Sharon Brooks (1944- )
DDS 1973, MS Oral Diagnosis/Radiology 1976,
MS Environmental and Industrial Health 1984,
MS Clinical Research Design and Statistical Analysis 1989 University of Michigan
Oral Pathology and Radiology
Sharon Brooks’ poor teeth spurred her to become a dentist. During high school, she worked summers to pay for treatment and later had orthodontia at the urging of her dentist, Geraldine Morrow, the first female American Dental Association president.
During dental school, she discovered she loved diagnosis and problem solving and decided to pursue teaching and research rather than clinical practice.
“I am a teacher at heart”
At a time when there were few women faculty, Professor Dean Millard provided vital support, treating Brooks as an equal, introducing her at meetings and pushing her to teach radiology classes. When she protested that she didn’t know enough, he encouraged her with, “you’ll learn.”
Expertise in a Growing Field
Brooks’ interest in diagnostics led her to oral radiology. She earned additional degrees, becoming an internationally recognized expert in Cone Beam Computer Tomography (CBCT), a medical imaging technology.
A member of numerous professional organizations, she is widely published and has been editor of Dentomaxillofacial Radiology and on the editorial board of other oral surgery and oral radiology journals.
During the early 2000s, Brooks provided feedback and beta-testing with a graduate student in biomedical engineering who was developing an early CT scanner. Now semi-retired, Brooks is part of a consortium that provides interpretive services using CBCT for difficult cases.
…at the time that I started here there weren’t very many women around…and some of the faculty didn’t quite know what to do with me...We were a real novelty. [Now,] nobody cares whether you’re a woman or a man anymore.Sharon Brooks, 2012. Brooks' graduation photo from the collection of the Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry, SMD 292.1973.