2024 Special Recognition Award

Roma Jasinevicius

Theresa Roma Jasinevicius, DDS, MEd (DEN ‘74, ‘76), associate professor in the Department of Comprehensive Care, and affectionately known to students and alumni as Dr. J, will be receiving the Special Recognition Award for her 48 years of dedication to and teaching of CWRU dental students. 

Tania Markarian-Skowronski, DDS (DEN ‘97, ‘14), who nominated her for this award, said, “If there were ever an individual who exemplified the powerful impact of an educator, it is Dr. J. Her influence extends far beyond didactic or clinical knowledge. She inspires students to strive for excellence, challenges them to think critically, celebrates their successes and offers constructive feedback while showing much empathy and support.”

Dr. Jasinevicius credits her mentor, Dr. Vibeke K Nygaard, the first woman course director at CWRU School of Dentistry, for introducing her to academia. Upon Dr. Nygaard’s retirement, Dr. Jasinevicius stepped into the role of primary course director of Dental Anatomy and Masticatory Dynamics. She has also contributed to the development of Basic Procedures in Operative Dentistry, Occlusion and Intro to TMD and Esthetic Dentistry and has provided faculty support for a significant number of other courses. She has added innovative techniques, manuals, videos and teaching materials to the curriculum and recently received the 2023 CWRU Veale Faculty Entrepreneurship Fellowship Award. In 2022 she received the CWRU Interactive Commons (IC) Fellowship Award for developing “JAWS at work,” a HoloLens application used in her masticatory dynamics classes. Her interest in augmented reality began in 2001 when she was a member of the Advanced Simulation Consortium. During this time, she and colleague Dr. Michael Landers evaluated virtual reality simulation versus conventional simulation, resulting in an article that earned the Journal of Dental Education’s Best Manuscript Award in 2005.

Dr. Jasinevicius’s primary research interests are educational methodology. She has co-presented workshops on teaching and learning styles for the American Dental Educators Association (ADEA) and the CWRU faculty. She has participated in many CWRU faculty committees and countless School of Dental Medicine faculty search teams, curriculum and strategic planning initiatives, student mentoring and thesis advising. She served as interim chair of the Department of Periodontics from 2017-2021 while also developing remote teaching methods for didactic and lab instruction during the pandemic.

Dr. Jasinevicius was elected to represent CWRU at the Council of Faculties of ADEA from 2004-2012 and the Regional Meeting of Consortium of Operative Dentistry Educators (CODE) from 1988-2006. She has served as the Women’s Liaison from CWRU to ADEA since 1996. She holds additional memberships in the American Dental Association, Ohio Dental Association, Cleveland Dental Society, American Association of Dental Schools, International Association for Dental Research, American Educational Research Association, and the Cleveland Association of Women Dentists. Dr. Jasinevicius is a past president of the Upsilon chapter of Omicron Kappa Upsilon, the National Dental Honor Society, and has previously served on test writing committees for National Boards Part I and II. 

Dr. Jasinevicius has delivered over 50 invited presentations and co-authored 25 publications and 69 abstracts. She has served on the editorial review boards of Quintessence International and Journal of Dental Education, in addition to reviewing manuscripts for other journals including  European Journal of Investigation in Health, Psychology and Education (EJIHPE); International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health; The Journal of Pain; The Journal of Dentistry; Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dentistry; The Angle Orthodontist; Archives of Oral Biology; Anatomical Sciences Education; and MedEdPORTAL.

In addition to her academic and professional accomplishments, Dr. Jasinevicius volunteers her time locally and internationally. She is a regular participant in Give Kids A Smile Day. She supervised 13 dental students as they triaged 300 patients in a humanitarian outreach effort at Lamay Clinic in Lamay, Peru and was a faculty supervisor for the Manot Archeological Dig in Western Galilee, Israel.

Dr. Jasinevicius earned her BS in Dentistry and DDS degree from CWRU before accepting the position of Clinical Instructor in the Oral Biology Department in 1976. She completed her Master of Education in Adult Education and Development at Cleveland State University in 1996. Dr. Jasinevicius and her husband, D. Daniel Degesys, DDS (DEN ‘73), have three daughters: Audra, Nida and Aiste.