UW School of Dentistry

Dr. Frank Roberts named Associate Dean for Regional Affairs

Dr. Frank Roberts, who has directed the School of Dentistry’s Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) program since 2014, has been named Associate Dean for Regional Affairs, Dean Gary Chiodo has announced. The appointment was approved by the UW Board of Regents at their meeting in May.

Dr. Frank RobertsIn his new post, Dr. Roberts oversees the school’s educational outreach to the WWAMI region (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho), which is also served by the School of Medicine. He will also help lead the dental school’s efforts to expand access for developmentally and other disabled patients in rural Washington, in which RIDE’s community clinical sites will play a major role.

Following Dean Chiodo’s vision for expanding the scope of Regional Affairs, Dr. Roberts will also work closely with two key School of Dentistry entities: the Office of Educational Partnerships and Diversity (OEPD) and the Timothy A. DeRouen Center for Global Oral Health.

OEPD, directed by Dr. Bea Gandara, pursues a community-oriented mission to support teaching and learning initiatives that promote culturally appropriate improvements in oral health care access and reductions in oral health disparities. “I’m looking forward to collaborating with OEPD as they create new regional community partnerships and to support the admissions pipeline for underrepresented students,” Dr. Roberts said.

The DeRouen Center, directed by Dr. Ana Lucia Seminario, is the school’s primary vehicle to facilitate international collaborations in oral health research and education. “The DeRouen Center already does superb work, and I see great potential for us to take advantage of our strengths in securing educational grants to create research and training capacities in low- and middle-income countries. This opportunity will enrich the dental education of our students as they will have a more interprofessional knowledge of global oral health issues,” he said. “The DeRouen Center will also continue to help us expand our reach to the refugee community in Washington.”

Dr. Roberts, who is also interim chair of the school’s Department of Periodontics, has been a key member of the RIDE faculty since the program’s inception in 2007. RIDE was designed to channel more dentists into practice in rural and/or underserved areas of Washington, mostly east of the Cascades. To date, nearly 80 percent of its graduates have gone into practice in these areas, a rate well above the national average for U.S. dental schools.

Eight students enter the RIDE program each year. They spend their first year, including a four-week community clinical rotation, at the RIDE hub on the Eastern Washington University campus in Spokane Their second and third years are spent with their full class in Seattle. In their fourth year, they spend winter and spring quarters in an Eastern Washington community rotation, which is a key feature of the program. The rotations, at clinics that serve a high proportion of children and low-income adults, give the students an extended exposure to community dentistry and experience in local leadership. The students perform a full range of dental procedures under the supervision of faculty preceptors.

In 2017, the American Dental Education Association bestowed the William J. Gies Award for Vision by an Academic Dental Institution, its highest honor, on RIDE. The program has also drawn interest from Montana about an expansion into that state.

“Dr. Roberts, with his wealth of experience and proven leadership, is the ideal candidate to fill this post,” said Dean Chiodo. “He has consistently shown the abilities needed to lead RIDE’s continued development, and he will help spur critical thinking around regional affairs, program and relationship building, and innovation as a member of our executive leadership team. We are fortunate to have such a highly qualified faculty member in this critical role.”

Dr. Roberts joined the UW Department of Periodontics as assistant professor in 1996. Previously, he worked as a researcher and teaching assistant at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) dental school and in the university’s Department of Microbiology.

He graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina and holds a DDS with honors from the University of Tennessee and a PhD in molecular cell biology from UAB, along with a certificate in periodontics.

Dr. Roberts has been Chief of Periodontics at the Seattle Veterans Administration Medical Center since 1997 and has also represented the School of Dentistry on the UW Medicine curriculum committee in all aspects of overlapping course work. An active researcher, he has pursued studies including the molecular mechanisms of chronic inflammatory disease progression, the bacterial development of periodontitis, and biology and imaging of dental implants.

He has played a key role in the UW School of Dentistry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering free webinars on clinical protocols for the state’s practicing dentists. The webinars have also been circulated nationally.

A diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology, he has received the American Academy of Periodontology Tarrson Award for Outstanding Teaching and the Bruce R. Rothwell Distinguished Teaching Award, the School of Dentistry’s highest teaching honor.

Dr. Ana Lucia Seminario named to population health council

Dr. Ana Lucia Seminario of the School of Dentistry faculty has been appointed to the University of Washington’s Population Health Initiative executive council for 2019-2020 by UW President Ana Mari Cauce.

Ana Lucia Seminario

Dr. Seminario is Associate Professor of Pediatric Dentistry and Adjunct Associate Professor of Global Health in the UW School of Public Health. She also directs the School of Dentistry’s Timothy A. DeRouen Center for Global Oral Health, which conducts worldwide oral health research and fosters international research collaborations.

She is one of the seven UW faculty members and one undergraduate newly named to the 30-member executive council, whose members serve in annual rotations. President Cauce chairs the council, which includes senior leaders, faculty, students, and staff from UW colleges, schools, programs, and stakeholder units.

The UW launched the Population Health Initiative in 2016 to tackle existing and emerging challenges in human health, environmental resilience, and social and economic equity. The university leverages local, national, and global partnerships to address these challenges with research, service, and teaching. At the School of Dentistry, the DeRouen Center has aligned its mission to more closely support the initiative as the center pursues projects in Kenya, the Amazon Basin, Thailand, and Seattle.

In 2018, the UW broke ground on a new 290,000-square-foot building on the west edge of its Seattle campus to house the initiative. The $230 million Population Health Building is supported by a $210 million gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and $15 million in funding from the state of Washington. Its completion is expected in 2020.

The new facility will promote interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation in addressing the health and well-being of populations here and around the world. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the UW Department of Global Health, and parts of the UW School of Public Health will be housed in the building.

Researcher Jeffrey McLean named to key review panel

Dr. Jeffrey McLean

Dr. Jeffrey McLean, an associate professor of periodontics at the School of Dentistry, has been named to a three-year term as a member of the Oral, Dental and Craniofacial Sciences Study Section at the Center for Scientific Review. The center is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Study sections review grant applications submitted to the NIH, make recommendations on these applications to the appropriate NIH national advisory council or board, and survey the status of research in their fields of science.

“These functions are of great value to medical and allied research in this country,” said Dr. Noni Byrnes, the center’s director, in a letter announcing the appointment.

Members are chosen based on their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors.

Dr. McLean received his PhD at the University of Southern California and his MSc at the University of Guelph in Canada. Before coming to the University of Washington in 2014, Dr. McLean had worked as a researcher at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., and the J. Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla, Calif., a highly regarded center of genomic research.

Much of his work has focused on microbial interactions in oral biofilm communities. In 2014, he and his research colleagues published a groundbreaking study of microbial “dark matter,” or bacteria whose existence had been known but which defied efforts at cultivation.

A few months later, he and research colleagues at UCLA published a study showing how an engineered microbial peptide could kill the bacteria that cause tooth decay without harming the mouth’s beneficial bacteria.

This year, he and colleagues published a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that showed how a larger genetic inventory may help explain how certain dangerous bacteria can persist in a hospital environment and continue to infect patients.

