December 19, 2016

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.”