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School announces new research leadership roles

Dr. Doug Ramsay
Dr. Doug Ramsay

Dr. Doug Ramsay, Associate Dean for Research and Chair of the Department of Oral Health Sciences, will step down from both roles to take a sabbatical, spurring other leadership changes related to the School of Dentistry’s research mission.

Dr. Whasun Oh Chung will become Acting Chair of the Department of Oral Health Sciences, which is one of the school’s primary research engines, while Dr. Donald Chi will become Associate Dean for Research. Dr. Ramsay will return to the Oral Health Sciences faculty after concluding his sabbatical.

Dr. Ramsay has essentially been doing double duty for three years, assuming the associate deanship after the retirement of Dr. Linda LeResche from that post in mid-2019. She had been Associate Dean for Research since 2011 and is now Professor Emerita in the Department of Oral Medicine.

“Dr. Ramsay has served admirably and with distinction in these roles and our school has benefited greatly from his leadership,” said Dean Gary Chiodo.

Dr. Whasun Oh Chung
Dr. Whasun Oh Chung

Dr. Chung, who joined the School of Dentistry faculty in 2003, is Research Professor in the Department of Oral Health Sciences and Director of the Summer Research Fellowship (SURF) program. SURF offers UW dental students a chance to pursue research projects under the guidance of faculty members.

Dr. Chung received a PhD in pathobiology from the University of Washington and joined the faculty after serving for several years as a graduate research assistant, research associate, and senior fellow. She has mentored dozens of UW undergraduate, predoctoral, and postdoctoral students, many of whom have gone on to receive prominent recognition for their research. In 2020, she was named Associate Director of the dental school’s Office of Research. She has received several outstanding faculty awards and was named to the Omicron Kappa Upsilon national dental honorary society in 2012.

Her own research interests are wide-ranging, including gingival innate immunity and the biological effects of dental metal alloys in oral tissues. She was part of a research team that in 2013 patented a novel use of titanates as an antimicrobial dental treatment.

Dr. Chi, who joined the dental school faculty in 2010, is Professor of Oral Health Sciences and holds the Lloyd and Kay Chapman Endowed Chair for Oral Health. He has an adjunct appointment in the UW School of Public Health as Professor and Associate Chair for Research, Health Systems, and Population Health.

Dr. Donald Chi
Dr. Donald Chi

He received a DDS from the UW in 2006 and then served residencies in pediatric dentistry and dental public health at the University of Iowa. He received a PhD in health services research from Iowa in 2009. As a UW dental student, he played a key role in establishing a dental clinic for homeless teenagers at Neighborcare Health in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood.

He has received wide recognition for his research, including the 2017 Young Investigator Award from the International Association for Dental Research. In 2018, he was named Pediatric Dentist of the Year by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. The award recognizes a pediatric dentist who has made significant contributions to the dental profession and pediatric dentistry through clinical practice, academics or policy development. Recipients also have devoted extensive volunteer leadership service to the dental profession and their specialty.

His research has covered extensive ground, with special focus on access to health care services, pediatric health disparities, neighborhoods and oral health outcomes, and social determinants of oral health.

“I am delighted that Drs. Chung and Chi have agreed to step into these essential roles, and I have complete confidence in them,” Dean Chiodo said. Their appointments take effect on July 1, when Dr. Ramsay’s sabbatical begins.