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Linda DeVore Dental Hygiene Alumni Award: Dianna S. Weikel, RDH, BS ’82, MS ’87
This award is named for Linda DeVore, RDH, MA, and recognizes a dental hygiene graduate of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) who represents the integrity, intellectual curiosity, community-mindedness, and leadership epitomized by DeVore. The 2021 award recognizes Dianna S. Weikel, RDH, BS ’82, MS ’87, as a leader in interprofessional clinical care who has improved the quality of care for patients undergoing cancer therapies and advanced the understanding of hospital-based oral medicine through collaborative research that crosses medical and dental disciplines.
By recognizing the need for and creating an expertise in the diagnosis and management of oral complications in cancer patients, Weikel serves as a role model for rising dental hygiene professionals who aspire to enhance the quality of patient care through careers in interprofessional research and non-traditional settings.
A clinical associate professor in the UMSOD Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences, Weikel is nationally and internationally recognized as a leading specialist in the management of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and in hospital-based oral medicine. At UMSOD, she also serves as clinical field instructor in the Department of Dental Hygiene and preceptor in its Oral Medicine Clerkship program.
Additionally, Weikel is an assistant professor in the program of Oncology at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (GCCC).
For almost 20 years, she has been the only UMSOD faculty member housed full-time at the GCCC, which is one of two cancer centers in the United States that maintain onsite a fully funded, oral medicine-focused dental hygienist onsite.
In that role, she currently is research coordinator for a pilot program evaluating radiotherapy outcomes between conventional and newer proton therapies relative to shifts in oral microbiomes in the management of head and neck cancer patients.
Funded by the American Cancer Society, this investigation is being conducted in collaboration with the Department of Radiation Oncology and the Maryland Proton Treatment Center, University of Maryland Medical System.
In addition to her academic career, Weikel for more than 15 years worked as a dental hygienist in private practices throughout Maryland. She is a member of the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer and the International Society of Oral Oncology, and a past member of many professional organizations including the American Association of Dental Research.
A prolific writer, Weikel is author or co-author of nearly 50 articles, abstracts, and book chapters. She also is a sought-after speaker both nationally and internationally. Through her efforts and renown as an expert in clinical trials, interprofessional education, collaborative research, and clinical oral care, her work has significantly enhanced the UMSOD research program and advanced supportive care for cancer patients.