Specialty delivery

October 23rd, 2013

07alumni-bell-2Dr. Colin Bell ’79, left. Photo: American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

Dr. Colin Bell is honored with the Presidential Achievement Award in oral and maxillofacial surgery.

Nearly 30 years of teaching part time in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery adds up to more than just a little instruction and mentoring of dental students. And that’s just the beginning.

There’s Dr. Colin Bell’s election to an eight-year term as a director and officer of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and 10 prior years as an examiner. Add to that his presidencies of state and regional specialty organizations and extensive committee service, and it’s clear why Bell received the Presidential Achievement Award during the recent meeting of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.

“Colin has made significant contributions to the specialty,” says Dr. Miro Pavelka ’77, ’81, immediate past president of AAOMS. “He is an excellent representative, and everybody respects what he says. He is known for being very organized and getting things done.”

Bell, a 1979 dental and 1984 oral surgery graduate of Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry, says his involvement is a logical outgrowth of the philosophy of service instilled in TAMBCD’s residents and students.

“I figure I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” Bell says. “I am not one who basks in the glow of awards. It is gratifying and humbling to be recognized by my colleagues in the field.”

07alumni-bell-1Bell explains that oral and maxillofacial surgery residents at TAMBCD have always been encouraged to give back through teaching after graduation.

“It’s not an option not to get involved,” he says. “You start at a lower level and contribute as you are able. I have had so many influential mentors here in oral surgery over the years. All of us encourage young professionals today to take someone under their wing.”

Bell is enthusiastic about the new privileges granted this year to the national oral surgery resident organization, which now has voting privileges on resolutions in the AAOMS House of Delegates. “The residents are excited about that, too,” he says.

As an AAOMS director, Bell helps shape policies and certification requirements while moving through the leadership ranks. Currently secretary-treasurer, he will become vice president next fall and assume the AAOMS presidency in fall 2015.

He estimates his national leadership commitments require six to eight weeks of travel and time away from the office each year. Though this encompasses weekends as well as weekdays, he’s always worked around family commitments. And each Wednesday morning you’ll find him — year in, year out — teaching dental students in the TAMBCD oral surgery clinic.

— Carolyn Cox