Dental Residency Program People

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Amadeo Valdez, DDS, MAS, Director, General Dentistry Residency Program
Phone: 828-252-4290; Fax: 828-210-0068
MAHEC Dental Health Center
123 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, NC  28803

I’m honored to practice oral medicine here at MAHEC where I can make a positive impact serving the community while also training dentists. My clinical focus and research interests are dental treatment for oral lesions, salivary gland disorders, facial pain, and medically complex patients and undergoing cancer therapy (pre and post treatment).

I was born and raised in Coahuila in northern Mexico not far from Texas. After six years of training, I obtained my doctor in dental surgery degree at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León. During my final year, I practiced dentistry in underserved rural communities while doing research on dental hygiene and systemic health conditions related to oral health including diabetes in children, rheumatoid arthritis, and gastric cancer.

After finishing my dental studies, I received a scholarship from the Government of Mexico to study abroad and obtained my masters in clinical research at the University of California, San Francisco, where I studied oral health in pediatric patients and those with diabetes. After completing my studies, I did both my general practice and oral medicine residencies at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC.

I have recently moved to Asheville and already it feels like home. People here are warm, kind, and always ready to help. In my free time, I enjoy hiking with my dogs, painting, reading historical nonfiction, and cooking Mexican food.

Mark Cummins, DMD, Dental Faculty
Phone: 828-252-4290; Fax: 828-210-0068
MAHEC Dental Health Center
123 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, NC  28803

Hey there!! I grew up in Lexington, Kentucky…the land of great college basketball and thoroughbred horse racing! It was there, at the University of Kentucky, that I earned my Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Dental Medicine degrees. Following my formal dental education, I completed a two-year general practice residency in dentistry at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine / North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, NC.

Immediately after residency, I entered private practice in Newport News, VA, and also taught at the Medical College of Virginia’s School of Dentistry in Richmond, VA. After a few years, I returned as faculty at Wake Forest University School of Medicine’s department of dentistry.

My next career move was to open my own dental practice, near my hometown, in Richmond, Kentucky. I spent fifteen years there as a solo business owner and practitioner. I was very active in the community and my church.

I have always loved the mountains and great scenery with fun things to do so in 2015 my family moved to Asheville. The area matches my desires in more ways than one. I joined MAHEC dental faculty in 2015, and enjoy a balance of patient care and teaching, where I can share my knowledge and experiences with younger dentists.

I am married and have three boys. I enjoy gardening,photography, hiking, outdoor grilling, working out, and my hot tub!!

Richard Shields, DDS, Dental Faculty
Phone: 828-252-4290; Fax: 828-210-0068
MAHEC Dental Health Center
123 Hendersonville Road
Asheville, NC  28803

Having finally moved to WNC three years ago from southwest Michigan, after visiting my wife Pat’s parents here in Asheville for over 30 years, it’s an honor to be joining the dental faculty and outstanding team here at MAHEC!

I received my Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry in 1983. Previous to that, I graduated from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids with a Bachelor’s degree in history and Spanish, and elementary teaching certification. I served in the US Navy for four years during the Vietnam War and then taught middle school science and Spanish prior to entering dental school.

I established my dental practice in 1983 in a small town in southwest Michigan, not too far from where I grew up. Over the course of 32 years, the practice grew to seven operatories with two full-time dentists and three hygienists. In preparation for a transition to a new dentist-owner, we embarked on a major facility upgrade and expansion about eight years beforehand, incorporating many technological features to better serve our patients. Our planning paid off, and we were abundantly blessed with the addition of a talented young associate who “overlapped” for a couple of years before purchasing our practice in 2015.

Over my years in private practice, I attended to the dental needs of the many physically and mentally impaired citizens in our rural county, and provided access to dental care for children in the Healthy Kids program. I was able to use my proficiency in Spanish to serve the local Spanish-speaking community. We provided preventive dental education to children in the local schools and offered dental screenings for kids coming into kindergarten. In 2007 and 2010, Pat and I and our hygienists brought week-long dental clinics to a small village in El Salvador, as part of the sister parish initiative through our church.

Pat and I love living here in the mountains with our two pooches who love hiking with us. The weather is better than Michigan’s and we get to enjoy the outdoors so much more! Additionally, I enjoy improving my skills in watercolor painting, reading, and travel. Serving as part-time faculty in the MAHEC Dental Health Center and Center for Advanced Training, and sharing my expertise from my many years as a solo practitioner, is a perfect post-retirement career!


* Denotes a healthcare provider not employed by MAHEC.