Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine (CDM) has named Jeffrey Elo, DDS, MS, FACS, FACD, FICD, as the first recipient of an endowed professorship created to enhance oral diagnostics teaching and learning opportunities and to improve oral health care in the community.
Dr. Elo is the first Drs. Daljit and Elaine Sarkaria Professor of Advanced Oral Diagnosis and Therapeutics. The endowed professorship, supported by a generous donation from the Sarkaria family, will serve as the academic foundation and provide leadership in defining the vision and mission for WesternU CDM’s Center of Excellence in Advanced Oral Diagnosis and Therapeutics whose work will advance oral health and help the College gain further national recognition and prominence within the dental profession to attract and educate the top future dental providers.
CDM is one of only a handful of dental schools in the nation with a complete array of dental specialists and general dentists who are focused in this critical area of dentistry that supports patient care, education, and research efforts.
“Dr. Elo was chosen to be our Sarkaria endowed professor because he embodies much of what we aspire to do with the Center for Advanced Oral Diagnosis and Therapeutics. He is an oral and maxillofacial surgeon who is both nationally and locally recognized,” said CDM Dean Elizabeth Andrews, DDS, MS. “He advocates for legislation in both Sacramento and Washington, D.C., toward the improvement of oral health care to benefit patients statewide and nationally. He treats patients on a daily basis from our community and he also mentors other faculty.”
This professorship will allow CDM to hire a second oral and maxillofacial surgeon which will expand the number of patients CDM can treat and increase the number of students we can train, Elo said.
“To the Sarkaria family, I want to say, ‘Thank you.’ This is a tremendous gift that you’ve given us,” Elo said. “I can assure you that we are going to use it in the best possible way to serve the most people. We will use it to advance our mission which is to treat and help as many patients as we can while training up the next generation of dentists. The population of uninsured and underinsured is growing in California and there are a lot of people in need of oral health care. We have such a diverse faculty and student body, and we want to inspire as many of our students to become general dentists or dental specialists who will return to their communities to serve as leaders.”
Dr. Elo earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Indiana University School of Dentistry. He completed his specialty residency in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Loma Linda University Medical Center and obtained a Master of Science from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry. He is a past president of the California Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, American College of Dentists, and the International College of Dentists.
In addition to his faculty appointment as Professor in the College of Dental Medicine, Dr. Elo also maintains a faculty appointment within the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Loma Linda University School of Dentistry. Dr. Elo maintains active hospital staff appointments at Loma Linda University Medical Center and Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital. His surgical interests include maxillofacial trauma surgery, oral and maxillofacial pathology and reconstruction, preprosthetic bone graft reconstruction, management of complex medical patients, intravenous deep sedation, dentoalveolar surgery, and corrective jaw surgery. He joined WesternU CDM in 2012.
“Dr. Elo’s appointment as the inaugural Drs. Daljit and Elaine Sarkaria Professor of Advanced Oral Diagnosis and Therapeutics heralds a new era of excellence in dental health education, where cutting-edge and innovative education and practice converge to shape the future of oral well-being,” said WesternU Provost Paula M. Crone, DO ’92.
Dr. Elo will serve as the keynote speaker for the 13th Dr. Philip Pumerantz Distinguished Lectureship Sept. 27, 2023, which was also funded by the Sarkaria family.