“There’s a huge number of bacteria we never know anything about,” he said in an article in the UW Dental Alumni News in the spring of 2017. “Three of these groups are in the oral cavity, and we’re working on cultivating and sequencing all of them in the body. We want to learn how they affect each other and our cells.”

Dr. Travis Nelson named acting chair of Pediatric Dentistry

Dr. Travis Nelson, clinic chief of the University of Washington’s Center for Pediatric Dentistry, has been named acting chair of the UW School of Dentistry’s Department of Pediatric Dentistry, the school has announced. The appointment, which takes effect Nov. 1, is pending approval by the UW Board of Regents.

Dr. Travis Nelson
Dr. Travis Nelson

Dr. Nelson will take over leadership of the department from Dr. Thomas Dodson, who had served as interim chair since mid-2016. Dr. Dodson filled that role in addition to his duties as chair of the school’s Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. During this time, Dr. Nelson took on a significant portion of operational leadership for the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, which includes the Center for Pediatric Dentistry. As acting chair, he will oversee the pre-doctoral and residency programs, departmental operations, and human resources.

“Dr. Nelson’s performance as clinic chief and his dedication to the Pediatric Dentistry program have been exemplary,” said Dr. Gary Chiodo, the school’s interim dean, in his letter to UW President Ana Mari Cauce proposing the appointment.  In a message to the school, he added, “I am delighted that Dr. Nelson is assuming this critical role at a time of exciting growth and development at the School of Dentistry. He is a stellar clinician for some of our most complex patients and a truly valuable member of our faculty.”

Dr. Nelson has received wide recognition for a clinic he started at the Center for children with autism in 2012. It is believed to be one of the only dental clinics of its kind, and it has enjoyed significant success in treating these children while using behavioral techniques. Dr. Nelson and colleagues published a study of their findings in 2017 in the Journal of the American Dental Association.

Dean Chiodo said that Dr. Nelson would play a key part in transforming the Sand Point clinic in Seattle’s Magnuson State Park that houses the department. The clinic is also shared by the Northwest Center for Oral and Facial Surgery, the faculty practice for the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. The dean said he plans to take steps to increase Sand Point’s existing clinical productivity and add a general dentistry faculty practice clinic there as well.

“With the leadership team of Dr. Nelson and Dr. Dodson in place, we are positioned to move forward with elevating this premier site to its highest and best operations,” he said. The Sand Point clinic, which opened in 2010, is a state-of-the art-facility with abundant free parking.

Dr. Nelson joined the department and the school’s faculty in 2010 as acting assistant professor. He was appointed clinical assistant professor in 2013 and clinic chief in 2016, when he was promoted to clinical associate professor. He also holds an appointment on the attending staff at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

“I am thrilled with the strong commitment that the administration has made to the future of our program, and I am honored to be asked to serve during this critical time in our school’s history,” Dr. Nelson said. “We will work together to ensure that the University of Washington continues to serve the children of this state and graduates clinicians who are equipped to care for the most vulnerable patients in our region.”

A 2003 graduate of Walla Walla College, he received his DDS from Loma Linda University in California in 2007, then his master’s degree and certification in pediatric dentistry and a master’s degree in public health from the UW in 2010. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and has been a co-investigator on seven research grants and a principal investigator on two grants. He has also written or collaborated on more than two dozen journal articles as well as several book chapters and other educational materials. In addition, he is an ad hoc reviewer for publications including the Journal of the American Dental Association, International Journal of Paediatric Dentistry, Special Care in Dentistry, and the Journal of Dental Education.

Dr. Natasha Flake named to lead Department of Endodontics

Dr. Natasha Flake, Associate Professor of Endodontics at the School of Dentistry, has been appointed  Acting Chair of the Department of Endodontics, Interim Dean James Johnson has announced.

Dr. Flake’s appointment fills a vacancy created last fall when Dr. Johnson, who had been department chair, assumed the deanship.

Natasha FlakeDr. Flake joined the School of Dentistry faculty as Acting Assistant Professor in 2007 after earning her MSD and Certificate in Endodontics at the University of Washington. She also holds a PhD in neuroscience and a DDS from the University of Maryland. She earned her BS in biological sciences and membership in Phi Beta Kappa at the University of Missouri. She was promoted to Associate Professor, tenure track, in 2015, and she is a diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics.

Dr. Flake, who also practices endodontics privately in Seattle, is the first faculty member to hold the Robert J. Oswald and David L. Pitts Endowed Professorship in Endodontics at the school. She has received multiple recognitions for her teaching, including the Bruce R. Rothwell Distinguished Teaching Award, the school’s highest teaching honor. In 2016, she earned the Edward M. Osetek Educator Award from the American Association of Endodontists (AAE). This year, she is completing her one-year term as an American Dental Education Association Leadership Institute Fellow, in a program designed to groom the next generation of leaders in academic dentistry.

“I am so proud of Dr. Flake. She excels in every endeavor. She is a superb clinical provider and a talented researcher and educator,” Dean Johnson said. “It was very special to me when she earned the Edward M. Osetek Educator Award. Dr. Osetek was my mentor, so for Dr. Flake to receive this award was very gratifying, because I hold both in the highest regard.”

Dr. Flake has taken a prominent role in the school’s new curriculum, which was extensively revised over the last few years and includes clerkships, a series of third-year clinical rotations designed to give students a more concentrated, focused exposure to the core skills of general dentistry. She chairs the Clerkship Directors Committee and directs the endodontics clerkship, and also contributed to the curriculum’s formulation, including service on the Curriculum Committee.

She has also played other roles at the school including Chair and Vice Chair of the Faculty Council and Director of Pre-doctoral Endodontics.

She is also an active researcher with interests in pain and outcomes of endodontic treatment.  She has been funded by the AAE Foundation, and has presented her work at national and international meetings.  She serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Journal of Endodontics and as an ad hoc reviewer for several additional scientific journals and funding agencies.

Dr. Flake is active in organized dentistry, including AAE leadership roles. She has chaired the Research and Scientific Affairs Committee and Special Committee on Practice Based Research, served on the Educational Affairs Committee, and currently serves on the AAE Board of Directors.

Dean Berg reappointed

Dr. Joel Berg has been reappointed as dean of the University of Washington School of Dentistry by UW  Provost Gerald Baldasty, pending formal approval by the UW Board of Regents.

Dr. Berg at his deskDr. Berg began his deanship in August 2012 after serving as chair of the school’s Department of Pediatric Dentistry. He came to the UW in 2003 after serving on dental faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas and working in the private sector as executive vice president for research and clinical affairs for ESPE America, Inc. and as vice president of clinical affairs for Philips Oral Healthcare.

Per UW policy, Dean Berg’s new term has no fixed length.

“I’m thrilled to be reappointed to lead the School of Dentistry,” Dean Berg said. “I’m looking forward to making continued improvements in our new curriculum and meeting our other challenges.”

Under Dean Berg, the school has implemented an extensively revised curriculum designed to give pre-doctoral students not only more procedures, but a more focused exposure to the core skills of general dentistry. This has been done through a series of third-year clerkships in which students spend from six to 12 weeks concentrating on one or two disciplines at a time.

The clerkships provide the foundation for a new fourth-year General Practice Clinic, which is designed to duplicate the conditions of private practice as much as possible.

