Top score for Parra
It’s a long way from Barcelona, Spain, but for Dr. Carlos Parra, the path to the U.S., and eventually, Dallas, has been one of professional growth and academic fulfillment. That journey recently included top honors from the certifying organization for periodontists.
The American Board of Periodontology hosts its oral exam just once a year, a rigorous three-hour process for each qualified candidate that entails detailed evaluation by four different examiners using objective criteria. With a score surpassing all 200 others who sat for the exam in May, Parra earned the Leslie M. Salkin Achievement Award, which he accepted in September at the American Academy of Periodontology’s annual meeting in San Diego.
“This is a prestigious award based on scoring designed to be very fair in an objective analysis that is truly an excellent test for certification,” says Dr. Jeffrey Rossmann, clinical professor in periodontics at Texas A&M College of Dentistry, who is currently serving a six-year term as an ABP director. The board established the achievement award after Salkin’s death in 2013 to honor his unparalleled 21 years of continuous participation in the board certification process.
“We feel very fortunate to have Dr. Parra here in Dallas,” Rossmann says. “He’s not only bright, his personality has lent itself well to our department. He relates so well to students and faculty.”
As for Parra, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Periodontics since November 2015, his career in academia began at the dental school he attended in Barcelona — where he earned a dental degree in 2009 and completed a fellowship in periodontics in 2010. That path continued its westerly course to Dallas after he completed specialty education at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 2015.
“I like to be teaching and doing research,” says Parra, whose mentor in Spain was also a Tufts-educated periodontist. “I decided it would be a good opportunity to grow by coming to the U.S.” When Parra completed graduate school at Tufts, the dental school in Dallas was a natural recommendation from faculty members with mutual connections.
“I enjoy working with the students. You have to think fast, and I like that,” continues Parra, who spends 60 to 70 percent of his campus time in the clinic with third- and fourth-year dental students. “I can feel the energy; it keeps me young.”
The balance of Parra’s time at the college is spent preparing and presenting lectures to students and working with his research mentor Dr. Thomas Diekwisch, department head of periodontics and director of the Center for Craniofacial Research and Diagnosis.
“I am interested in studying peri-implant diseases and periodontal regeneration,” Parra says. “Both offer lots of possibilities.”
Diekwisch is eager to see how the future unfolds.
“I am exhilarated and honored to have Carlos Parra on our faculty,” he says.