150,000 grant will be available in 2020 for clinical research commencing in 2021. In addition, the first recipient of our International Fellowship for Cleft Lip and Palate and Craniofacial Surgery will travel to Beijing next September to train for a year with the expert surgeons at the Peking University School and Hospital of Stomatology. The International Fellowship is administered jointly by the OMS Foundation and the IAOMS Foundation with financial support provided by the OMS Foundation.

Following a successful inaugural year, our Global Initiative for Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) program is poised to grow. The OMS Foundation Alliance, energized by a $10,000 gift match challenge from the James and Carmen Hupp Foundation, raised more than enough at the 2019 Annual Meeting to fund 10 $2,500 GIVE stipends in 2020. Our 2019 participants returned with finely honed technical skills and a heightened awareness of their capacity to make a difference in the world. Their stories are inspiring; I invite you add your support to this worthy program.

“Relevance” was a recurring theme at the Foundation’s Strategic Planning Session in 2018, and these new programs represent the Foundation’s commitment to listen to its constituents and respond with programs that are in sync with the evolving priorities of our specialty. Your feedback is as necessary to our success as your financial support, and I ask that you be generous with both. None of these programs will succeed without consistent funding. If you haven’t yet contributed in 2019, please consider a generous gift before Dec. 31. Every gift to the Foundation received in November and December will be matched, up to a total of $25,000, thanks to the generosity of OMS Partners, LLC.


GIVE is a “natural fit” for the Alliance

The James and Carmen Hupp Foundation will match every donation to GIVE received by September 21, 2019, up to a total of $10,000. Donate today!

Since 1993 the OMS Foundation Alliance has been the Foundation’s most steadfast partner, contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars to support research, education and academic excellence in the OMS specialty. 

Its formula for success was established early: identify a worthy project, attract new potential supporters with a polished hospitality event, then energize the group to work together to achieve far more than they could as individuals.  

The Alliance embraced the Foundation’s Global Initiative for Volunteerism and Education (GIVE) from the program’s inception in 2018 and funded six $2,500 travel stipends in 2019 for residents traveling with OMS teams to deliver humanitarian healthcare to some of the world’s most underserved communities. Dr. and Mrs. James Hupp were among the first donors to contribute to GIVE in 2018.  

Dr. Steinberg performs a pre-surgical check-up in Vietnam

“This program offers our OMS residents a wonderful opportunity to enhance their clinical training and experience firsthand the gratification that comes from service to others,” said Carmen Hupp. We’re fortunate to have so many seasoned oral and maxillofacial surgeons who are as dedicated to mentoring the next generation of humanitarian caregivers as they are to personally serving those in need.”   

Mrs. Hupp currently serves as the Chair of the Alliance and has spearheaded its efforts to attract donors to the cause. “When Jim and I looked for ways to give back to the specialty, this seemed like a natural fit,” she said, “both for us and for the Alliance.” 

Dr. Douglas Baasch, a fifth-year resident at University of Florida Health Science Center — Jacksonville, traveled to Vietnam in March 2019 with Dr. Barry Steinberg’s Facing Futures team. A week spent caring for children and families with minimal access to basic healthcare reinforced his commitment to integrate service into his life and his career. “My experience with Facing Futures helped me to become a more skillful and creative surgeon,” he said. “But it also reminded me that we don’t have to fly halfway around the world to serve others; that can be done every day in our own communities.”  

Instilling a commitment to service in early-career OMSs was one of the founding principles of the GIVE program, and it appears to be working.   

Dr. David Hoffman, who has made “giving back” a central tenet of his career, has traveled to Columbia with Healing the Children teams for 26 years. In June his team included two residents whose travel costs were covered by GIVE stipends. “I would have jumped at a chance like this had it existed when I was a resident,” he says. “We’re providing a unique opportunity for our residents. They sign on for the clinical experience, but they come home hooked on the community service.  I believe strongly in the value of this experience and I’d bring residents along with or without the GIVE stipend. But this year I took the funds I would have spent on my residents’ airfare and purchased enough fresh food to leave behind 2 weeks’ worth of highly nutritious soft foods for our pediatric cleft patients. That’s a tangible benefit of someone’s donation, and it felt really good.” 