At the same time, the biomedical science curriculum has been reorganized to integrate different ­fields of study into the study of one organ system at a time. Similarly, in the clerkships, students learn the theory of each dental specialty while they are practicing that specialty on patients. In addition, the new curriculum significantly beefed up instruction in practice management, which previously had been limited to a relatively brief stretch in fourth year. This material is now covered in all four years.

This past academic year also saw the launch of expanded five-week community clinical rotations for all fourth-year students. The new rotations draw on the experience of the Regional Initiatives in Dental Education program, whose fourth-year rotations have provided invaluable real-world experience.

“I think one of the clearest indications that we’re on the right track with the curriculum was this year’s performance by our fourth-years on the national board exams,” Dean Berg said. The students scored more than two deviations above the mean on the Part II examinations, which placed them in the top echelon of national performance. In addition, the Class of 2017 recorded a 100 percent passing rate on the Washington Regional Examining Board licensing exams.

While heading the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Berg also served as Dental Director for Seattle Children’s Hospital and as Associate Dean for Hospital Affairs, and he oversaw the creation of the Center for Pediatric Dentistry clinical teaching facility at Magnuson Park. After becoming dean, he served a one-year term as President of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

He received a DDS degree in 1983, a Certificate in Pediatric Dentistry in 1985 and an MS degree in oral biology in 1985, all from the University of Iowa. He has authored or co-authored more than 100 abstracts, articles and chapters, and is co-editor of a textbook on early childhood oral health. His research includes innovative new technologies for early caries detection, which has long been one of his major research and academic interests.

He is a Fellow of the American College of Dentists and International College of Dentists. In 2011, he was named the Washington Dental Service Foundation Distinguished Professor for Dentistry.

Two faculty members earn school’s highest recognition

Dr. Jeffrey Rubenstein and Dr. David Dean of the School of Dentistry faculty have received the 2016 Bruce R. Rothwell Teaching Awards, the school’s top faculty honor.

Dr. Rubenstein, who is Professor and Director of the school’s Maxillofacial Prosthetic Service, received the Bruce R. Rothwell Award for Lifetime Achievement in Teaching, which honors outstanding teaching over the course of a career and is given to senior or emeritus faculty.

Dr. Dean, Acting Assistant Professor in the Department of Oral Medicine, received the Bruce R. Rothwell Distinguished Teaching Award for innovative and distinguished teaching, which is bestowed on younger faculty members.

The awards were presented at a faculty retreat on Dec. 15.

Dr. Jeffrey Rubenstein (center) receives the Bruce R. Rothwell Award for Lifetime Achievement in Teaching from Dr. Patricia Rothwell and Dr. Mark Drangsholt.
Dr. Jeffrey Rubenstein (center) receives the Bruce R. Rothwell Award for Lifetime Achievement in Teaching from Dr. Patricia Rothwell and Dr. Mark Drangsholt.

Dr. Rubenstein, who practices a rare specialty that treats patients with head or neck disfigurements, was honored after three previous nominations, with his current nomination submitted by several faculty members and all of the school’s Graduate Prosthodontics residents.

“The services that Dr. Rubenstein provides do much more than simply treat medical issues; Dr. Rubenstein restores patients’ abilities to speak and function, and greatly improves their quality of life after devastating diseases such as cancer or trauma, allowing them to live whole again,” wrote faculty members in one nominating letter.

“Dr. Rubenstein continually inspires graduate students to develop more interest in this particular subspecialty, which further demonstrates his distinction as both a great clinician and a passionate educator,” they wrote.

“When a resident comes to Dr. Rubenstein with a question regarding a patient’s case, his understated enthusiasm and profound knowledge is conveyed in a series of comical idioms that leaves everyone chuckling between his punch lines,” another nominator wrote.

Dr. David Dean receives the Bruce R. Rothwell Award for Distinguished Teaching from Dr. Patricia Rothwell and Dr. Mark Drangsholt.
Dr. David Dean receives the Bruce R. Rothwell Award for Distinguished Teaching from Dr. Patricia Rothwell and Dr. Mark Drangsholt.

Dr. Dean, who joined the faculty in 2014 after earning his DDS and completing a residency in Oral Medicine at the University of Washington, had already received recognition of his teaching abilities with his selection by the graduating Class of 2016 as their commencement keynote speaker in June.

His achievements include being co-creator of a new first-year Dental Foundations course for the cardio-pulmonary-respiratory portion of the curriculum and creation of new competency examinations in oral and pharyngeal cancer for the school’s third-year clerkship curriculum. He was also appointed in July as graduate program director of the Oral Medicine residency, a rare achievement for a junior faculty member.

Wrote several faculty members in their letter of nomination: “Watching Dr. Dean in any lecture setting is truly inspiring.  You can tell in the first 30 seconds that he absolutely loves teaching. He has great passion for it, and is devoted to students learning all the required materials. … [Students have said] they really learn from the careful, timely, and detailed feedback he gives on all assignments.”

The Rothwell Awards honor the late Dr. Bruce R. Rothwell, who was Chair of Restorative Dentistry at the UW from 1993 until his death from kidney cancer in 2000 at the age of 52. Renowned as a forensic dentist, he served as a consultant to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office and in the 1980s worked with UW colleague Dr. Tom Morton to identify victims in the Green River serial murder case.   He was posthumously honored by the American Society of Forensic Odontology.

Dr. Rothwell also directed the School of Dentistry’s General Practice Residency program and was noted for his expertise in teaching, research and care of medically compromised patients. He devised Rothwell’s Solution, a painkilling mouthwash still in use to help patients undergoing radiation and chemotherapy for mouth cancers.

The awards were presented by Dr. Patricia Rothwell, who was Dr. Rothwell’s wife, and Dr. Mark Drangsholt, Chair of the Department of Oral Medicine and chair of the award selection committee.

“Our school’s worldwide reputation for excellence is built largely on the efforts of outstanding faculty such as Dr. Rubenstein and Dr. Dean,” Dean Joel Berg said. “They’re entirely deserving of this recognition, and I’m delighted that we can honor their work with these awards.”

School announces leadership changes

Dr. E. Ricardo Schwedhelm will become Associate Dean for Clinics at the School of Dentistry, effective Jan. 1, 2017, Dean Joel Berg has announced.

Dr. E. Ricardo Schwedhelm
Dr. E. Ricardo Schwedhelm

Dr. Schwedhelm, who now directs the school’s new fourth-year general practice pre-doctoral program, will oversee the school’s clinical operations in his new position. He will assume the post from its current holder, Dr. John Sorensen, who will become Associate Dean for Graduate Studies. Dr. Sorensen, who joined the school’s faculty in 2012, has been Associate Dean for Clinics since the beginning of 2015.

Dean Berg has filled the Graduate Studies post on an acting basis since the retirement of Dr. Rebecca Slayton on June 30.

The new assignments were prompted by Dr. Sorensen’s need to devote more time to his growing research lab, Dean Berg said. Dr. Sorensen, who has spent three years building his Biomimetics Biomaterials Biophotonics Biomechanics & Technology Laboratory, or B4T, has generated a funded clinical trial and funded laboratory research.

