Photo courtesy Georgia School of Orthodontics
Photo by Georgia School of Orthodontics
The Georgia School of Orthodontics recently selected Clora O'Reilly Evans, a lifelong Jackson resident and graduate of the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry, for a 36-month residency program at its Atlanta campus.
The program specializes in advanced specialty education in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. Evans applied for the program during her 2017 fall semester.
"I'm a general dentist, but I applied for the GSO program because I want to further specialize to be able to treat orthodontic patients in Mississippi," she says. "There is a large need for minority orthodontic care in our state, and I want to be able to give back to my community. I plan on doing that by setting up a practice to help those in need and doing outreach for those who can't afford treatment."
Evans, 26, graduated from St. Joseph Catholic School and attended Tougaloo College, where she received her bachelor's degree in sociology in 2013. She received her doctorate in dental medicine from UMMC in May 2018.
The dental profession has been a big part of Evans' family. Her grandfather, Dr. Willie O'Reilly, was a dentist, and her aunt is a retired pediatric dentist Dr. Wilhelmina O'Reilly. Both practiced in Jackson.
"Going to my aunt's office and seeing her interact with patients got me interested in dentistry as a child, and I decided to take a nontraditional major like sociology first because I felt it would help me to better understand patient care, which is an important aspect of dentistry," Evans says.
"If you understand your patient, you can interact with them better, and help them to come up with treatment goals and objectives. A sociological perspective can also make for better patient interactions and help with a patient's self-esteem."
While attending UMMC, she took part in a number of community outreach programs, including giving oral health seminars at Jackson elementary schools, and organizing health fairs and oral cancer screenings at local churches. She has also participated in UMMC's annual Rush 2 Brush 5K, 10K and one-mile fun run, and helped lead oral health seminars and screenings during the event.
"The part I most enjoy about dentistry is interacting with my patients and giving them better quality of life through dental care that makes an impact," Evans says. "When I finish this program, I plan to come back to Mississippi and be a source of care for minority patients who need it the most. Being from Jackson, that is certainly where I would most like to be, but I would go wherever there was a need."