Department of Dental Anesthesiology: News


Department Update:

The Department of Dental Anesthesiology has recently seen significant advances towards achieving its educational, academic, research, and service goals. The department’s clinical area on the first floor of Salk Hall Annex has undergone a face lift.  Anesthesia suites have been upgraded and the walls have been tiled.  Sinks, counter tops, and chairs have been replaced. The waiting area and some offices have been painted, new furniture purchased, and carpet has been installed. The renovation is part of the school-wide initiative to improve the facilities and appearance for patient comfort and faculty productivity.

The program, fully accredited in 2008, continues to be a leader in preparing dentist-anesthesiologists for the future. July 1,2013 was the first year the program accepted four residents since the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) approved a major change in our graduate hospital dental anesthesiology residency, allowing our program to expand the number of residents enrolled each year from two to four.

The curriculum, addressing the management of medical emergencies offered for predoctoral and postdoctoral students, has undergone significant advances and scope of potential treatments. Beyond American Heart Association Basic Life Support and didactic instruction, the Department of Dental Anesthesiology has partnered with the Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education, and Research (WISER Center), which provides simulation-based training in medical emergency management for our dental students.  We believe that the use of this cutting edge technology will be a first in dental education.

The Center for Patients with Special Needs continues to grow and offer students and residents unique training opportunities in the anesthetic management of these challenging patients.  The center is located on the third floor of Salk Hall, and coordinates anesthesia services with dental care for these patients.  The center has two fully equipped anesthesia suites, which permit safe administration of general anesthesia.  Four additional operatories provide total intravenous anesthesia and intravenous sedation.  An advance course providing instruction in the management of the unique anesthesia, behavioral, social, and oral problems of this population is now offered in conjunction with the student clinical experiences.


Faculty Update

Paul A. Moore DMD, PhD, MPH

Dr. Moore provided leadership for the department for seven years since the retirement of the previous chair, Dr. C. Richard Bennett. He stepped down as the chair of the department July 31, 2013. The department saw significant expansion of the graduate residency program, the addition of full-time faculty, the development of clinical research activities, and an increase in scientific publication, as well as an increase in teaching and service responsibilities during Dr. Moore's time as Chair.  



Joseph A. Giovannitti, Jr. , DMD
Professor, Interim Chair
Director of Anesthesia Services, Center for Patients with Special Needs

Dr. Giovannitti was named Interim Chair of the Department August 1, 2013.

Dr. Giovannitti completed the promotion process this year and was promoted from Assistant Professor to Professor.
In addition to his responsibilities for predoctoral students in local anesthesia and clinical medicine, Dr. Giovannitti has been active as the faculty advisor for the student organization, Dentist Anesthesiologist Club for Students (DACS), externship coordinator for prospective dental anesthesiology residents, and residents’ journal club coordinator.  This year he completed his term as President of the American Dental Board of Anesthesiology, and continues to serve as an examiner for the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario.  He is active as a CODA site visitor for new and existing dental anesthesiology residency programs, and has presented at several national meetings this past year.  

Dr. Giovannitti is a member of the SDM’s curriculum committee and Dean’s Council, and is the recipient of the Class of 2011 Faculty Appreciation Award.


Michael A. Cuddy, DMD


Residency Director for the Department of Dental Anesthesiology

Dr. Cuddy, along with Drs. Giovannitti, Moore, and Heinrichs, has established a simulation course in conjunction with the WISER Center.  This course was first presented to the third-year class of 2012, and continued with the class of 2013 in the spring semester.  The intent of the course is to simulate real-time medical emergencies with the use of high fidelity mannequins at the WISER Center, tying in the didactic material to actual hands-on exposure.  The course was also presented as a C.E. program in 2011. Both courses were a success and participants have conveyed great feedback.


Matthew Cooke, DDS
Assistant Professor

Dr. Matthew Cooke joined the department as a full-time faculty member in April 2011. Dr. Cooke practiced in Richmond, Virginia since 1997. Dr. Cooke specialized in dental anesthesiology and pediatric dentistry. Since joining the department, Dr. Cooke has written articles, is participating in a new research project, and has been a great addition to our department.


Part-time Faculty:

The part-time faculty who have joined the Department of Dental Anesthesiology are valuable assets to our teaching and service mission. Dr. Chester Sokolowski who graduated from our program has a very busy private practice in Connecticut and Virginia and still finds time to come back and teach three days a month.  We are fortunate that he has joined Drs. Jeff Borandi, Robert Bigham, Jeffrey Martz and Chris Lewis as part-time clinical faculty in the department.  Their clinical expertise and experience are valuable assets in training the residents in private practice anesthesia. Dr. Laverick continues to contribute to the teaching mission of the department.  His clinical experiences add to his course offerings in medical emergencies and sedation; his courses are always well received by the predoctoral students.


Resident Update:

Drs. Anthony Wach , Bradley Farr and Richard Montandon are our senior residents. They will be completing their training this year and have several opportunities awaiting them after graduation.
Drs. Elliot Haybarger, Slaton Hoffner, and Brent Kanar are our first year residents.  They are performing at a high level in a very challenging training year, which includes rotations in medicine, ICU, obstetrics, and UPMC Mercy.
Dr. Matthew Castele and Dr. James Crawford both graduates of the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, Dr. Bryant Cornelius private practice in Utah and Dr. Sean Thoms a graduate from Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine  are our anesthesia trainees.  They have adapted well to the rigors of dental anesthesiology training.  


Staff Update:

Deborah Bowers, our department’s staff assistant and scheduler, is responsible for maintaining the clinic and inventory of the entire school’s emergency drug kits; while coordinating the department’s varied and busy schedule with students and other areas of the dental school.

In December 2010, she completed the requirements and was awarded a certificate in Community Health Assessment through the College of General Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.  Deb also holds an Expanded Function Dental Assistant license in Pennsylvania and is a Certified Dental Assistant through the Dental Assisting National Board.

Darcie Burns our full-time administrative secretary. Darcie works directly with Dr. Giovannitti , and is responsible for the coordinating of research and all of the departments curriculum demands. Darcie has quickly adjusted to her new position and contributes a positive outlook to everything she does.
Lisa Lehman, administrative assistant, works in coordinating and assisting the department faculty in the many responsibilities they have in the dental school.  She attends numerous meetings with UPMC GME to transition the anesthesiology residents from the dental school to the hospital system. Along with this major task, which is vital to the department, Lisa does all of the outside ordering with various vendors while keeping up with the latest technology and training.


Continuing Education Update:

The department’s faculty maintains a very busy continuing education schedule participating in many programs sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh or by various regional and national organizations.  Examples of University sponsored programs include nitrous oxide certification, local anesthesia for dental hygienists, enteral sedation, and medical emergency management. 

For a complete listing of programs offered by our faculty, please contact the Center for Continuing Education at 412-648-8370.