Dr. David Spokane (second from left) poses with daughters (from left) Alexa, Karissa and Julia.
Future orthodontists training at the West Virginia University School of Dentistry will benefit from an alumnus’s endowment gift to aid the Department of Orthodontics.
The namesake endowment established by Dr. David C. Spokane and family supports the Department’s greatest needs, as determined by leadership. The funds may be used to enable residents to attend continuing education courses, provide digital technology and equipment to benefit patient care, recruit top-notch teachers and more to aid students in the Master of Science in Orthodontics residency program.
“We are moving rapidly into a new era of digital orthodontics,” said Dr. Peter Ngan, chair of WVU’s Department of Orthodontics. “Modern technologies add another dimension, as well as accuracy, in orthodontic diagnosis. In order to prepare our residents to meet these challenges, we need help from our alumni to equip our clinic with the latest digital software and hardware. The gift from Dr. Spokane will prove very timely for us to bring our education for residents up to date and utilize these technologies and equipment for research.”
The Department of Orthodontics marked its 50th anniversary with a continuing education course and alumni reception held Sept. 10. Since its inception, the residency program has graduated more than 150 skilled orthodontics specialists to meet oral health care needs in West Virginia and beyond.
From a pool of hundreds of applicants, WVU accepts just three orthodontic residents each year. Spokane, who completed his residency in 1994, wanted to show his gratitude for WVU’s investment in him with a gift that would benefit the next generation of orthodontists.
“WVU was kind of going out on a line a little bit to say, ‘Hey, you know what? We’ve got a little faith in this guy that he’s going to not only graduate but make the university proud and go on to be a successful orthodontist one day,’” Spokane said. “Without that, I don’t know where I’d be today. I just love what I do. I love who I work with. I’ve been doing this for 25 years now, and I’m just very thankful for the career that I have, and I think WVU is partly responsible for giving me the opportunity to make all that happen.”
Spokane earned his bachelor’s and Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry degrees at the University of Pittsburgh. He practices at Karsi & Spokane Orthodontics, which includes six locations in western Pennsylvania.
Spokane resides in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Sharon. He said two of their three daughters are interested in orthodontics, and he hopes they choose to attend WVU.
The Spokane family’s gift was made through the WVU Foundation, the nonprofit organization that receives and administers private donations on behalf of the University.