Game Changers

Five individuals going above and beyond to better the world we live in.

This annual report was made possible by the Maurice Amado Foundation.

Lesley McGovern

Bedford, Massachusetts

At Ostrow since

What inspires you?
Life inspires me. Every day is a gift, and I am inspired to spend my time here helping to educate and motivate others to have a positive, healthy and happy life.

Definition of success
Success is following your own path and achieving what you set out to do.

Lesley McGovern

After practicing as a dental hygienist for four years, Lesley McGovern longed to deepen her knowledge of dentistry.

“I wanted to have a better understanding of the scientific literature and research to be able to better educate both patients and other dental professionals,” she says.

In 2013, McGovern embarked upon Ostrow’s inaugural master’s of dental hygiene program to bolster her expertise and take her career to the next level.

It was during her studies at Ostrow that McGovern discovered that she could combine two of her passions — dentistry and sports — into one dynamic career.

While investigating practice behaviors of team dentists, she learned that professional athletes often had poor oral health and were not provided enough ongoing resources in oral disease prevention.

McGovern felt there were opportunities for dental professionals to change the culture by providing oral health care education to athletes, trainers, coaches, sports organizations, schools and parents.

“Many people participate in sports at some point — or at least follow a sports team — so changing athletes’ behavior could have wide-reaching effects on overall oral health,” she says.

From student to expert, McGovern has found a way to connect her passions and position herself to make a lasting impact on the way sports dentistry is practiced.

“The master’s in dental hygiene opened doors for me that I didn’t know existed,” she says. “It has given me focus in my career in helping people.”

McGovern was one of nearly 40 dental hygiene volunteers to treat athletes with intellectual disabilities at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games.

Dr. Nehi Ogbevoen

London, England, but grew up in
St. Louis, Missouri

At Ostrow since

What inspires you?
The thought of leaving a legacy to inspire future leaders and positively impact as many lives as possible.

Definition of success
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do and liking how you do it.”
—Maya Angelou

Dr. Nehi Ogbevoen

It was during his undergraduate years at the University of Southern California that Nehi Ogbevoen decided a career in dentistry was right for him.

“I fell in love with the combination of technology, biological science, art, business and, of course, patient interactions,” he says.

During his doctor of dental surgery studies, Ogbevoen held leadership roles in student organizations and served as Ostrow student body president during his last year.

“As a leader, I’ve seen the positive difference I can make,” he says. “Knowing that I have been a catalyst for change and have left various organizations and communities better than I found them is very rewarding.”

Ogbevoen recently embarked upon advanced specialty training in orthodontics and a master’s degree in craniofacial biology at USC

“I made a conscious decision to pursue a specialty because the idea of being extremely talented in one field was more appealing to me,” he explains.

He chose orthodontics because he loved the idea of working with adolescents and young adults and remembered the impact orthodontics had on his own self-confidence when he was younger.

Ogbevoen’s intellectual curiosity, passion for problem solving and desire to impact the community at the leadership level represents the future of the profession and the qualities that Ostrow strives for its students to take with them into their dental careers.

“My goals revolve around a trifecta of becoming a private practice owner, adjunct professor at Ostrow and a leader within organized dentistry,” he adds.

Ogbevoen conducts an orthodontic consultation to prepare Jennifer Silva, 15, for braces.

Dr. Ruchi Bajpai


At Ostrow since

What inspires you?
It is both humbling and motivating to see the willpower and resilience of children born with birth defects.

Definition of success
Success as a scientist is to make discoveries that push the frontiers of science and generate new wisdom. Success as an individual is the satisfaction of having made the difference to someone else’s life.

Dr. Ruchi Bajpai

There’s a Hindi fable Ruchi Bajpai heard as a young girl about how everyone has a purpose in life and, if she puts that purpose to work, she can make the world exponentially better for the next lifetime.

The story’s a source of inspiration for the Ostrow assistant professor whose lab at the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology (CCMB) studies birth defects and disorders that affect craniofacial and brain development in an effort to eventually eradicate them altogether.

The Indian-born daughter of a physicist initially resisted a life in science, insisting upon finding her own path. But a research seminar revealed to her that scientific inquiry and discovery truly is her passion.

And is she ever passionate! Not only has she been known to steal away in the middle of the night to her lab (“seven minutes door to door,” she says of the time it takes to get to work), she also refers to the stem cells that she and her dozen (or so) lab technicians study on a daily basis in terms more expected from a proud mother.

“Aren’t they just adorable?” she coos, showing off through a microscope the stem cells she studies to better understand what causes certain birth defects and childhood cancers so that one day they can be prevented—a gift she believes will make the world exponentially better for the next lifetime.

Bajpai’s lab endeavors to find strategies for preventing cleft-lip, cleft-palate and a host of other birth defects, using mouse models.

Dr. Mark Urata

San Jose, California

At Ostrow since

What inspires you?
Watching an educational epiphany — that very moment when one of our residents, fellows or students is able to understand a complex process. When it happens, youknow instantly that not only have you helped that one student, but every patient they will touch in the future.

Dr. Mark Urata

Mark Urata is a bit of a Renaissance Man.

As a “super Trojan” — he has a record-breaking 21 years of continuous education at USC — Urata has earned degrees and advanced training certificates in dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgery, medicine, general surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery and craniofacial surgery.

It’s this interdisciplinary sensibility that Urata, who is currently chair of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, brings with him as chair of Ostrow’s Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

By helming both divisions, Urata aims to create an unprecedented alliance between plastic surgery and oral and maxillofacial surgery that he believes will change the paradigm for how each is taught in the 21st century.

