David Wands Fellowship

The David H. Wands Fellowship in Graduate Prosthodontics provides financial assistance to a student enrolled in the Graduate Prosthodontics program at the University of Washington School of Dentistry, leading to a Certificate in Prosthodontics and an MSD Degree.

Eligible candidates shall have graduated from a dental school in the United States. Selection will be based upon outstanding scholarship, clinical excellence, high moral character, contributions to research and interest in an academic career.

Wands Fellows named for 2017-18 and 2018-19

Dr. Jack Keesler and Dr. Dana Buglione have received David H. Wands Fellowship in Graduate Prosthodontics for 2017-18 and 2018-2019. Dr. Keesler was named the Wands fellow for 2017-18 and Dr. Buglione for 2018-19.

In March, Wands Fellows past and present gathered with School of Dentistry faculty and Dr. David Wands for a convivial lunch in Seattle. Standing, from left: Dr. Van Ramos, Director of Graduate Prosthodontics; Dr. Edmond Bedrossian, Dr. Jack Keesler, Dr. Dana Buglione, Dr. Jennifer Shilling Emerson, and Dr. Hai Zhang, Associate Professor of Restorative Dentistry. Seated, from left: Dr. James Johnson, at that time Interim Dean and now once again Chair of Endodontics, and Dr. Wands.

The unusual award of fellowships for two years, made in 2017, was prompted by the high quality of the candidates, said Dr. Van Ramos, Associate Professor of Restorative Dentistry and director of the Graduate Prosthodontics program.

“In the past, we have had many exceptional winners of the Wands fellowship, but this year we’re extremely fortunate to have two outstanding and deserving individuals,” he said.

Dr. Keesler and Dr. Buglione are the 15th and 16th recipients of the $10,000 fellowship, which was established by Dr. Wands, a longtime member of the Graduate Prosthodontics faculty at the UW who is now retired. He created the fellowship endowment to support and inspire recipients to pursue an academic career, either full or part time, in prosthodontics education.

“If we don’t have teachers in the dental school, then we don’t have graduates. It’s that simple,” Dr. Wands has said.

Dr. Keesler, a native of Wisconsin, earned his DDS from Marquette University in Milwaukee in 2016 after receiving his BS in biological science there in 2012. He said that he decided on prosthodontics in part because of discussions with his uncle, a prosthodontist for whom he worked during high school.

“I thought this was the thing for me,” he said. “Prosthodontics is the most artistic specialty.” Dr. Keesler is also a painter who works in oils and watercolors and has had his work shown at a museum back home in Neenah, Wis.

“I was drawn to the UW Graduate Prosthodontics program because of my mentor at Marquette, Dr. Michael Waliszewski, who taught our denture course,” he said. Dr. Waliszewski, who received his prosthodontics certification from the UW in 2005, became the first Wands Fellow there in 2003. The fellowship was initially established at the University of Maryland in 1994.

“Also, the wonderful reputation of the program and the numerous skilled practitioners who have graduated from here were a big draw,” Dr. Keesler added.

Dr. Keesler said he has not yet made firm post-residency plans, but knows that he would like to teach at least part-time at Marquette or another dental school.

Dr. Buglione, who originally hails from upstate New York, received his BA in fine arts in 2008 at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and earned his DMD in 2016 at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine.

He served in the Teach For America Corps from 2008 to 2010 and was a sixth-grade teacher in Hartford, Conn., from 2008 to 2012.

Even though he had several family members in dentistry – including his father, grandfather, and uncle – he had not planned to enter the field. As a teacher, he said, “I found that I really enjoyed interacting with families and kids and building relationships.”

However, he said, he missed the hands-on work he enjoyed as an artist, and ultimately decided that dentistry and prosthodontics would be his calling.

“For prosthodontics in particular, you really get to build a relationship with a patient,” he said. “I really find it satisfying to put people back together, not just physically but emotionally.”

The specialty also appealed to his artistic side. “When you replace teeth, you’re essentially designing a face,” he said.

He was attracted to UW Graduate Prosthodontics by the program’s strong focus on treatment planning, he said.

“Dental schools do a good job of training general dentists, but it’s often treating teeth in isolation. What I hope to get out of dental school is to look at a patient and say, ‘Here’s what’s going on’ – look at the patient comprehensively, and not just tooth by tooth.”

“Teaching is definitely part of my plan” after residency, he said, although he is still considering what form that may take. He might practice for several years to gain experience and then pursue full-time teaching, he said.

Dr. Wands, who was a UW School of Dentistry faculty member in the Department of Prosthodontics for 22 years, originally established the fellowship at the University of Maryland in 1994 in recognition of the shortage of dental school educators and to offer financial assistance to those interested in academic dentistry. In 1998, he launched a similar fellowship at the UW with a $500,000 commitment.

In 1967, Dr. Wands graduated with honors from the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery at the University of Maryland, and afterward served for seven years with the U.S. Public Health Service. He then returned to the University of Washington as a half-time faculty member and taught both undergraduate and graduate Prosthodontics, achieving the rank of Clinical Professor.

In addition to endowing the fellowship, Dr. Wands is a member of the UW School of Dentistry Dean’s Club and was instrumental in forming the UW Graduate Prosthodontic Alumni Association. In 1999, he was honored by the Dean’s Club with its highest award, Honorary Lifetime Member. He is a Life Member of the Academy of Prosthodontics and Pacific Coast Society for Prosthodontics.

Now retired from private practice in Olympia, Wash., he is an avid saltwater and freshwater fisherman as well as a master gardener.