• July 20, 2018
Dr. Robert Rada, Mrs. Jayne Daniel


Dr. Robert E. Rada, Clinical Professor, Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, has been named the 2018 recipient of the College’s Jon Daniel Teaching Award, which confers upon him the distinction of also being a Jon Daniel Teaching Scholar.

The Daniel Award is named in honor of the late Oral Biology faculty member Dr. Jon Daniel, who passed away in 2009. It is presented to one faculty member each year for his or her exemplary contribution to the education of UIC College of Dentistry students.

  Selection for the award is based upon the recipient’s ability to engage students’ interest, curiosity, and motivation to learn; challenge students to achieve breadth and depth in their understanding and excellence in their skills; support students in their learning by fostering clarity, meaningfulness, and confidence; and respond to student needs in ways that keep learning at the center of the educational enterprise.

“Dr. Rada is involved with D-3, AS-3, D-4, and AS-4 students as the coordinator for the Special Care Track,” explained Dean Clark Stanford. “Dr. Rada’s nomination cited his ability to instill confidence and motivate students and noted his patience, mentorship and ‘can do’ attitude. Dr. Rada’s commitment to the academic mission of our College and his dedication to expanding our knowledge of special care dentistry make him an outstanding choice for this award. He has earned the admiration and respect of his colleagues and students by demonstrating the highest standard of professionalism and excellence in dental education.”

Dr. Rada was nominated by students Laurel Frausto, Gabija Revis, Gayatri Satam, Camilla Peralta-Sugano, and Melissa Villafane. He has introduced many dental students to individuals with special needs, “primarily the treatment of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as frail elderly and those with complex medical conditions,” Dr. Rada said.

“The students have accompanied me in numerous off-campus locations through a personal site agreement with the University of Illinois, as well as a negotiated affiliation agreement with Amita LaGrange and Hinsdale Hospitals,” he continued. “Students have been able to provide direct care of patients in my private practice and at various community sites, as well as under IV sedation and general anesthesia in the hospital.

“The students are performing procedures and caring for patients that rarely are experienced in an undergraduate curriculum,” Dr. Rada noted.

Dr. Daniel, who taught histology, was one of Dr. Rada’s teachers at the College when Dr. Rada was a freshman.

“I still have Dr. Daniel’s lecture notes,” Dr. Rada said. “The detail and organization of his lectures was incredible, yet he spoke in a style that allowed us all to understand the material. He was one of the few who would review the class co-op notes for completeness and quality.”

Dr. Rada thanked the Daniel family “for honoring his memory and continually sharing with the College the importance of his commitment to caring, excellence, professionalism, collegiality, and continued growth throughout one’s life” through the Daniel Award.

He also thanked Dr. Caswell Evans, Associate Dean for Prevention and Public Health Sciences, and Dr. Susan Rowan, Executive Associate Dean and Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, for giving him the freedom to develop extramural student rotations and the special care dentistry track.

“I hope that this award not only recognizes me but also the patients with whom the students have had the opportunity to interact,” Dr. Rada concluded. “Dentistry and healthcare providers in general have done a relatively poor job in providing optimum care to individuals with disabilities. I am certain that these experiences have helped make a step in the right direction in improving that care.”

Dean Stanford also congratulated the other faculty members nominated for the Daniel Award: Drs. Fatemeh Afshari, Asha Eapen, Ghadeer Thalji, and Tolga Tozum.

The Daniel Award Selection Committee was composed of Drs. Ales Obrez, Phil Patston, and Seema Ashrafi, and student Karen Homsi. Drs. Obrez, Patston, and Ashrafi are previous Daniel Award recipients.

Dr. Rada was presented with a plaque in recognition of his receiving the Daniel Award at the July faculty meeting.

Photo caption: from left to right, Dr. Robert Rada, Mrs. Jayne Daniel and Lauren Daniel

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