The History of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in Louisville

Specialty Education in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery – then Oral Surgery – began in Louisville in the second decade of the twentieth century at the then new, state of the art Louisville General Hospital.   From 1914 – 1918, E.C. Hume, a 1913 graduate of the Louisville College of Dentistry, served as informal “intern” followed by Frank Hower, DDS “Dental Intern” from 1918 through 1921 under the tutelage of H. Horace Grant, MD, Newton Yeager, DDS, Frank Rounds, DDS  and A.P. Williams, DDS, practitioners in the community and faculty at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry  (The Louisville College of Dentistry had been incorporated into the University of Louisville in 1917).

H. Horace Grant, MD and Newton Yeager, DDS

Frank Rounds, DDS and A.P. Williams, DDS

Louisville General Hospital Administrative Staff and House Officers

Hume was the head and neck cancer surgeon in Louisville for 35 years and Hower in 1947 was a founding member of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.  Interestingly, Rounds, Williams, Hume and Hower all served as Presidents of the American Society of Oral Surgeons and Exodontists, the forerunner of the AAOMS.  Newton Yeager, DDS was the first dentist in Louisville to limit his practice to oral surgery.  (Oral surgery was then a medical specialty).  In 1924, believing the future was in Dental Radiology, he sold his oral surgery practice to H. E. Saunders, DDS of Bowling Green.  The radiology practice failed and he moved to Lexington where he practiced oral surgery through WWII.





E.C.Hume, DDS and Frank Hower, DDS

For the next 25 years, various dentists served as “Dental Interns” for periods varying from 2 to 4 years learning the specialty of oral surgery.   These were the days when house officers served at the hospitals and community physicians and dentists provided gratis faculty coverage as their social responsibility to both care for the less fortunate and teach.  The most notable of these individuals were EC Hume, DDS, Professor of Oral Surgery from 1924-1959 and Frank Hower, DDS, Professor of Oral Surgery from 1925-1962.

Following World War II, a formal one year program in oral surgery was led by Robert Cooper, DMD, a former “intern”, who directed the program while attending medical school.  Dr. Cooper later became a leading figure in plastic and reconstructive surgery in this area.  Frank  Stewart, DMD , who later directed the OMS program at the University of Oklahoma, trained at this time.   In 1950 Louisville began a 2-year program, recruiting William Fields, DMD, who had just completed the one-year program at Cincinnati, as the first second year resident.   Fields practiced in Louisville his entire career becoming one of the pillars in organized dentistry and oral surgery in the southeastern part of the United States.  Charles Hutton, DDS, a 1954 graduate of the program, directed the OMS Residency at Indiana University for many years.  Richard Herd, DDS was program director from 1950 thru 1956.

Harold Boyer, DDS

In 1956 , under the direction of Harold Boyer, DDS, the 3-year program – Oral Surgery Internship, didactic year at the University of Pennsylvania, St Louis University, Alabama, etc. – followed by a final year of residency – was begun.   These were the “pyramidal programs” which took 4 interns and only 1 or 2 residents.   This resulted in a “mad scramble” for positions and many partially trained individuals resulted.   In 1969, by the decree of the Council on Dental Education, the pyramidal programs were terminated, with all programs which qualified offering integrated 3-year residencies.  The “didactic” education was to be incorporated into the programs primarily in the form of off service rotations to other services and ”in house”  basic science education.  Many of the existing oral surgery programs did not have the where with all to offer the comprehensive program.  They either closed or became GPRs.

Leon Fiedler, DDS and Brian Alpert, DDS

Shelly Caulder, DMD and Martin Steiner, DDS

The modern Louisville program began in 1973 with the arrival of Leon D Fiedler, DDS as Chairman.   He built the department with Brian Alpert, DDS as residency director, Shelley Caulder, DMD and Martin Steiner, DDS as faculty.  The program “ownership” was transferred from the Louisville General Hospital to the University of Louisville School of Dentistry in 1979.   In 1981 the program moved to the new facility at the Ambulatory Care Building of the new University of Louisville Hospital.   In 1989 by mandate of the Council on Dental Education the program was extended to 4 years.

Louisville General Hospital

In 1987, the School of Dentistry was reorganized, creating “mega-departments”.  Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, OMS Pathology, OMS Radiology, Hospital Dentistry  (GPR) and  Pain and Anxiety Control. were amalgamated into a Department of Surgical and Hospital Dentistry.  International Service Learning, Zoo Dentistry, Sterilizer Monitoring Service and Outcomes Research were added in later years.  Brian Alpert, DDS has Chaired this department since its inception.

George Kushner, DMD, MD

In 1990, with the enthusiastic support of the University of Louisville School of Medicine, the MD required 6-year program was begun.   George Kushner, DMD, MD joined the faculty in 1992 becoming the residency program director in 1994.

Gerald Verdi, DDS, MD

For a 35 year period, beginning in 1973, the program benefited greatly from the enthusiastic  participation of Gerald D. Verdi, DDS, MD, an extremely gifted oral and maxillofacial surgeon/plastic and reconstructive surgeon in the community.  He included and trained our residents and faculty in the existing area of cleft lip and palate and the developing field of craniofacial surgery.

In 2003 Paul Tiwana, DDS, MD, a pediatric craniofacial surgeon joined the faculty.   After a most productive 6 years, he became residency program director at the University of Texas Southwest Medical Center in Dallas.

In 2015 Lewis Jones, DMD, MD a fellowship trained pediatric craniofacial surgeon joined the department to further develop and advance the program in the areas of pediatric, cleft, and craniofacial surgery.

In January 2016, Dr. Robert Flint joined the faculty as Associate Professor, bringing with him 20 years of private practice as a Board Certified Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon in Utah.

The modern program has resulted in 84 graduates practicing full scope oral and maxillofacial surgery from border to border and coast to coast – including Hawaii.  76 are American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Diplomates,  No one has left the specialty.  Three are oral and maxillofacial surgery program directors.   Only 3 individuals have dropped out of the program during this period.