“I’m proud of the transformation we have made in our pre-doctoral clinics and the organizational structure we have built for all of our clinic operations,” Dr. Sorensen said. At the same time, he added, “I came to the UW with a vision for a major research initiative capitalizing on the rapid advancements occurring in both dental ceramics and digital work flows for both implant and conventional prosthodontics.”

Dr. John Sorensen
Dr. John Sorensen

Dr. Sorensen said his laboratory is already doing pioneering research and development. “I think we are now well on our way to elevating the UW to international leadership in these areas of research,” he said.

Dr. Sorensen, who has also been Director of Research for the school’s Graduate Prosthodontics program for more than three years, has also facilitated research with junior faculty, graduate specialty students and pre-doctoral students in materials science and prosthodontic research.

Dr. Schwedhelm’s key responsibilities will include clinical management, patient-centered care, compliance, quality assurance, and updating clinical policies and procedures. He will work closely with graduate program directors, department chairs, the Assistant Dean of Finance and staff including patient care coordinators.

Dr. Schwedhelm added that he would also like to obtain more input from the American Dental Education Association and other dental schools on clinical operations and issues.

“We’re fortunate that both of these exceptionally capable dental educators will continue to play key roles at the School of Dentistry,” Dean Berg said. “Dr. Schwedhelm already enjoys a reputation for insisting on the highest and most exacting standards among our students. And I believe that Dr. Sorensen will give our graduate programs strong leadership while he and his lab are poised to make exciting strides in restorative dental technology.”

The school’s clinical operations include pre-doctoral clinics in which third-year and fourth-year students treat patients under close faculty supervision, along with graduate student clinics in which licensed dentists treat patients while studying for an advanced degree and certification in a dental specialty. Operations also include faculty practice, in which faculty members deliver care much along the lines of private practice.

The school operates several other specialty clinics, including Dental Education in Care of Persons with Disabilities (DECOD), which treats patients with developmental or acquired disabilities; the Dental Fears  Clinic, which treats patients with significant dental phobias; and the Advanced General Dentistry clinic, which provides advanced restorative and esthetic dental care and also provides dental clearance for pre-transplant patients.

Dr. Ryan O’Connor takes reins of GPR program

Dr. Ryan O’Connor of Seattle has been named the new Program Director of the School of Dentistry’s General Practice Residency (GPR) program and will also direct the school’s Advanced General Dentistry clinic, Dean Joel Berg has announced.

Ryan O'ConnorThe appointment took effect Nov. 1. Dr. O’Connor succeeds Dr. Robert Nieman, who is departing the school after leading the GPR program since December 2010 and serving on the faculty since 1980.

The GPR program, a one-year residency with an optional second year, trains general dentists to treat medically complex adult and child patients in a hospital setting. It also further refines the skills acquired during the first four years of dental education leading to a DDS degree.

Dr. O’Connor, who graduated from the program in 2010, also received his DDS from the University of Washington, in 2009. Since 2010, he has practiced privately in Everett and Seattle and also served as a part-time and affiliate instructor in the school’s Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery since 2011.

The department is home to the GPR program and the Advanced General Dentistry Clinic, which offers a full range of dental services such as crowns, bridges, dentures and implants, and esthetic dentistry. It also provides dental clearance for pre-transplant patients and others with medical issues.

“I am delighted to welcome Dr. Ryan O’Connor as the new program director of the General Practice Residency,” said Dr. Thomas Dodson, Chair of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

“It took a long time and many interviews to find the right fit, because there are large shoes to fill. Dr. Nieman is a special person, and it took finding just the right individual to step into the program directorship.”

“As Dr. O’Connor takes over our GPR program, I also want to express my gratitude to Dr. Nieman for his steady, capable leadership over the years,” said Dean Berg. “He has guided GPR through challenging times and kept it on course, and we owe him a great deal for his outstanding service.”

“Now we have an outstanding successor in Dr. O’Connor, and I fully expect our GPR program to continue  its tradition of excellence under his direction,” Dean Berg said.

Dr. O’Connor also holds appointments as an attending staff member at Harborview Medical Center, the University of Washington Medical Center, and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

“I hope to maintain and expand GPR program’s strong tradition in training,” Dr. O’Connor said. “Our residents come fresh out of dental school and leave the program poised for a successful dental career.  We have had excellent leadership with Dr. Nieman and I hope to continue that.”

Dr. Kimberly Espinoza receives first fellowship from endowment for excellence in teaching

Dr. Kimberly Espinoza, director of the School of Dentistry’s special-needs clinic, has been named the recipient of the first fellowship from a new endowment to promote excellence in teaching at the School.

Dr. Espinoza received the year-long fellowship from the 2016-2017 Kokich Mathews Spear Endowed Fund for Academic Leadership in Dentistry, which supports a personalized master class in the art and science of effective presentation. The fellowship, which includes a $3,000 stipend, was launched in 2009 by three alumni of the school who were also one of the dentistry’s most prominent continuing-education lecture teams.

Upper body shots of Dr. Matthews, Dr. Spear, and Dr. Kokichin formal wear.
Dr. David Mathews (left), Dr. Frank Spear (center) and Dr. Vincent Kokich, shown at the School of Dentistry’s annual Dean’s Club dinner in April 2012, sought to promote excellence in teaching at the School.

Drs. Vincent G. Kokich, David P. Mathews and Frank M. Spear spent more than 25 years lecturing together as leading proponents of interdisciplinary dentistry, which emphasizes a carefully planned team approach when a patient requires different specialists. The three dedicated one of their final joint appearances, in Seattle in 2009, to raising funds for the endowment, which is intended to help School of Dentistry teachers refine and improve their pedagogical skills. Dr. Kokich passed away in 2013.

“I am excited to be selected for many reasons,” said Dr. Espinoza, who has directed the Dental Education in Care of Persons With Disabilities (DECOD) program since2014. She has also chaired the Special Care Dentistry Association’s Council of Dentistry for People with Disabilities.

“I am particularly interested in different ways to engage students in a large classroom setting. I’ve spent the last year in the University of Washington Teaching Scholars Program focusing on curriculum development and educational scholarship, and am excited to expand on this by developing my presentation skills and delivery of content to students,” she said. “It’s an honor to be presented with this opportunity.”

Dr. Kimberly Espinoza
Dr. Kimberly Espinoza

Dr. Espinoza, a faculty member in the School’s Department of Oral Medicine, was chosen for the fellowship from a field of faculty applicants by a selection committee organized by Dr. Linda LeResche, Associate Dean for Research.

Drs. Kokich, Mathews and Spear fully acknowledged the profound influence exerted by their own teachers.  As they built international reputations as dental educators, they also learned from experience what would best help students master the material at hand – evidenced-based instruction, strong communication and presentation skills, open-minded inquiry and techniques to create a dynamic and nurturing environment for students.

“We’ve learned from one another,” Dr. Kokich said in 2009. “We’ve seen what doesn’t work in teaching, and have been able to use that to teach people. We realized we never learned that in dental school. I never had the opportunity as a faculty member, if I wanted to improve my teaching skills, to be guided by people who do this for a living.”

Mary Kokich Boer headshot
Mary Kokich Boer

Dr. Espinoza will be working with Mary Kokich Boer, Dr. Kokich’s daughter, who is a faculty member in the School of Education at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash. Kokich, who holds a master’s degree in teaching and is a nationally board-certified teacher, also worked for 13 years as a public school teacher and lectured individually and with her father on topics related to effective teaching and engaging audiences.

