June 2, 2015

Dr. Natasha Flake receives 2nd national teaching award

Dr. Natasha Flake, Associate Professor in the Department of Endodontics, has received the 2016 Edward M. Osetek Educator Award from the American Association of Endodontists (AAE), the organization has announced.

Natasha FlakeThis marks the second national dental faculty award for Dr. Flake, who in 2010 received the American Dental Education Association Junior Faculty Award. The Osetek award is given to a faculty member with less than 10 years’ experience who is held in exceptional regard by students and colleagues; has produced students who have had an impact on endodontics; and is frequently invited to lecture or make presentations at other educational or research institutions.

In December, Dr. Flake also received the School of Dentistry’s highest teaching honor, the Bruce R. Rothwell Distinguished Teaching Award.

“I could not be prouder of Dr. Flake, and I know that Dr. Osetek would have been proud to have her receive this award,” said Dr. James Johnson, Chair of the UW Department of Endodontics, who noted that the late Dr. Osetek was his mentor and program director during his endodontics residency at the Northwestern University School of Dentistry.

Dr. Johnson also noted that Dr. Flake has chaired the AAE’s Research and Scientific Affairs Committee and was selected for a rare second term in that post. She has also chaired the School of Dentistry’s Faculty Committee.

When Dr. Flake received promotion to tenured status, the faculty review committee’s chair said that the panel’s members – all of them senior faculty – “had never seen a teaching package as strong as Dr. Flake’s. Both in quantity and quality, her proven performance as an endodontics instructor is astonishing.”

In his nominating letter to the AAE, Dr. Johnson also called Dr. Flake “a shining example to our students of what ethical conduct should be in the dental profession.”

Earlier this spring, Dr. Flake was chosen to direct the School of Dentistry’s new third-year system of “clerkship” clinical rotations, a key element in the school’s comprehensive overhaul of its curriculum. She is currently director of pre-doctoral endodontics instruction.

“One of the biggest issues in dental education today is the difficulty of attracting and retaining talented  younger full-time dental faculty,” said Dean Joel Berg. “We all share tremendous pride in Dr. Flake’s  achievements and recognition, and we know how  fortunate we are to have her in this critical position as we move into the next phase of our curriculum transformation..”

Dr. Flake received a DDS degree and a PhD degree in neuroscience from the University of Maryland, then served an endodontics residency and earned her MSD degree and certification in that specialty at the University of Washington in 2007. She joined the School of Dentistry faculty immediately afterward.