USC University of Southern California

CDA Foundation Honors Thomas Levy

Thomas Levy
Thomas Levy

The California Dental Association Foundation has honored Thomas Levy, Ostrow School of Dentistry associate professor of clinical dentistry and director of undergraduate endodontics, as this year’s recipient of its Dr. Arthur A. Dugoni Faculty Award.

CDA established the award in 2004 in recognition of Dugoni’s accomplishments in dental education and organized dentistry. The award acknowledges and supports eligible faculty affiliated with the state’s six dental schools for their exceptional leadership, innovation, collaboration, compassion, philanthropic spirit and integrity in dental education. It was developed to support individuals who contribute to the scholarly and creative activities of California dental students.

After graduating with his DDS from the University of the Pacific in 1975, Levy went on to receive a master’s degree in oral biology and an endodontic certificate in 1978. He currently devotes his time to his career as endodontic clinical director at the Ostrow School of Dentistry at USC.

Levy was selected for the award in part because of his ability to demonstrate leadership, creativity and innovation — providing students with hands on experience in low socio-economic areas to teach the importance of leadership in health care in their communities. Levy is also responsible for developing the research on platelet-derived growth factor role in osseous repair in Central America in collaboration with an El Salvadorian dental school. In an effort to increase students’ surgical experiences and provide reciprocal education, Levy has organized 15 trips to Central America, believing it is vital for residents to learn how to give back to a unique group of citizens.

Levy presented at the 2012 American Association of Endodontics on the topic of how today’s students learn and how the millennial student will apply their education to their future practice in dentistry.

“The millennial student fascinates me and understanding their traits is a constant study,” said Levy.

By establishing a program to provide endodontic care at the Children’s Dental Center and the Union Rescue Mission in downtown Los Angeles, Levy has collaborated with community-based organizations to provide the highest level of endodontic care available for those patients. Levy has also provided multiple continuing education courses with Central American Universities and raised more than $700,000 in grants for the USC Endodontic Program.

Levy’s philanthropic efforts were also considered for the award as he regularly gives his time and materials to help homeless veterans as part of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Stand Downs, which provide services to homeless veterans. Levy is vice president of Omega Kappa Upsilon, providing scholarships to outstanding dental students. In addition, Levy donates to USC’s Give Back to the Community Education Fund and the American College of Endodontics’ Endowment Fund to support research.

“As a teacher, it is extremely important that my students are competent, compassionate and confident,” said Levy. “The best way to teach is by being a good role model, and I work every day to teach from my heart as well as my brain.”

Article courtesy of the CDA Foundation.