Using the faculty member’s own course materials, the fellowship will incorporate in-depth instruction in evidenced-based methodologies and videotape practice sessions to optimize all aspects of effective teaching and learning, including:

  • Designing intentional and effective lessons – objectives, organization, content, flow, visual elements and use of technology.
  • Increasing engagement – communication strategies to promote learning.
  • Fostering active learning – developing a culture of class participation.

At the end of her fellowship year, Dr. Espinoza will be invited by Drs. Spear and Mathews to present with them at a special lecture at the School of Dentistry in the fall of 2017.

“I’m delighted by Dr. Espinoza’s selection,” Dean Joel Berg said. “DECOD has been one of our great legacy programs for more than 40 years, and it has been instrumental in training our students to become competent, compassionate providers of care to patients with special needs. Dr. Espinoza has already helped DECOD make significant strides, and with this additional training, I believe she will take the program to even greater heights.

“I’d also like to convey my deep appreciation for the endowment to Dr. Mathews and Dr. Spear and to the family of Dr. Kokich. This is a truly meaningful gesture of support for our faculty that will bear tremendous dividends in the years to come.”

Dr. Van Ramos Jr. tapped to head Graduate Prosthodontics program

Dr. Van Ramos Jr. of the U.S. Army Dental Corps has been selected director of the Graduate Prosthodontics program at the School of Dentistry after a nationwide search, Dean Joel Berg has announced.

Dr. Van Ramos Jr.Dr. Ramos most recently has been program director for the U.S. Army Prosthodontic Residency at Fort Gordon, Ga.  He also has been Prosthodontic Consultant to the U.S. Army Surgeon General.  He will begin his duties on Dec. 1, taking over from Dr. Hai Zhang, who has been interim director with the assistance of Dr. John Townsend since 2013.

“I consider this a real coup for our Graduate Prosthodontics program,” Dean Berg said. “Dr. Ramos enjoys a stellar reputation in the prosthodontics community, and our search showed him to be a clear standout.” Dean Berg noted that Dr. Ramos was honored last October with the Maj. Gen. Bill B. Lefler Federal Services Award by the American College of Prosthodontists (ACP) at the organization’s annual session. The award recognizes excellence in leadership, patient care, mentorship and service to the community by ACP members serving in the U.S. military, the Public Health Service, or the Veterans Administration.

“Dr. Ramos brings a very impressive set of skills to the UW and our Graduate Prosthodontics program,” said Dr. Daniel Chan, Chair of the Department of Restorative Dentistry, the program’s parent department. “I am greatly looking forward to working with him.”

The three-year residency program, which is closely integrated with the Department of Periodontics, includes instruction in Fixed Prosthodontics, Removable Prosthodontics, Implant Prosthodontics and Maxillofacial Prosthetics.

Dr. Ramos received his DDS degree from the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston in 1985 and his certificate in the Advanced Education Program in Prosthodontics from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 1994. He is a Diplomate of The American Board of Prosthodontics and a Fellow in the American College of Prosthodontists and the International College of Dentists.  Dr. Ramos, who lectures nationally and internationally on esthetics and implant dentistry, is also a member of the American Academy of Fixed Prosthodontics and the American Dental Association.

“I’m very excited about becoming a part of a very prestigious university,” Dr. Ramos said.  “The University of Washington Prosthodontic Residency has long been one of the top programs in the country.”

“I want to thank Dr. Jeffrey Rubenstein, who led our search committee, which spent a great deal of time and energy on this critical effort,” Dean Berg said. “Their work has clearly paid off with an outstanding selection.”

Dr. Slayton to resign from UW positions

Dr. Rebecca Slayton, director of the University of Washington Center for Pediatric Dentistry, chair of the UW Department of Pediatric Dentistry and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies at the UW School of Dentistry, will step down from these posts and retire from the UW this year, the school has announced.

Dr. Rebecca Slayton at the podium
Dr. Rebecca Slayton speaks to the crowd gathered to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the University of Washington Center for Pediatric Dentistry in October 2015.

Dr. Slayton will conclude her duties as department chair and director of the Center on Feb. 29. She will continue her role as Associate Dean at the School of Dentistry and will teach and see patients at the Center until June 30.

“I have learned more than I ever imagined and have had the pleasure of working with a wonderful group of dedicated professionals,” Dr. Slayton wrote in a letter of resignation to Dean Joel Berg.

Dr. Slayton, who said that family needs compelled her resignation, added that she plans to continue working as a volunteer dentist at the Center one day a week after June 30.

Dr. Slayton, who holds the rank of professor with tenure, has been director at the Center and chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry since March 1, 2013. She came to the UW from the University of Iowa, where she was also professor and chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry. At Iowa, Dr. Slayton had earned her DDS degree, certificate in pediatric dentistry, an MS in engineering and a PhD in genetics.

She was also intimately involved in laying the groundwork for the Center during an earlier stint at the UW as associate professor and graduate program director in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry from 2004 to 2008. During that time, she was research chair and director of the Early Childhood Oral Health Project. This became the foundation for the Center, which opened in September 2010.

“We are indebted in so many ways to Dr. Slayton for the tremendous work she has done in helping create the Center and then guiding it through a critical time in these early years,” Dean Berg said. “Her leadership has helped us realize our vision of a world-class facility that delivers superb patient care and also conducts research into the best practices in pediatric oral health.”

Dean Berg added, “At the same time, she has built on her department’s strong traditions to ensure that  our pediatric dental residents continue to receive unsurpassed training.  She leaves an outstanding legacy.”

Dean Berg said that he and Dr. Travis Nelson, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, will share administrative duties at the Center for the time being. No time frame has been set for the search for a new department chair, he said.  Dr. Berg will serve as Acting Chair in the interim.

Dr. Slayton is also director of the Dental Department at Seattle Children’s Hospital and said she plans to continue in that position after her retirement from the UW.

She currently serves as the Chair of the Scientific Program Committee for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, as a member of the American Dental Association’s Council on Scientific Affairs, Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board for the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation and has been a consultant to the ADA’s Commission on Dental Accreditation. She regularly serves as an examiner for the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry and has been an ad hoc reviewer for leading dental journals.

Oral Pathology Biopsy Service welcomes Dr. Yeshwant Rawal

Dr. Yeshwant Rawal, a board-certified oral pathologist with more than 25 years of experience, has joined the University of Washington Oral Pathology Biopsy Service (OPBS), Dr. Dolphine Oda, the service’s director, has announced.

Dr. Yeshwant Rawal
Dr. Yeshwant Rawal

“I am delighted to have Dr. Rawal join our team,” said Dr. Oda, Professor in the Department  of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the UW School of Dentistry. She said that Dr. Rawal was selected after a nationwide search and noted that his experience encompasses diagnostic clinical pathology and histopathology. He joins the OPBS as Associate Professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

The OPBS, established in 1948, is Washington state’s only service specializing exclusively in oral and maxillofacial pathology, offering diagnostic and slide consultation to doctors and dentists. It serves nearly 900 practitioners as well as hospitals and surgical pathology laboratories throughout the Pacific Northwest. Its services include standard tissue processing and staining, immunofluorescence, flow cytometry, immunocytochemistry and genetic testing.

