Local orthodontists Juliana Panchura, DMD and Catherine Quas, DMD share a lot: the same profession, family ties and a strong commitment to social responsibility. Panchura developed and implemented a program at her practice, Smile! Central Oregon, that allows patients and their families to volunteer for community service organizations in exchange for discounted orthodontic care. Quas is very active in local nonprofit efforts and earlier this year was honored with the Volunteers in Medicine annual Heart of Healthcare Award, recognizing the contributions that she and her team at Bluefish Dental and Orthodontics have made on behalf of the medically underserved.
Panchura and Quas also share a deep bond of mutual respect that is evident in how they speak of one another.
“Cate has a tireless commitment to excellence. She pushes boundaries,” said Panchura. “She’s a perpetual student eager to learn something new, different, better.”
“I am so proud to not only have Julie as a mentor, but as a family member,” Quas said. Panchura is married to Quas’ father, Bend orthodontist Vincent J. Quas, DDS. “I love her dearly and respect her professionally,” said Quas.
Recently the ties between the two orthodontists have grown even stronger as Quas has committed to joining Panchura in treating children at a specialized clinic in Los Angeles. Every month Panchura and Quas hop a plane from Central Oregon to California to spend several days caring for the complex orthodontic needs of children with cleft lip, palate and other disfiguring birth defects at the Eisner Pediatric & Family Medical Center (EPFMC).
“Even though cleft lip and palate is among the most common birth defects, you need a large population base such as Los Angeles to have a significant number of patients,” said Panchura. “I do treat kids in Central Oregon with this problem but it is only a handful of cases.”
Both Panchura and Quas have connections with the clinic going back many years. In fact, Panchura’s first job after graduating was with EPFMC. Quas completed an externship at EPFMC during her final year of dental school, worked there during her residency at UCLA and also recently filled in while Panchura’s orthodontic associate was out on maternity leave. When the associate decided not to return, Panchura approached Quas with the opportunity to join her at the clinic on a regular basis, which she jumped at.
“A large majority of the patients treated at EPFMC have complex craniofacial deformities beyond simply a cleft lip or palate. The treatment considerations and decisions require coordination between a team of specialists including plastic surgeons, oral surgeons, prosthodontists, orthodontists and pediatric dentists,” said Quas. “To be able to grow with the treatment process expands my treatment knowledge. I am a better practitioner for the experience I gain at EPFMC with Julie.”
Panchura is delighted to have Quas as part of the team at EPFMC.
“Cate’s dual training in orthodontics and pediatric dentistry is invaluable in this setting,” said Panchura. “I often get her to do some emergent dental work on the spot which helps move orthodontic treatment along. I trust her judgment and exploit her skills.”
Quas credits Panchura with encouraging her to stretch herself. “Julie is the reason that I am dual trained,” said Quas. “I wanted to go into academics but she talked me into applying to the combined pedo/ortho program at UCLA. I was one of two residents accepted, and I feel that the scope of my abilities is so much better because of the influence of each specialty’s study.”
While both agree that the work at the clinic is exhausting, they also agree that they have a lot fun working together.