UW School of Dentistry

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.