PATERSON, NJ - City resident Deborah Brown is one of five participants in a new program to address the shortage of faculty in dental education.

The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey–New Jersey Dental School (NJDS) is helping to address one of dental education’s greatest challenges: a critical, nationwide shortage of faculty. With a $2.5 million U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant, the school is training 45 practicing general and pediatric dentists to teach at dental schools in the Middle Atlantic States (New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania).

Sign Up for E-News

The first five participants began the two-year program, “From Practice to Preceptor,” on October 16. They will learn a broad set of skills, enabling them to teach, fill administrative and leadership roles, provide dental care, and conduct research in an academic environment. Special emphasis will be on developing culturally competent faculty members with expertise in treating underserved populations. The end result will be increased access to oral health care for everyone who seeks it.

The first participants in “From Practice to Preceptor” are:


  • Maria Ambriosio, a general dentist who practices in Wayne, N.J., and lives in Wayne
  • Deborah Brown, a NJDSgraduate and general dentist at Dental Health Associates in Plainfield who lives in Paterson
  • Angie Papandrikos, a pediatric dentist in Tenafly who lives in Wyckoff
  • Valerie Rico, a NJDS graduate and general dentist in Edison who lives in Manalapan
  • Bradley Smith, a NJDS graduate and general dentist in Marlton who lives in Mount Laurel

During the first year, trainees will spend one day per week at NJDS’s Newark campus, observing and teaching in the clinic and pre-clinic. Working alongside experienced faculty, they will learn to deliver culturally competent care and to treat and interact with special populations, such as HIV/AIDS patients and children and adults with physical and/or intellectual disabilities. Hands-on experience will include observing and treating patients at: the Special Care clinics on the UMDNJ Newark campus and at Matheny Medical and Educational Center in Peapack, N.J., a hospital and educational center for people with medically complex developmental disabilities; the NJDS Oral Medicine Clinic in Newark; the University Dental Center at Galloway, N.J., which treats a highvolume of medically complex patients; and the John W. Cronin Dental Center in Northfield, N.J., which treats a high volume of nursing-home residents and Medicaid patients.

Second-year trainees will plan and conduct community service projects that involve applying sealants to children at one of the state’s at-risk schools.  In addition, they each will be assigned aclinical research mentor and will develop a research design, which they cancomplete in the future to strengthen their scholarly activities. And, one day each week they will teach at a community-based site. A unique feature of the program is that participants will present and attend Grand Rounds with the Family Medicine Department residents at UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine (SOM) in Stratford, N.J., and at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) in Newark. They also will be part of inter-professional teams through NJDS’s Community Health Department and the Family Medicine departments at SOM and NJMS.     

The program is free of charge for qualified practicing general and pediatric dentists. Those who enroll earn continuing dental education credits, gain access to many of the school’s resources and receive a small stipend.

For more information on the program or to register, call the NJDS Office of Continuing Dental Education at 973-972-6561. 


The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) is New Jersey’s only health sciences university with more than 6,000 students on five campuses attending three medical schools, the State’s only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and New Jersey’s only school of public health. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, which provides a continuum ofhealthcare services with multiple locations throughout the State.