Thursdays are Jonny Feldman’s favorite day of the week. That’s when he steps away from his orthodontist chair in Cheshire to spend the day in the classroom and clinics teaching residents at UConn Health.
He loves mentoring these students—who have completed dental school and are going through a three-year residency program to train as orthodontists.
“Teaching is just something I always wanted to do,” Feldman says. “It’s so much fun teaching the residents. I love having them asking questions, figuring out the answers, and seeing them grow in confidence as orthodontists.”
So perhaps it’s not a surprise that Feldman ’94 DDM recently expanded his commitment to residents in another way. He and his wife, Debbie Feldman ’94 MD, donated $25,000 to start a new fund to help residents with expenses, such as traveling to meetings and conferences to present their work or traveling home for a family emergency. Feldman’s family added another $25,000 to bolster the fund.
“I think it’s just giving back, having the ability to help others whether it’s by teaching or mentoring or by helping them financially,” Feldman says. “I think it’s a wonderful way to pass it on so the residents can continue to grow and mature as clinicians.”
The new fund also supports junior faculty, helping them offset travel or research expenses.
“It’s hard these days to recruit faculty,” Feldman explains. “It’s hard to compete with private practice compensation. So hopefully we can support the junior faculty and give them a leg up in their future teaching as well.”
Feldman hopes other faculty members and residents he has taught over the years will donate to the fund as well.
Flavio Uribe, chair and program director for UConn Health’s Division of Orthodontics, is grateful for Feldman’s meaningful gift.
“This is a significant contribution to the orthodontics division because it targets the areas where we need the support—for residents and junior faculty,” Uribe says. “Dr. Feldman has made a big impact here. All the residents are very appreciative of what he’s done and what they have learned from him.”
Feldman, who graduated from UConn’s School of Dental Medicine himself, began his teaching gig at UConn Health in 1997 after completing his residency at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
When he’s not teaching, he works in an orthodontic practice his father started in Cheshire, Connecticut, alongside three other dental school alums: his brother, David ’95 DDM, Preeti K. Chandhoke ’08 DDM, ’08 Ph.D., and Kelly Morrison ’03 DDM, ’06 MDS. Feldman and his wife, Debbie, an OB/GYN physician, whom he met in his first year of medical dental school, live in Cheshire and have two adult daughters, Allison and Sarah.