July 15, 2013

Dr. Rebecca L. Slayton named Law/Lewis Professor

Dr. Rebecca L. Slayton has been named Law/Lewis Endowed Professor of Pediatric Dentistry at the School of Dentistry, pending formal approval by the UW Board of Regents.

Dr. Slayton, who is Chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the UW, will be responsible for organizing an annual program of presentations on pediatric oral health. The professorship, originally established as a lectureship in 1992, honors the memory of Dr. David Law and Dr. Thompson Lewis, two outstanding pediatric dental educators at the UW.

Dr. Rebecca Slayton“It is an incredible honor to be the recipient of this professorship,” Dr. Slayton said. “It symbolizes the rich history of leadership and scholarly activity in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to continue this tradition.”

Dr. Slayton, who was Professor and Chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at Iowa before taking up her current post in March 2013, was at the UW from 2004 to 2008 as Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry. She served as Chair of the School’s Faculty Council and on numerous committees, and was also Interim Clinical Director of the Department of Dental Medicine at Seattle Children’s hospital from 2007 to 2008. From 2002 to 2004, she was Chair of Pediatric Dentistry at Oregon Health & Science University.

Dr. Slayton holds a BA in biology from Earlham College and an MS in engineering, a DDS, a certificate in pediatric dentistry and a PhD in genetics, all from the University of Iowa. Her current appointments include consultant to the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation and ad hoc reviewer for several leading dental journals.

“I can’t imagine a more worthy recipient of this honor than Rebecca Slayton,” said Dr. Joel Berg, Dean of the School of Dentistry. “She is an outstanding educator with superb clinical and research credentials, and I know that she will bring great distinction to the professorship.”

UW faculty, students, and friends created the lectureship to honor decades of outstanding contributions to pediatric dentistry, clinical research and private practice by Drs. Lewis and Law. The goal was to enhance the profession of pediatric dentistry by setting up a forum, directed at family dentists, to present current clinical techniques, research and product developments.

David Law, Thompson Lewis

Dr. David Law (left) and Dr. Thompson Lewis, circa 1960

At the UW, Dr. Law served from 1948 to 1972 as the first chair of pediatric dentistry, then known as pedodontics. He oversaw all predoctoral and postdoctoral courses and, in the early 1950s, established a postgraduate training program in pediatric dentistry. Along with his significant research contributions, he co-authored An Atlas of Pedodontics, a textbook that was translated into several languages. He was also Chairman of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. He passed away in 1986.

Dr. Lewis, whom Dr. Law recruited to the UW faculty, served as acting chair of Pedodontics in 1961-62, when Dr. Law was called to active duty in the Army, and in 1986-87. One of the department’s first graduate students, he earned his MSD in 1955 and remained as a full-time faculty member, eventually becoming a full professor in 1970. He served as dental director at Seattle Children’s hospital for more than 25 years, leading an expansion of services for disabled and medically compromised children. A strong believer in treating the whole child, he was a proponent of behavioral management in clinical dental practice. He died in 1998.

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