The OPBS has been averaging 6,000 new cases a year and in most instances issues reports within 24 hours after receipt of a specimen. Dr. Oda said that she anticipates that the OPBS could handle as many as 9,000 new cases a year with the addition of Dr. Rawal.

Along with his work for the OPBS, Dr. Rawal will also teach pre-doctoral and post-doctoral UW dental students and will also teach continuing education courses for dental professionals, Dr. Oda said.

“In addition to receiving clinical consults and biopsies for histopathological interpretation, Dr. Rawal welcomes requests for consultation on clinical and biopsy-related issues,” Dr. Oda said.  Clinicians who have not used the service before are also welcome to contact Dr. Rawal to learn about the submission process.  He can be reached at ybrawal@uw.edu or (206) 221-3960.

Dr. Rawal holds advanced degrees in oral pathology from Gujarat University in India and oral biology from The Ohio State University, where he also served a residency in oral and maxillofacial pathology. He also holds appointments at the University of Washington Medical Center, Harborview Medical Center, and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

He is chair of the American Dental Education Association’s Oral Pathology Section and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology.

Dr. Rawal is co-author of Diagnosis and Management of Oral Lesions and Conditions: A Resource Handbook for the Clinician and has authored or co-authored more than three dozen peer-viewed journal articles, along with several book chapters.

“Dr. Rawal and I continue the School of Dentistry’s Oral Pathology Biopsy Service’s commitment to providing excellent oral pathology educational experiences for all of our students and colleagues, along with the highest-quality, most up-to-date diagnostic services possible for our patients,” Dr. Oda said.

Dr. Daniel C.N. Chan named Chair of Restorative Dentistry

Dr. Daniel C.N. Chan has been named Chair of the Department of Restorative Dentistry at the University of Washington School of Dentistry, effective June 1, the school has announced.

Dr. Chan
Dr. Chan

Dr. Chan succeeds Dr. E. Ricardo Schwedhelm, who has served as Acting Chair since 2012. Dr. Chan will oversee the school’s largest department, which teaches pre-doctoral students how to assess and repair damage to teeth caused by dental disease or trauma. Subject areas include dental materials science, operative dentistry, occlusion (how the teeth contact one another) and prosthodontics (the design and fabrication of dental prostheses, such as dentures). The department also includes the Graduate Prosthodontics program for dentists who are studying to earn certification in this specialty.

“I’m delighted that Dr. Chan will lead our largest department as we continue our transformation of the school to produce a true dentist of the future,” Dean Joel Berg said. “Not only does he have superb credentials in academic and operative dentistry, but he is also a noted researcher. I also believe his collegial temperament will be a great asset in this critical position.”

Dr. Schwedhelm
Dr. Schwedhelm

The school also announced two related appointments. Dr. Schwedhelm, who has also served as the Restorative Dentistry clinic director, was named to direct the school’s new fourth-year practice program. The program, which will be phased in during the 2015-16 academic year and fully implemented in the succeeding year, will be significantly more intensive than the current model. With students seeing many more patients in their final pre-doctoral year of training, it will be designed to duplicate the private practice experience as closely as possible.

Dr. Flake
Dr. Flake

Dr. Natasha Flake, a member of the Department of Endodontics faculty, was named to chair the school’s Clerkship Committee. Starting this summer, the school will implement a new system of “clerkships,” a series of intensive third-year rotations in the various disciplines of general dentistry. Dr. Chan had held that post since the beginning of 2015, but will now yield it to focus on his new duties as Restorative Dentistry chair. However, he will retain oversight of one clerkship, Operative Dentistry.

“It’s a testament to the strength of our school that we have such able faculty members,” Dean Berg said in a message to faculty, staff and students.

Dr. Chan came to the UW in 2008 from the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry to become Associate Dean for Clinical Services, a post he relinquished at the beginning of 2015 to take up oversight of the clerkship program. He holds the Washington Dental Service Endowed Chair in Dentistry at the UW and is immediate past president of the national Academy of Operative Dentistry. He is also a widely respected researcher, and in 2013 was part of a research team that received a patent for antibacterial applications of titanium-based material, which holds wide dental and medical potential for preventing infection without the use of antibiotics.

Dr. Chan has received both a DMD from the University of the Philippines and a DDS from the University of Iowa. He has also had postgraduate training at the UW, the University of Iowa and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Dr. Chan has also held faculty appointments at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and the University of Iowa. He has served on several journal editorial boards, and is a member of the American Dental Association, the International Association for Dental Research, the American Association of Dental Schools Operative and Biomaterials Division, the Academy of Dental Materials, the Academy of Operative Dentistry, the Washington State Dental Association and the Seattle King County Dental Society.

School announces leadership appointments

Dean Joel Berg has announced three leadership appointments at the School of Dentistry.

  • Dr. John Sorensen of the school’s Department of Restorative Dentistry faculty has been named Associate Dean for Clinics, effective Jan. 1, 2015, with responsibility for overseeing the school’s clinical operations.
  • Dr. Daniel Chan has been named chair of the school’s Clerkship Committee and director of the Operative Dentistry clerkship, effective immediately. Starting in the fall of 2015, the school is changing its clinical training system to clerkships, a series of intensive rotations in all the core competencies of dentistry. Dr. Chan, who has been Associate Dean for Clinical Services since 2008, will relinquish that position on Jan. 1 to focus on his clerkship duties.
  • Robert Wanezek, now Revenue Cycle Director, will become Assistant Dean for Clinical Services, effective Jan. 1, 2015. Working with Dr. Sorensen, he will direct the centralization of administration for the school’s multiple clinics. He will also oversee a new Program Administration group, which will develop and implement process improvement and training, clinical performance data and reporting, clinic policies and facilities improvement.

“These are important changes for us as we continue our efforts to improve our patients’ experience and remake our curriculum and clinical training to produce a true dentist of the future,” Dean Berg said. “To a great extent, these new titles simply reflect the work these outstanding members of our faculty and administration are already doing.”

Dr. SorensenDr. Sorensen was president and founder of the Pacific Dental Institute in Oregon before joining the UW in October 2013. He has held appointments at Oregon Health & Science University and the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine, and was founder and director of the Dental Clinical Research Center at OHSU. At the UW, he has directed the dental school’s Clinical Operations Task Force, which evaluated every aspect of the school’s clinical services. He now directs a new admissions clinic which is expected to double the capacity to process new patients by March 1, which is essential to the success of the clerkship rotations. He holds a Ph.D. in dental materials from the Royal Dental College of Copenhagen University and a D.M.D. from Tufts University.

Dr. ChanDr. Chan, who came to the UW in 2008 from the Medical College of Georgia, holds the Washington Dental Service Endowed Chair in Dentistry at the UW. He is currently president of the national Academy of Operative Dentistry. In 2013, he was part of a research team that received a patent for antibacterial applications of titanium-based material, which holds wide dental and medical potential for preventing infection without the use of antibiotics. Dr. Chan has received both a D.M.D. from the University of the Philippines and a D.D.S. from the University of Iowa. He has also had postgraduate training at the UW, the University of Iowa and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Bob WanezekWanezek came to the UW in March 2013 from Amazon, where he was a senior manager overseeing the external distribution program in North America. In his new position, he will work closely with Dr. Sorensen and direct the building of operational infrastructure to support the clerkships and general practice clinics. He has already overseen significant changes to improve the School of Dentistry’s financial operations and administrative efficiency. He has also held positions with Microsoft and Washington Mutual, and holds a B.S. in business administration from Washington State University.