Your donation to GIVE helps provide unique service and learning opportunities for OMS residents. Donate online at, consider a gift of appreciated securities or lighten your 2019 tax burden by allocating the Required Minimum Distribution from your IRA directly to the OMS Foundation. Questions? Contact Mary DiCarlo at 847-233-4325 or

Applications available September 3 for International Fellowship opportunity 

The International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (IAOMS) and the IAOMS Foundation, in partnership with the OMS Foundation, will begin accepting applications September 3 for a 12-month International Fellowship for Cleft Lip and Palate and Craniofacial Surgery in Beijing, China. The collaborative Fellowship offers OMS residents and junior faculty from the U.S. the opportunity to train for a year with expert surgeons at Peking University School & Hospital of Stomatology beginning September 1, 2020. The International Fellowship will be jointly administered by the IAOMS and OMS Foundations; the OMS Foundation will provide a $20,000 stipend to cover travel and housing costs. Visit to learn more. Applications will be accepted September 3 through November 3, 2019 for the 2020 Fellowship. Applicants must be members of IAOMS and AAOMS (or ROAAOMS) to be considered. 

OMS Foundation to host Advanced Charitable Planning seminar at 2019 Annual Meeting

“I wish I could do more” is a common refrain among donors.
It’s easier than you think, once you learn how.

Demystifying the more sophisticated charitable planning options is the objective of a 90-minute program hosted by the OMS Foundation on Sept. 20 at the AAOMS Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass. Presented by OMS Partners, LLC, Integrating Advanced Charitable Planning into Your Wealth Management Strategy will help donors understand how advanced charitable planning tools such as trusts, family foundations, etc. can provide financial security for their loved ones during their lifetime while fulfilling their philanthropic goals.  

Join us at 8 a.m. Sept. 20 in Room 209 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center for this 90-minute, non-CE program presented by OMS Partners, LLC. Breakfast will be offered. Registration is not required, but seating is limited. Arrive early to claim your seat and your first cup of coffee.

Ready to step up to the next level of philanthropic giving? It’s easier than you think. Explore additional options to create your legacy at, then contact Mary DiCarlo, Director of Development, at 847-233-4325 or 

New life insurance option offers fast-track to R. V. Walker membership

Transformative philanthropic giving is not just for the very wealthy. It can be easy, in fact, to make a significant gift anytime in your career when you expand your options to include planned giving.

In the OMS specialty, donors who make a planned gift of $25,000 or more to the
OMS Foundation are welcomed as members of the Foundation’s prestigious R.V. Walker Society. Their vision ensures that a commitment to research and education continues to define the OMS specialty for generations to come, and their generosity is recognized in the Foundation’s publications and at a private reception held at AAOMS’s Annual Meeting.

Treloar & Heisel, a longtime supporter of AAOMS and the OMS Foundation, is proud to collaborate with the Foundation to offer a new life insurance program that makes membership in the R.V. Walker Society more accessible, especially for early- and mid-career OMSs.

• Through a single-pay, limited underwriting life insurance program with United Life (available in most states), donors can purchase a policy listing the Foundation as owner/beneficiary, with coverage options from $25,000 to $100,000, without a medical examination.

• The premium for a $25,000 policy for a male, 45-year-old non-smoker is about $8,300. The total premium for a $50,000 policy for a similar applicant is less than $17,000 in one payment or $20,000 if paid over five years.

• Policies valued at $25,000 or more convey Walker Society membership at the time of purchase.

• The policy delivers an irrevocable gift to the OMS Foundation upon the purchaser’s passing.

To learn more and enroll contact Treloar & Heisel at 800-852-4900.


2018 Kelly Scholarship Winners – Standing: Kenny Estelle (with Owen), Valerie Burks, Ashley Barzan, Alison Mancia, Ansley Bunnell, Emily Boggess, Vivian Marechek (with Micah) Seated: Catherine Cagino and Maria Tandon

Meet 2018 Norma L. Kelly Scholarship recipient: Valerie Burks

I am extremely grateful to have received a generous scholarship from the OMS Foundation Alliance. It afforded me the opportunity to accompany my husband to the 2018 AAOMS meeting.

It was quite the dynamic being a general dentist myself and finding myself married to an OMS resident. The long hours, demanding schedules and long years of schooling still take a toll, it was very nice meeting other dentist spouses. They understood the unique challenge of having to put your career on hold, and the inability to put down roots at your office as you’re only a temporary presence, counting down the years until graduation.

Click here to read more.


L to R: Smile Bangladesh March 2019 team members Dr. Jessica Lee, Dr. Jose Marchena and Dr. Jennifer Caroline

GIVE offers opportunity to learn, serve and smile

Dr. Jessica Lee’s career path was forged early. As the daughter of an OMS practicing in South Korea, she witnessed firsthand the transformative effect of a cleft lip and palate repair on a 14-year old boy who had lived as an outcast, excluded from school and community life because of his facial deformity.

