The advanced program in orofacial pain at the University of Southern California (USC) Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry has received a significant financial endowment, ensuring its place at the school for years to come, thanks to a generous donation from Dr. Glenn T. Clark and Dr. Roseann Mulligan.
The unspecified donation will provide long-term funding to the program, which was the first of its kind in the nation when it was launched, and that extensive support was a factor that inspired the gift. In recognition of their generosity, the program has been named the Dr. Glenn T. Clark Orofacial Pain and Oral Medicine program.
“We, at Ostrow, are honored that Drs. Clark and Mulligan have chosen to invest in this program, which not only prepares some of the nation’s finest practitioners but also grants our DDS students educational benefits by seeing and learning about this important field,” said dean Avishai Sadan.
“Because there are so few programs out there, each one is vital since they only produce a small number of highly trained practitioners in these disciplines,” said Clark, who is the assistant dean of distance education and the director of the orofacial pain program.
“Moreover, these programs do not satisfy the demand that patients with various diseases, dysfunctions, and disorders of the orofacial and oropharyngeal area have. Clearly, we need more trained practitioners in both disciplines,” said Clark.
Orofacial pain and oral medicine practitioners treat more than 300 diseases of the mouth and face, including temporomandibular dysfunction, sleep apnea, and orofacial pain, the school said. Since its founding in 2004, the program has educated nearly 40 practitioners.
In 2012, Clark launched a hybrid online/on-campus version of the master’s degree and certificate programs in orofacial pain and oral medicine that uses a combination of weekly live webinar sessions with faculty and other residents, video lectures, quizzes, and intensive on-campus boot camps to solidify the online learning.
“What we’re doing is changing the face of graduate education in dentistry,” said Clark. “Traditionally, you had to quit your dental practice to get training. Now you can continue your career, work hard, get advanced training, and change the direction of your practice and the mix of patients you see.”
Since their inception, the hybrid master’s degree and certificate programs in orofacial pain and oral medicine have graduated more than 100 highly skilled practitioners, the school said.
Clark was a biochemistry major at California State University at San Jose before completing his DDS at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). He then earned a master’s degree in dental research from the University of Rochester and finished a two-year general practice residency at Eastman Dental Center.
In 2003, he joined Ostrow’s faculty, determined to start the orofacial pain and oral medicine program, the school said. In addition to implementing the program, he started Ostrow’s distance education enterprise, which offers master’s degrees and certificate programs in orofacial pain and oral medicine, pain medicine, geriatric dentistry, and community oral health. There is a certificate program in oral pathology and radiology as well.
Clark is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orofacial Pain and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain and the American Academy of Oral Medicine. In 2006, he received a lifetime achievement award from the American Academy of Orofacial Pain.
Mulligan earned her bachelor’s degree from Arizona State and her DDS from UCLA. She then earned a master’s degree in gerontology from USC and completed a general practice residency at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital.
In 1982, Mulligan joined the USC dental school as an assistant professor. Today, she is the associate dean for community health programs and hospital affairs and the Charles M. Goldstein Professor of Community Dentistry, overseeing all of the efforts of Ostrow’s Community Oral Health Programs.
Mulligan is a Diplomate of the American Board of Special Care Dentistry. She also sits on the Ostrow Board of Councilors and was named the 2020 recipient of the Geis Award for Achievement for Dental Educators for her longtime contributions to dental education.
This is not the first gift that Clark and Mulligan have bestowed on Ostrow. In 2015, on its thirtieth anniversary, Ostrow’s Special Patients Clinic was endowed and named the Dr. Roseann Mulligan Special Patients Clinic, ensuring its continued operation long into the future, the school said.