Dr. Mouradian announces retirement

Dr. Wendy Mouradian, Associate Dean for Regional and Interprofessional Affairs and founder of the RIDE regional program, has announced that she will retire on Sept. 15.

Dr. Mouradian
Dr. Wendy Mouradian will continue to advise the School of Dentistry on curriculum revision, interprofessional education and the expansion of the RIDE program.

While Dr. Mouradian will be officially retiring from her full-time duties, she will continue to work part time to advise on curriculum revision, interprofessional education and RIDE, Dean Joel Berg said.

“It’s all but impossible to imagine where we’d be without her voice and vision,” Dean Berg said. “When you look at the intersection of medicine and dentistry, there are very few people who figure as prominently as Wendy Mouradian.” He said that with Dr. Mouradian’s support, he will temporarily spearhead a proposed expansion of the Regional Initiatives in Dental Education program.

Dr. Mouradian said the time was right for her move, with Dr. Sara Gordon’s arrival on Oct. 1 as the new Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, as well as Dr. Frank Roberts taking leadership of the RIDE program and Dr. John Evans heading up implementation of the School’s revamped curriculum – all areas where Dr. Mouradian has played major roles.

“Changes in clinical efficiency, organizational structure and curriculum are moving forward to define the dentist of the future with a truly unique UW vision,” she said. “It has been a great privilege contributing to this work.”

Dr. Mouradian has long been one of the nation’s most visible and influential voices in efforts to improve children’s oral health.

A pediatrician by training, she co-chaired the first national summit on children’s oral health in 2008, and several years earlier organized the U.S. Surgeon General’s Conference on Children and Oral Health for the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. That conference was part of the rollout of “Oral Health in America,” a landmark report from the Surgeon General in 2000.

In 2009, she co-edited a special issue on children’s oral health by the journal Academic Pediatrics, examining progress made toward the goals set by the surgeon general’s report. She also has served as an oral health adviser to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and has co-chaired an American Association of Medical Colleges and American Dental Education Association joint panel to develop common curricula for medical and dental students.

In 2010, the federal government named her an oral health advisor to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which seeks to improve access to health care services for people who are uninsured, isolated, or medically vulnerable. She took on these duties in addition to her work at the UW, where she was also a professor of pediatric dentistry and pediatrics at the Schools of Dentistry and Medicine and also held adjunct appointments in Dental Public Health Sciences and Health Services (School of Public Health).

More recently, she has led the School of Dentistry’s discussions with the School of Medicine on incorporating oral health more fully into the medical-school curriculum. She has also been a national leader in enlisting pediatricians to help fight childhood dental disease, playing a key role in the AAP’s efforts to get its members more involved in caries screening and prevention.

One of Dr. Mouradian’s signature achievements was RIDE, which this year graduated its third cohort of students. The innovative program, in which students spend their first year and part of their fourth year in Eastern Washington, seeks to address access-to-care issues in rural and underserved areas of the state. It also offers students an enriched clinical experience and has been a leader in distance-learning technology.

Noting that the state Board of Health has recommended expanding the RIDE program to address dental work force needs for underserved populations, Dr. Mouradian said, “We now think about wanting RIDE types of experiences for all students.”

Said Dean Berg: “We would not have this groundbreaking program without Wendy.”

Dr. Mouradian, who spent more than a decade in private pediatric practice in Washington state, came to the School of Dentistry in 1998 after serving as director of the craniofacial program of Seattle Children’s hospital. She was named associate dean in 2007.

Dr. Kimberly Espinoza is new DECOD director

Dr. Kimberly M. Espinoza, formerly a member of the University of New Mexico dental faculty and director of one of that state’s primary special-needs dental clinics, began work on July 1 as the new director of the School of Dentistry’s DECOD special-needs clinical program.

EspinozaDr. Espinoza had been an associate professor in the Department of Dental Medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. For more than seven years she also directed the university’s Carrie Tingley Hospital Dental Clinic, one of New Mexico’s only two dental clinics for people with developmental disabilities.

“We’re delighted to welcome Dr. Espinoza to the UW and DECOD,” Dean Berg said. “This is a very meaningful appointment for a number of reasons. For four decades, DECOD has been a critical resource for Washington citizens with special needs, serving thousands of patients both on campus and during on-site visits to group homes and other facilities.

“DECOD also embodies one of our school’s core values: our continuing responsibility to care for patients who are vulnerable or at heightened risk for dental disease and its consequences.”

The Dental Education in Care of Persons with Disabilities program, which began in the 1970s and records 3,500 to 4,500 patient visits a year, treats persons with severe developmental or acquired disabilities. These include people with autism, retardation, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis and psychiatric disorders. In many cases, these patients – most of whom are financially disadvantaged and receive public assistance – have few if any other options for dental treatment in a community setting. The program also has a geriatric component for elderly patients with disabilities and those who are in independent living programs.

While DECOD has professional care providers, the program also involves dental students in patients’ treatment. Dr. Espinoza’s appointment coincides with a shift in DECOD’s focus, Dean Berg said.

“In the past, DECOD has not just provided care, but has also been an important training ground for our pre-doctoral students in treating people with special needs,” he said. “We believe this has helped us produce dentists who are more sensitive to these patients’ needs, and are better equipped and more likely to treat such patients after graduation.”

Now, however, the program will expand to embrace post-doctoral training as well, Dean Berg said.

“We plan to integrate DECOD into the training of our graduate residency students, in particular those in our Advanced General Dentistry residency program,” he said. “This is a natural fit, especially since the AGD program includes training in the treatment of medically complex patients. I believe this will not only enhance our own training, but will also let us expand DECOD’s capacity for treatment.”

Dr. Espinoza had taught in the UNM Advanced Education in General Dentistry residency program, where she served as a research mentor and trained dental students, faculty members, dental hygienists and dental assistants in treating patients with developmental disabilities. She has also worked with Special Care Advocates in Dentistry to update self-study training modules, and she is co-chair of the Special Care Dentistry Association’s Council on Dentistry for People with Disabilities. She also served as the special-care dentist for the UNM’s Cleft and Craniofacial Team.

Dr. Espinoza received her bachelor’s degree from Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, Calif., in 2000, her DDS from the University of Southern California in 2004, her Advanced Education in General Dentistry certificate from UNM in 2006 and a master’s degree in public health from UNM in 2011.

Dr. Sara Gordon named new associate dean

Dr. Sara Gordon of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) has been named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the School of Dentistry, Dean Joel Berg has announced. Her appointment will take effect on Oct. 1, pending approval by the university’s Board of Regents.

Dr. Sarah GordonIn this newly created post, Dr. Gordon will oversee administration of the School’s academic programs as well as  curriculum development, student progress, academic regulations, educational technologies, regional academic operations and the continuing dental education steering committee.  Dr. Wendy Mouradian, the School’s Associate Dean for Regional Affairs, Curriculum and Educational Technology, has assumed those duties on an interim basis for the last several months.

