You probably didn’t know that Chicago is home to one of the most influential dentists of the last 30 years.
And that’s because you probably have never heard of Dr. Caswell Evans, so I would like to tell you more about him.
Dr. Evans was one of my (Dr. Homann’s) mentors while at the UIC College of Dentistry and last week was his official retirement as the Associate Dean of Prevention and Public Health Sciences.
Even though Dr. Evans has a long list of amazing accomplishments, I would like to focus on the two that I feel have made the biggest impact.
Did you know that, prior to 2000, the Surgeon General’s Report never directly addressed oral health in a meaningful way? Thanks to Dr. Evans, this is now an integral part of the report. He spearheaded the first ever Surgeon General’s report that focused on oral health in America. This is when the mouth/body connection really became commonplace knowledge for the general public. Unless you are a dentist, this was likely the first time you had ever heard about the association between oral diseases (like gum disease) and diabetes or heart disease. Even if you never took a class taught by Dr. Evans, you probably know a piece of information about oral health thanks to him.
Dr. Evan’s second amazing accomplishment was creating the country’s premier extramural rotation program for 4th year dental students. He created a program that sent students out to community clinics to help provide care to those in need. Many of these clinics were in Chicago and its suburbs. However, as the program grew, rotations were added in Rockford, Champaign, Rock Island, Colorado, China, Africa, and many more. These rotations did so many fantastic things like providing the students with experiences that expanded their skills and knowledge of what a dentist can be, and, of course, there was the immediate benefit of providing care for those in need. Most people only see the “private practice” type model of dentistry, but Dr. Evans introduced the students at UIC to a more diverse world of dentistry. So many members of Dr. Homann’s graduating class, including Dr. Homann, chose not only to pursue private practice, but also make community dentistry a part of their career because of their experiences in this program.
Congratulations Dr. Evans on your retirement! It was an incredible honor to be asked to speak at your retirement ceremony. When the Executive Director of the American Dental Association and the Dean of the entire College of Dentistry speak at your retirement party, you know your career has had a tremendous and lasting impact.
I will always be grateful for everything you have done for not only me, but the entire profession of dentistry, as well as those in need.
Dr. Brian Homann