Endowed chair to honor Rees, advance stomatology
The importance of Texas A&M College of Dentistry’s Stomatology Center is not lost on patient Everett Lee, who received a stem cell transplant in 2002 to fight leukemia.
“I developed various graft vs. host disease side effects, and my transplant doctor sent me to Dr. Terry Rees at the Stomatology Center,” Lee says. “How blessed I was to be treated by a doctor who was sensitive to my total condition and expertly handled my unusual oral health problems. That even includes Dr. Rees gently cleaning my teeth with a pick due to my mouth’s extreme sensitivity.”
His experiences with multiple specialists made him appreciate his care at the center all the more: “Of all the ‘xx-ologists’ I have been to, there’s no one better than Dr. Rees!”
Thanks to the generosity of individual and corporate donors, the $1 million Dr. Terry Rees Endowed Chair in Stomatology will continue to advance patient care, education and research in stomatology at the College of Dentistry.
When fully funded, the endowed chair, named in honor of Rees ’68 (Perio), will bolster the center’s clinical research and staffing, initially through the appointment of a new director to propel its work investigating, diagnosing, and treating rare and debilitating mouth problems. At least 8,500 patients have benefited from the center’s specialized care since its doors opened in 1984.
“We deliver potentially life-saving diagnoses and procedures for patients and want to be sure that continues,” says Rees.
Established through grants from the Dallas-based Hoblitzelle Foundation, the center is one of only a handful of such referral, training and research sites in the U.S.
Original grant-seeking visionaries included Dr. William Hurt, then professor and chair of periodontics; Dr. William Binnie, then professor and chair of pathology; and Dr. Alan Menter, a dermatologist affiliated with Baylor University Medical Center.
When Rees retired in 2017, an opportunity to recognize his commitment to patients and students sparked new contributions that augmented the existing Terry Rees Fellowship in Stomatology/Periodontics to reach $500,000 in funding. This qualified it for matching funds from the Texas A&M University Office of the President. The fellowship was first established in 2012 through a gift from Dr. Bettye Whiteaker-Hurt ’68, ’70 (Perio) to the Baylor Oral Health Foundation to assist the center with enhancing stomatology expertise among dental professionals.
“In talking to periodontists around the country, I can’t tell you how many of them are addressing stomatology concerns in their practices every day,” Rees says. “I’d like to see us continue to extend opportunities for stomatology training to all of our undergraduate and graduate dental students.”