DCG awards highlight importance of ‘the people side of dentistry’

Kim Capehart, DDS, believes as a dentist and an educator, it’s important for him to lead by example and help as many people as possible.

It’s that attitude that ultimately led to Capehart being named a Fellow by the Pierre Fauchard Academy (PFA).

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Kim Capehart, DDS

“It’s quite an honor and I’m very fortunate to have been nominated. I truly believe that as dentists it’s our duty to help as many people as we can,” said Capehart, interim associate dean of Academic Affairs and Advanced Education at Augusta University’s Dental College of Georgia. “We are setting an example for our students, and that should be about more than just teaching in the classroom. Students pay attention to if you are truly helping others, so it’s important to set a good example.”

Fellows of the PFA are chosen from among ethical dentists who have made outstanding contributions to the art and science of dentistry or to society. Fellowship is by invitation only and candidates must have graduated from an accredited dental school.

Capehart, who was recently promoted to associate professor and has been on faculty at DCG since 2018, is an active member of the Augusta community, helping with numerous clinics, mentoring dental students, volunteering both across the United States and abroad, and even lending a hand with outside endeavors like coaching youth basketball.

He also holds a Doctorate of Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration, and he uses his experiences from 20 years of private practice to help coach other clinicians across the region and country with practice management.

Capehart serves as chair of the DCG Student Affairs Committee, faculty advisor for the DCG’s chapter of the American Student Dental Association, president of the Eastern District Dental Society of the Georgia Dental Association, test constructor for the Integrated National Board Dental Examination, site visitor for the Commission on Dental Accreditation and a journal reviewer for five different journals. He was the 2018 recipient of the Judson C. Hickey Outstanding Faculty Award.

Closer to home, he hopes to mentor and develop faculty in his department, increase faculty and staff retention and build a bigger and better department. He calls upon his ability to speak two different languages — “friend and chair,” as he describes them — to navigate tough scenarios.

“Even before I joined the faculty at DCG, when I was solely focused on my private practice, I volunteered and gave back because I enjoyed it. I have met amazing people, I’ve had opportunities to experience different things with different people and it’s been amazing,” Capehart said.

On top of being a clinician and teacher, Capehart is also an accomplished researcher, another area he sees as a chance to help students through mentorship. This semester, Capehart mentored a pair of students through research presentations for a national convention while continuing to work on his own publications.

But he is quick to note that he is a clinician first and foremost. His patients are his top priority.

“I’m a clinician. I love the people side of my profession. That’s probably one of my favorite things about dentistry is you get to see your patients every six months, so you get to really know them and their family and watch them grow up,” Capehart said.

Joining Capehart in being inducted as PFA Fellows were several DCG alumni, including Noell Craig, DMD; Jacqueline Delash, DMD; Travis Garnto, DMD; and Rebekah Hancock, DMD.

Along with having five Fellows named, DCG was well represented with several other accolades. Mira Ghaly, DMD, associate professor in the Department of Periodontics and interim program director of the Periodontics Residency Program, was awarded the Excellence in Dental Education Award and Ponnie Davis Poisal, DMD, (DMD, 1994), a clinical instructor at DCG, was awarded the Volunteer Faculty Award.

Three senior dental students also picked up awards. Cathy Tran and Tigerwin “Tiger” Yang were both named 2024 Mark Ritz Research Scholars and Dionne Aikhionbare was named a Pierre Fauchard Academy Scholar.

“Having the Dental College of Georgia so well represented with the Pierre Fauchard Academy shows just how well our school does instilling our mission and values in our students, alumni and faculty, and how much each of those groups care about advancing our profession in a positive direction with ethics, morals, good clinical care and accountability,” Capehart said. “I’m very proud to be part of this organization that advocates to all those qualities that we try to instill in our students every day.”

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Written by
Milledge Austin

Milledge Austin is a senior communications and marketing strategist for Communications and Marketing at Augusta University. Contact him to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at miaustin@augusta.edu.

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man with glasses standing in front of blue background Written by Milledge Austin

Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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