- Category: Profiles
- Issue: Aug 2013
Dental School: University of Mississippi Medical Center
Years in Practice: I have been in practice for eight years.
What attracted you to oral/maxillofacial surgery?
Early on, I knew I wanted to specialize, and I have always been interested in more than just dentistry. I worked in the emergency room during college, and that is what initially piqued my interest in becoming an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. During dental school, I spent some time in the Dominican Republic performing surgeries and procedures on a wide variety of patients. It really impacted me and made me realize how many people are in need of maxillofacial surgery, not only in other countries but in the United States as well. I truly love helping people, and I felt surgery was the best way to do that.
What distinguishes your practice from others?
Our practice focuses on the whole individual and not just the procedure or problem at hand. Oral & Facial Surgeons of Arizona has three board-certified surgeons, and patient care is our priority. We have three convenient locations across the Valley.
You have a twin brother also named John Gillis who is a local dentist. Has that caused confusion among your patients?
Actually, my father and my uncle were both dentists, so I was brought up around the field of dentistry. There was always talk about teeth, smiles, and surgeries around the dinner table. As for my twin brother, who is also a dentist, I have many experiences where patients will speak to me as if I am their dentist, and it turns out they are a patient of my brother's. I have learned to simply smile, say hello, and go about my day! Trying to explain that I am not the other "Dr. Gillis" is complicated, to say the least!
What charities do you work with, and why?
Over the past two years, my wife and I have hosted two fundraisers to benefit PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease) Foundation (pkdcure.org) and raised more than $40,000. Two years ago, our son Bowen passed away from polycystic kidney disease. Even though he lived a short life, we will always find ways to remember and honor his life. Every year there is a PKD walk, which is held this year in October at DC Ranch. This summer we are working with Phoenix Children's Hospital Foundation to hold a toy drive for the pediatric dialysis patients. We plan to host another fundraiser to help raise money for Camp Maska, a camp for the pediatric dialysis patients.
When you're not working, what do you like to do?
I like to stay healthy by training for triathlons. Last year, I completed my first Ironman here in my hometown of Arizona. Mostly I just like to relax when I can and spend as much time with my family as possible.
Dr. John Malcolm Gillis
1964 E. Baseline Rd., Ste. A-101, Tempe