June 20, 2008

New chair plans to expand Oral Surgery’s reach

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Samuel McKenna, D.D.S., M.D.

New chair plans to expand Oral Surgery’s reach

Samuel McKenna, D.D.S., M.D., F.A.C.S., has been named chair of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

McKenna was formerly director of the Residency Program and takes great joy in the “rewarding and exciting challenge of resident education and training.”

Keeping this focus on teaching, McKenna said he will work to expand the department's reach.

“I feel that the local and regional dental and oral surgical communities are very important, and I am going to open our doors to these communities by providing continuing education opportunities, professional collegial exchange and enhanced access to our faculty and clinical services,” said McKenna.

By expanding into the community, McKenna will be sharing Vanderbilt's uniquely broad scope of services offered in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

“The trend has been toward a contraction of the scope of oral surgical services in the community. We at Vanderbilt, in addition to providing routine surgical services (tooth extractions, biopsies, dental implants, etc.), continue to provide vital services,” said McKenna.

Those vital services include the management of facial trauma, deformities of the facial skeleton, cleft palate deformities, head and neck infections and the management of routine oral surgical problems in medically compromised patients.

McKenna's research has also covered a broad range of topics, expanding into areas such as leukemia and diabetes management. This expertise has made McKenna a sought-after teacher in the dental and medical communities at Vanderbilt and beyond.

McKenna earned his dental degree from the UCLA School of Dentistry and his medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He completed his residency at Vanderbilt, and has been practicing, teaching and conducting research here since his postgraduate training.