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Surgeons share, collaborate with medical residents to put a smile on each patient’s face.

Surgeons share, collaborate with medical residents to put a smile on each patient’s face.
The face is essential. You eat with it, express your emotions with it, breathe with it, hear, smell and see with it. Sometimes it needs help to maintain the individuality every face offers the world.

Carle Health oral and maxillofacial surgeons in Champaign-Urbana take care of a broad scope of face needs. Babies with birth defects, adults with oral cancer, gunshot wounds and even a patient kicked in the face by a horse are among the types of patients they care for. Not only do they help patients’ faces look and function better, but they share their expertise with surgical residents to pass on that gift to more people in need – two a year for the past 75 years. A resident is a medical or dental school graduate who can provide direct care to a patient under the guidance of an attending physician while completing post-graduate training. The oral and maxillofacial residency holds the distinction of being the first residency program created at Carle in 1948.

“We have one of the top four-year programs in the country,” Ashley Manlove, DMD, MD, said. Dr. Manlove directs the oral and maxillofacial residency program, which is part of a department that conducts 250 to 350 procedures a month in a region stretching from Kankakee south to St. Louis and east to Indianapolis. The oral and maxillofacial residency at Carle is the only one of its kind in a Level I trauma center located south of Chicago.

Typically, only surgical fellows who have finished their residencies get the opportunity to work in head and neck oncology and cleft craniofacial surgery, but Carle residents have that opportunity, Jonathan Bailey, DMD, MD, and former director of the residency program for 14 years, said. And that additional experience is priceless.

“The Carle OMFS residents have better surgical training than the vast majority of residents across the country,” Dr. Bailey said.

Not only is the surgical training unique, but so is the culture. The program is one of mutual respect and collaboration with residents, Dr. Bailey said. “We have also always had strong support from Carle and the graduate medical education program.”

In her fourth and last year of residency, Knika Sethi, DDS, said, “Carle was my first choice of residency because of the reputation of the doctors and being able to experience things I could not experience with residencies elsewhere. The last four years have been a privilege for me.”

Plus, she said, “All of our attending physicians have created a culture of collaboration and they value our opinions and ideas.”

The number of males to females in dental school is 50-50 usually and just 8 percent of those in oral and maxiollfacial surgery are female, Dr. Sethi said. A native of Canada, she is just the third or fourth female to advance through the program over the 75 years. Once her residency is over, she plans to practice in Buffalo, NY.

Carle Health oral and maxillofacial surgeon Benjamin Schaefer, DDS, FACS, also completed his residency at Carle. He said he went through dental school knowing he wanted to be an oral surgeon. This was after he completed undergraduate work where he traveled on a humanitarian mission with the U.S. Navy and witnessed oral surgery done by a non-profit medical service agency in countries like Panama, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Dr. Schaefer’s residency training at Carle prepared him for a diverse scope of practice where he now treats patients in many areas ranging from removing and replacing bad teeth, to fixing facial fractures, and performing corrective jaw surgery.  “To me the greatest impact I can have is affecting someone’s quality of life. Whether that’s removing an infected tooth causing them pain, replacing a missing tooth so someone feels comfortable smiling, or changing the orientation of someone’s jaw so they can breathe and eat comfortably.  It’s my goal to leave each patient I see in a better situation than they were before.”

 “We are taking care of those ranging in age from babies who are hours old to centenarians,” Dr. Schaefer said. “It’s extremely rewarding.”

Categories: Culture of Quality, Redefining Healthcare, Community

Tags: Champaign-Urbana, Maxillofacial