Army educates residents at the Texas A&M College of Dentistry
When the U.S. Army chooses to educate a pediatric dentist to serve the children of military families, it always uses the Texas A&M College of Dentistry as its training site. When the college first began training residents for the Army in the early 1980s, it was one of several sites around the country, but now, it’s the only one for pediatric dentistry. The graduate program regularly accepts one to two Army dentists per year.
“We have always enjoyed having the Army residents in our program because they are very responsible individuals who come with a lot of experience after dental school,” said Alton McWhorter, DDS, professor and department head of pediatric dentistry. “They are also used to working as part of a larger team where everyone helps each other. As a result, they easily adapt to our challenging, busy training schedule.”
Christopher Luevano, a second-year pediatric dentistry resident, is one such dentist, and he was recently promoted to U.S. Army major. He earned his dental degree at the University of Southern California and completed an Advanced Education in General Dentistry program at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, after joining the Army. There he met Dr. Bernard Hennessy, now clinical associate professor in diagnostic sciences at the College of Dentistry, who was then on active duty as director of the Army’s AEGD program. Hennessy administered the oath at Luevano’s recent promotion ceremony.
Luevano intends to continue his Army career full time after completing educational leave in June 2018. He and his wife, Melissa, who currently serves the Army in Washington, D.C., as a military police officer, welcome any future assignment.
“Melissa and I are both from California, but we met in Germany when we were stationed there,” Luevano explains. “It’s kind of funny, two Californians met in Germany. We both like to travel and don’t have kids yet, so we are totally open to any adventure.”
Luevano is one of a long line of United States service members educated at Texas A&M, which owes its existence to the Morrill Act, which required all students to participate in military training. The university has maintained a strong military tradition over the years.