She resolved at a young age that she would acquire the knowledge to similarly transform the lives of children whose circumstances cried out for skilled hands and a generous heart. In March 2019, she saw a personal and professional goal realized when she joined Dr. Shahid Aziz’s Smile Bangladesh humanitarian surgical team for a week-long cleft lip and palate repair mission in Khulna, Bangladesh.

Click here to read more about Dr. Lee’s experience in Bangladesh.



OMS Foundation concludes successful $1 million fundraising campaign

After surpassing its $1 million 2018 Annual Fund campaign goal, the OMS Foundation is poised to further support research and education that can improve patient care in oral and maxillofacial surgery.

The Foundation established the $1 million campaign goal to honor the centennial of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), its parent organization that was founded in 1918 and today represents more than 9,000 oral and maxillofacial surgeons across the United States.

“We set an ambitious fundraising goal as a way to celebrate AAOMS’s 100th anniversary, and the OMS specialty responded beyond even our expectations,” said Kathy A. Banks, DMD, chair of the Foundation Board of Directors.

OMS National Insurance Company (OMSNIC) jumpstarted the campaign with a $100,000 gift-match challenge that generated $300,000 in three months. Subsequent challenges supported by AAOMS and Treloar & Heisel, an insurance provider for dentists and specialists, also surpassed their goals.

Individual gifts ranging from $5 to $10,000 sustained the momentum of the campaign. Support also arrived from the International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (IAOMS), the IAOMS Foundation, the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (ABOMS), the American College of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (ACOMS), the Canadian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (CAOMS), 36 state and regional OMS societies and several college and university OMS training programs.

Click to read the full article.



Inspiring potential OMSs to pursue their dreams

from left: Drs. Carr and Wang

Five students at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine are pursuing their interests in OMS-related research topics this year with guidance from Dr. Steven Wang, their program director, and funding from a Student Research Training Award from the OMS Foundation.

Click here to read more about Dr. Wang and his students.

Click for more information on Student Research Training Awards.



Slow-release hydrogel shows promise for cancer treatment

Preliminary findings from an investigation funded in part by the OMS Foundation indicate that an immunotherapy drug embedded in a slow-release hydrogel appears to be highly effective at killing cancer cells.

According to its developers, STINGel combines a new class of immunotherapy drugs called stimulator of interferon gene (STING) agonists with an injectable hydrogel that releases the drug in a steady dose to activate the immune system to kill cancer cells. The biogel was developed by Simon Young, DDS, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), and Rice University chemist and bioengineer Jeffrey Hartgerink, PhD. The OMS Foundation selected the project for a $75,000 Research Support Grant in 2017.

The new research, recently detailed in the journal Biomaterials, showed that slow-release multi-domain peptide gels (MDP) were effective in continuously delivering immunotherapy drugs, known as cyclic dinucleotides (CDNs), to tumor sites for long periods of time. To read more and find a link to the project, click here.


Dr. Ingrassia’s legacy includes gift to OMS Foundation

The OMS Foundation gratefully acknowledges the recent gift of $25,000 from the estate of Dr. James Ingrassia.

An Ohio native, Dr. Ingrassia held degrees in pharmacy and dentistry from Ohio State University. He served as a Captain in the Air Force before moving to Charleston, S.C., where he completed his oral and maxillofacial surgery residency at the Medical University of South Carolina and went into practice. He retired in 2006.

Dr. Ingrassia joined the Southeastern Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons in 1980 and served as its president in 2005. In 2011, he was honored with the society’s Distinguished Service Award.

He is well-remembered for his dedication to his family, friends and colleagues. His membership in the OMS Foundation’s R.V. Walker Society ensured his career as an OMS concluded with an act of fidelity to the specialty he loved and served throughout his life.



Dr. Peter Aschaffenburg Leaves $100,000 to the OMS Foundation

The OMS Foundation recently received a $100,000 gift from the estate of Dr. Peter Aschaffenburg, who passed away in late 2015. Dr. Aschaffenburg became a Charter Member of the Robert V. Walker Society in 1999, and upgraded his commitment to $100,000 in 2011.

“I never felt so proud as to donate $10,000 to be a Charter Member of the R.V. Walker Society, and this was at a time when I was just an associate, with loans, etc. When Dr. Walker passed away, I bequeathed $100,000 to the OMS Foundation. The least of what I learned from Dr. Walker was oral and maxillofacial surgery. From him, I learned what it really meant to be a Doctor, and what it meant to be a Man,” said Dr. Aschaffenburg in an OMS Foundation article written about him in 2012.