Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists Bulletin Fall 2019 - 31

Portrait of a Professional

Sunil Kapila, BDS, MS, PhD
Interviewed by Dr. Gerald Nelson
San Francisco, CA

Dr. Sunil Kapila
San Francisco, CA

Sunil Kapila has been a dedicated clinician and
teacher since dental school in Kenya. He is a
three-time chair of orthodontic departments and
graduate program director and has been active in
the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO)
Foundation and on AAO councils. His textbooks
on orthodontic therapy and cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) serve the specialty in
schools and in practice. His wife, Yvonne Kapila,
DDS, MS, PhD, is chair of periodontology at the
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).
Gerald Nelson (GN): Tell us something about your
childhood.
Sunil Kapila (SK): I was born in Nairobi, Kenya.
My parents had emigrated from India. I have two
older sisters, an older brother, and a younger
brother. Life growing up was good, although my

father had to drop out of school to work very
hard from his early teen years, as my grandfather
passed away at a young age. I was the first in our
family to go to college, which was the University
of Nairobi. Similar to the United Kingdom, high
school was a six-year duration in lieu of attending
college. After the first four years of this education,
depending on your academic performance in a
national exam, students are pipelined into prehealth fields, pre-engineering, or the pre-arts education. I was assigned to healthcare coursework
of chemistry, physics, and biology. At the end of
this coursework, another national exam determined whether one was assigned to the healthcare fields, engineering, math, or the arts. I was
given the opportunity to attend dental school.
As there was only one dental school in that part
of the world, I was very excited to be accepted.

Growing up in Kenya. Left: Sunil Kapila (second row, second from right) with the Dental School dean
and part of his dental school graduating class at commencement. Top right: Trekking with friends on
Mt. Kenya. Bottom right: Sunil (fourth from right) at the highest point in Africa atop Uhuru Peak on
Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Fall 2019

PCSO Bulletin

31



Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists Bulletin Fall 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists Bulletin Fall 2019

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