UCLA orthodontics resident resigns, citing harassment

A resident who accused the orthodontics program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Dentistry of demanding donations from applicants has resigned from the program, the Daily Bruin student newspaper reported May 15.

In his resignation letter addressed to department chair Kang Ting, D.M.D., Ph.D., Kent Ochiai, D.D.S. "alleges that Ting unfairly took away his clinic patients, limited his access to study materials, halted his progress in the three-year program, and discredited him among his colleagues," the Daily Bruin reports.

Earlier, in November 2007, the Daily Bruin reported allegations that the school gave preferential treatment to candidates who could bring in hefty donations. The story was the result of a five- to six-months-long investigation, said Robert Faturechi, the reporter who broke the story. It was later picked up by some mainstream media as well.

Dr. Ochiai's involvement in the investigation was indirect, Faturechi explained. Dr. Ochiai applied to the school in 2006 and was asked for a $60,000 donation by a member of the admissions board, and he reported this to a faculty member. After an alumnus got wind of this incident, he tipped off the Daily Bruin.

The UCLA School of Dentistry dean, No-Hee Park, D.M.D., Ph.D., issued a statement following the story in which he said that an independent investigation "found no credible and convincing evidence to support allegations of a donor legacy program in the orthodontics admissions process."

However, the school would look into improving the oversight and clarity of the admissions process, the statement claimed.

The school refused to comment on these recent developments citing privacy of personal information regulations.

Dr. Ochiai deferred questions to his attorney who could not be reached for comment.

In his resignation letter made public by the Daily Bruin, Dr. Ochiai states that the treatment he received at the program was retribution for his failure to pay a donation and his imagined association with the Daily Bruin article.

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