Father and Son Dedicated To Dentistry

Here is a recent article in UAB Dentristry magazine featuring Dr. Isbell and his son Ross Isbell:b2ap3_thumbnail_IMG_6663
Gordon Isbell III, D.M.D., opened his dental practice in his hometown of Gadsden, Alabama, in 1981- the same year he graduated from the UAB School of Dentristry. His son, Gordon “Ross” Isbell IV, is currently enrolled at the UABSOD. But regardless of graduation dates, neither Isbell will have finished with learning about dentistry. In fact, continuing education has been a way of life for the elder Isbell- and his son plans to follow his footsteps. 
“The only way to practice with excellence is to continue learning” Isbell III says. “Dentistry is evolving so rapidly that it’s easy to get left behind. Our patients deserve dentists who are on the cutting edge.” Isbell was instrumental in launching the Academy of General Dentistry’s (AGD) Master’s Track program at UAB. This is a five-year continuing-education program that meets five times a year and features a 10-person roundtable. Isbell was a member of the first class in 1989 and says it was “the highlight of my continuing-education career. It was so hands-on, and there are great dentists in every class.”
Isbell also has served in various national leadership positions with the AGD and the American Dental Association. He finds it especially gratifying that today’s students, such as his son, are being encouraged from the very beginning of their careers as dentists to stay involved with learning through continuing-education classes. Last year, he was heartened to see that 40 SOD students spent their spring break attending a professional development meeting on their own dime. 
Ross Isbell also is following in his father’s footsteps in another way- taking leadership roles in dental organizations. He’s slated to be the next president of the American Student Dental Association (ASDA). “My involvement in the ASDA has been very helpful, particularly in gaining experience in balancing work (which is currently school) and extracurricular activities within dentistry,” Isbell IV says. “Also, it has given me the opportunity to attend many different organized dentistry meetings, which augments my current curriculum with continuing-education courses on special topics and allows me to interact with and learn from dentists at the top of the profession. And it has given me a fresh perspective on the size and scope of the larger dental world as well as a desire to stay involved to help protect my future profession.”
Isbell III points out that while his son “could have gone to other dental schools around the country,” he chose to come to UAB. “I’m very proud the SOD is a school that top students continue to choose,” he says. “When I speak at dentistry events across the country, people know our school is excellent. Every year, the SOD is ranked first, second, or third in the country. We have a tremendous school and faculty. Our graduates have a great foundation.”
Never Stop Learning Building- on that foundation with ongoing professional education is essential to furthering one’s career, Isbell III says. By doing so himself, he has been able to continue practicing cutting-edge dentistry for more than 30 years. “Continuing education has been my life because years ago Dr. Scotty McCallum told me that I should make it a priority,” he says. “Continuing education is the core of practice excellence in dentistry.”
His father’s ongoing involvement with the SOD helped Isbell IV make his decision to enroll at UAB after graduation from Washington and Lee University. “I felt familiar with the SOD campus and the alumni community supporting it, and I wanted to come home to be a part of it,” he says. “Our plan to eventually practice together is a neat father-son thing in dentistry that’s quite unique,” Isbell III says. “And I’m proud we have a great dental school right here in Alabama.”
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