The ties between the program allows residents to learn from each other as they treat patients with cleft- lip and palate and certain birth defects.

“The collaboration gives our oral and maxillofacial surgery residents unparalleled access to a variety of resources, surgeries and patients that they otherwise wouldn’t have,” he says.

While Urata finds his work treating patients satisfying, it’s during his time in the classroom that he feels he’s making the greatest impact.

“When you are educating health care providers, you’re really ensuring the health of our world in the future,” he says.

With dual training in oral and maxillofacial surgery and plastic surgery, Urata treats children with cleft-lip, cleft-palate and other birth defects.

Dr. Glenn Clark

Fresno, California

At Ostrow since

What inspires you?
Helping people. Helping patients understand what is going on and helping students and residents by figuring out the way forward.

Definition of Success
My definition of success is building something that is durable. My efforts here for the past 12 years have been to build an online education program. If it continues beyond my efforts, it’s a success.

Dr. Glenn Clark

It’s 4:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, and Glenn Clark has arrived to meet his first-year students.

The Ostrow professor shuts his office door and turns on his computer, where students from across the globe have logged on to get a prestigious USC dental education.

The director of Ostrow’s distance education programs and one of the pioneers of online dental education came by the idea for web-based coursework while on sabbatical in 2008 in Japan, where he taught online courses.

“I really enjoyed teaching my peers online,” Clark says. “I thought ‘this is the future of dentistry.’”

In 2009, Clark pitched the idea of an online master’s of science in orofacial pain and oral medicine to Dean Avishai Sadan, who loved it. The first online learners began taking USC dentistry courses in 2012. Just this year, Ostrow graduated its first cohort of online learners. A second distance learning program — an online master’s of science in geriatric dentistry — was added in 2014.

While the majority of the program is online, each summer for two weeks, students come to USC for on-campus training to translate the knowledge they learned in the virtual world to first-class patient care.

The online learners come from all walks of life, with some logging on from military bases, some serving as faculty at other dental schools and still others taking night classes while they run dental practices by day.

What they all have in common is their commitment to lifelong learning.

“Knowing that you have students from around the world who are doing this for knowledge so they can better help people is probably the most rewarding part of it all,” Clark says.

Clark logs on to instruct the online master’s of orofacial pain and oral medicine students, the first cohort of which graduated earlier this year.

Facts and Figures

Faculty Overview

Total number of faculty for FY2015: 696

198 Full-Time | 210 Part-Time | 288 Volunteers

Average length of employment:
11.6 years dentistry, 8.8 years occupational science and
occupational therapy, 10.45 years physical therapy.


Total in federal funding for FY2015: $15.7M

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry: $6,825,642

Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science
and Occupational Therapy: $8,918,510

Physical Therapy: $1.9M


Campaign progress: Nearly $80 million of $115 million. Campaign end date: June 30, 2018

Click here or a complete list of donors

Incoming Students

Incoming DDS students hail from 20 states.
In total, more than 3,100 applications
came in from all 50 states.

Usc Map

Patient Care

In FY2015, Ostrow students and residents
served 74,814 patients.

Number of children served: 23,644

Number of those with special needs served: 5,255

Number of homeless served: 2,945

For more detailed financial information, go to

Dear Friends of the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC:

It is with great excitement that I bring you this year’s annual report, themed “Game Changers,” in which we focus on just a few of the innovators who proudly call the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC home.

You can imagine how tough it was to winnow down a list of trailblazers at a school known for creating some of the nation’s leading dental professionals for nearly 120 years.

The individuals featured herein are just a representative few of the many Ostrow faculty, staff and students who change the dental “game” nearly every day in the school’s myriad labs, clinic floors and mobile units.

Appropriately enough, this annual report itself is a bit of a “game changer” as we step away from print to bring you a web-based annual report that we feel is more appropriate in today’s tech-centered world.

Speaking of a tech-centered world, Ostrow graduated its first cohort of online learners this spring, with 17 students from across the country earning an online master’s of orofacial pain and oral medicine degree from Ostrow. We also implemented a new online master’s of geriatric dentistry program this year, which, like the orofacial pain and medicine program, makes it more convenient for practicing dental professionals to grow professionally and earn a degree outside their clinics. The curriculum is rigorous and demanding; it’s just a little easier for distance learners and harried professionals to fit an advanced degree into their schedules.

This year, we also graduated our first cohort of master’s of dental hygiene graduates, with five students earning the degree that positions its graduates to lead the dental hygiene profession into new, exciting directions. Read more about this program in Lesley McGovern’s vignette.

Another game-changing development occurred last fall when USC Trustee Ronnie C. Chan and his wife Barbara gifted $20 million to our occupational science and occupational therapy division. The gift, the largest in occupational therapy history, not only gives the USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy a new moniker, it also positions the division to make a greater impact across the globe by establishing a graduate-level occupational therapy program in China.

This gift—plus all the other fundraising activity this year—brings the school ever closer to its goal of raising $115 million for scholarships, faculty recruitment and facilities maintenance, community outreach and research as part of the $6 billion Campaign for the University of Southern California.

Sitting in the shadows of construction cranes to our north (with the massive USC Village) and to our east (USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance), we are reminded here at the Norris Dental Science Center daily that the world is changing all around us. It’s an incredibly exciting chapter in the history of USC, and I’m thrilled to be able to witness the university continue its evolution into a world-class educational institution.

I couldn’t be more proud to be a Trojan! Fight On!

Avishai Sadan Sig

Avishai Sadan, DMD, MBA
G. Donald and Marian James Montgomery
Professor of Dentistry
Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

Avishai Sadan