TAMBCD retirements: Dr. Dean Hudson

July 8th, 2015

Dr. Dean Hudson during his June 30 retirement reception  It’s not easy overseeing a dental school’s clinical operations. Take, for instance, Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry, with 15 clinics boasting more than 300 chairs, which throughout the year seat more than 20,000 patients. For the past 10 years, this responsibility is one Dr. Dean Hudson has handled with a calm smile on his face and Styrofoam coffee cup in hand.

As associate dean for clinical affairs, part of Hudson’s purview included oversight of decisions regarding clinic operations, patient services, risk management/quality assurance, and management of office and clinic space throughout the school. The way he handled that role was the focus of speeches by colleagues during his retirement reception on June 30, his last day at the college.

Dr. Lawrence Wolinsky, TAMBCD dean, congratulated Hudson on his ability to “pull off one of the most difficult positions in the school,” referring to the 100,000 patient visits that Hudson and his staff manage each year as well as a lighthearted jest: “When Hudson strolls into the offices of fellow faculty and staff members, they can’t be sure whether he’s there in regard to a clinic concern or to shuffle office space!

“But whenever anyone needed any help, be it with clinical concerns, media or tours, Dean’s answer to everything was, ‘Yes, yes I’ll be there,’” Wolinsky continued. “The response has always been the same. You can always count on Dean.”

Hudson joined the TAMBCD faculty in 1993, first overseeing the third-year dental student clinical fixed prosthodontics program and later serving as the D3 comprehensive care director and chair of the Department of Restorative Sciences. He assumed the role of associate dean for clinical affairs in 2005 at the request of then-dean Dr. James S. Cole. During those years Hudson maintained a private practice in Dallas until 2012.

Dr. Stephen Griffin now occupies Hudson’s former role. In his previous position as executive director of clinics, Griffin has worked with Hudson for several years, but their professional ties go back to Hudson’s days as the D3 comprehensive care director.

“I couldn’t think of a better guy to prepare me for this position,” Griffin told a crowd of co-workers, friends and family gathered at the Roberts Hospital Tower, part of Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas. “He has been the best mentor I could ever hope for.”

Family, friends and co-workers look at an old photo given to Dr. Dean Hudson, right, during his June 30 retirement reception.

Family, friends and co-workers look at a photo given to Dr. Dean Hudson, right, during his June 30 retirement reception.

After remarks from Dr. Charles Berry, associate dean for academic affairs, and Dr. Steve Karbowski, chair of restorative sciences — whose friendship with Hudson dates back to their dental school days in Houston — Hudson took the microphone to share remarks, and promptly shifted the focus to his team.

“If you’re managing anyone, you’re only as good as your staff,” Hudson said. “It is unbelievable what it takes and the effort to support dental training and patient care; and the constant here has been the incredible folks working on our staff and the quality of our faculty.”

Prior to 1993, Hudson served 21 years in the U.S. Army Dental Corps. A board-certified prosthodontist, his tours of duty included five years at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii; the Academy of Health Sciences faculty at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio; and prosthodontic residency training at Letterman Army Medical Center in San Francisco’s then-active Presidio military installation. He later served as officer-in-charge of dental clinics in Frankfurt, Germany, and in Fort Sill, Okla.

— Jennifer Fuentes