“I’m delighted to welcome Dr. Gordon to our School and the UW,” Dr. Berg said. “She is a superbly qualified dental educator who will play a critical role as we install a revamped curriculum to produce a true dentist of the future.” Dr. Gordon was selected from among four finalists after a nationwide search.

“We’re changing our curriculum to be even more strongly evidence-based and aligned more effectively with a new clinical training system of intensive clerkship rotations,” Dean Berg said. “For some time, we’ve seen the need to have a separate associate dean focusing squarely on academic affairs as we prepare to implement these changes in the fall of 2015.”

Dr. Gordon said, “I’m very excited about coming to the UW, and I fully share Dean Berg’s vision of a forward-looking dental school curriculum. The School of Dentistry has a great history and tradition, and this is a wonderful opportunity to be on the cutting edge of dental education.”

Since 2006, Dr. Gordon has been Associate Professor in the Department of Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences at UIC’s College of Dentistry. Her other appointments include associate membership in the UIC dental school’s Center for the Molecular Biology of Oral Diseases and an adjunct associate professorship in the College of Medicine’s Department of Pathology.

Previously, she held dental faculty appointments at the University of Detroit Mercy and in Canada at the University of Western Ontario and Dalhousie University. A dual American and Canadian citizen, she received a DDS from Dalhousie University, a master’s degree in pathology from the University of Western Ontario, and a BA in English from Dalhousie and a BS in biology from St. Mary’s University in Nova Scotia.

She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and Canada’s Royal College of Dentists in oral medicine and oral pathology. She is currently Director of Oral Pathology Graduate Education at UIC.

In 2003, she became acquainted with the UW when she attended the School of Dentistry’s Summer Institute for Clinical Dental Research Methods. She has been an active researcher and presenter, with more than 40 peer-reviewed journal publications and several book chapters, and has participated in more than 130 professional development workshops and presentations.  She has also been a reviewer for journals including the Journal of Dental Research, the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, the Journal of Dental Education, Special Care in Dentistry, and the Journal of Investigative and Clinical Dentistry.

In addition, she has been active in community service through organizations including the UIC Dental Charity Foundation, American Diabetes Association, Children’s Bridge International Adoptions and Bryony House Domestic Abuse Shelter.

Dr. Mouradian gives Harvard’s Giddon lecture

Dr. Wendy Mouradian of the School of Dentistry faculty discussed “The Intersection of Dentistry and Medicine in the Future” as she presented Harvard University’s Donald B. Giddon Annual Lecture in Behavioral Medicine and Dentistry earlier this month.

Dr. MouradianDr. Mouradian, whose training as a pediatrician and experience as a dental educator has given her an especially strong perspective on this topic, is Associate Dean for Regional and Interprofessional Affairs as well as Acting Dean of Academic Affairs at the School of Dentistry. For more than a decade, she has also been a national leader in the effort to more closely align pediatric preventive dental care and medicine. Currently, she also leads the School of Dentistry’s discussions with the UW School of Medicine to incorporate oral health more extensively in the medical-school curriculum.

Two of the major questions she addressed during her lecture, which is sponsored by the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, included:

  • What are the likely roles of the dentist of the future, and what kind of training will best prepare today’s students to take on these roles?
  • What kinds of opportunities and challenges does the changing health care system present for oral health care in the future?

Dr. Dodson announces “OMS Grand Rounds” lecture series

Dr. Thomas Dodson, Chair of the School of Dentistry’s Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery (OMS), has announced the launch on Jan. 15, 2014 of “OMS Grand Rounds,” a wide-ranging series of lectures of high interest to the OMS community.

OMS Grand Rounds will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of each month in Turner Auditorium, Room D209 of the UW Health Sciences Center. The title of the first lecture, to be delivered by Dr. Dodson, will be “To sleep – perchance to breathe: Operative management of obstructive sleep apnea.”

Dr. Tom Dodson

Dr. Dodson said that other lectures will cover topics such as management of challenging dentoalveolar and pre-prosthetics cases, surgical correction of facial trauma, presentation and management of head and neck pathology, and treatment of complex craniofacial deformities.

“As an academic department, we are responsible not only for the training of students and residents, but also for maintaining the competencies and relevance of a greater community of practicing oral and maxillofacial surgeons,” Dr. Dodson said.  “OMS Grand Rounds is one of the ways we serve our alumni and other oral and maxillofacial surgeons in the region to raise the quality and standards of OMS care.”

Working at the intersection of medicine and dentistry, oral and maxillofacial surgeons benefit from sharing their experiences, as well as those of other specialists, who may face similar issues of patient management, bone healing, pathology, infection, and even substance abuse or psychology.

“It is my goal to present the sages and the pioneers,” Dr. Dodson said, “allowing us to reflect on the significance of our body of work as oral and maxillofacial surgeons as well as to consider what the next waves of technology and innovation will bring.  What is evolving today in orthopedics or plastic surgery may be tomorrow’s bread and butter in OMS.”

OMS Grand Rounds is free and open to the public. While the lectures will be geared toward the OMS community, they will also be of interest to pre- and post-doctoral dental students, UW dental alumni and other practicing dentists, as well as to physicians specializing in disorders of the head and neck region, Dr. Dodson said.

Continuing-education credit will be offered for registered attendees. Each 50-minute lecture will be preceded by a light meal.

Dr. Dodson assumed his position at the UW on Sept. 1 after serving as Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. He was also Attending Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and Director of the Center for Applied Clinical Investigation in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital.  He currently serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Dr. Peter Milgrom to speak on oral health at NIH seminar

Dr. Peter Milgrom of the Department of Oral Health Sciences will be a featured speaker at the Health Disparities Seminar Series of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Md., on Aug. 15.

Dr. MilgromDr. Milgrom, who will give a presentation on “Reducing Disparities in Mother and Child Oral Health:  Research Needed to Meet Healthy People 2020 Goals,” was invited to appear at the seminar by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), a branch of NIH. The Aug. 15 session is believed to be the first in the NIH monthly series to focus on oral health.

As the longtime director of the UW’s Northwest Center to Reduce Oral Health Disparities, Dr. Milgrom has been recognized as a leader in this field of research. In 2012, he received the American Dental Association’s Norton M. Ross Award for Excellence in Clinical Research, the ADA’s highest research honor.  He has been named Distinguished Dental Behavioral Scientist by the International Association for Dental Research, which also presented him its Barrows Milk Award for his work in public health, including the development of the Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) program in Washington state. He is Professor of Dental Public Health Sciences and Pediatric Dentistry in the UW School of Dentistry and also adjunct Professor of Health Services in the UW School of Public Health and Community Medicine.

“It’s very gratifying to learn of this invitation to Dr. Milgrom, who has been a great innovator in health disparities research,” said Dean Joel Berg of the School of Dentistry. “I think that having him on the first such NIH seminar program to address oral health is a clear recognition of the UW’s leadership in investigating and addressing oral health disparities.”

The NIH seminars are intended to disseminate information on minority health and health disparities research to the NIH community, other federal agencies and the general public. Presenters include federal officials, grant recipients and scientists from NIH institutes and centers and other federal agencies, as well as national and international authorities in health disparities research.