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RADM Christopher Halliday named dean of new A. T. Still dental school in Missouri

Pending accreditation, school plans to accept students in 2013

March 05, 2012

By Karen Fox, ADA News staff

Kirksville, Mo.—A. T. Still University, in the process of building a new dental school here, has tapped an assistant surgeon general and chief of staff to the U.S. surgeon general as its dean.

Dr. Halliday
Dr. Christopher Halliday, Rear Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service, is the inaugural dean of the ATSU Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health, the school announced Feb. 21.

Home of the world’s first osteopathic medical school, A. T. Still University has a nine-year-old dental school in Mesa, Ariz.—the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health—on which university officials say they are modeling the new dental school. ATSU plans to submit an application to the Commission on Dental Accreditation by April 1. If approved, the new school plans to begin accepting dental students in the fall of 2013.

Dr. Halliday begins his duties at ATSU on June 1. In addition to his post with the surgeon general’s office, he has served as chief dental officer of the Indian Health Service and chief professional officer of the dental category of the USPHS Commissioned Corps. As chief dental officer of the USPHS, Dr. Halliday coordinated the delivery of oral health services by the Commissioned Corps Dental Officers from the Departments of Health and Human Services, Justice and Homeland Security.

“I’m excited about this new opportunity,” said Dr. Halliday, who leaves the Public Health Service after a 24-year career. “I look forward to further collaboration with the ADA and ADA members in the state of Missouri. The Public Health Service has been a fantastic career for me. What I enjoyed the most was working with the dedicated health providers and support staff who strive to meet the needs of medically underserved and vulnerable population groups.

New dental school: A rendering shows the planned A. T. Still University Interprofessional Education and Dentistry School Building. A groundbreaking is set for March 15.
“At ATSU, my hope is that the partnerships that the university will forge with the community as well as the community health centers will ensure that students receive the best possible training and provide the greatest quality of oral health services to the community members,” he continued. “We’re going to make sure that dental students are well trained at all levels, and we will be focused on development of community-based and individual-based treatment plans.”

Dr. Halliday’s past experience includes work in areas as diverse as Barrow, Alaska, and American Indian reservations in New Mexico and Arizona. He earned his dental degree from Marquette University School of Dentistry and a master of public health from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Public Health.

“We are very fortunate that Dr. Halliday is joining ATSU, leading the establishment of our new dental school in Missouri,” said Jack Magruder, Ph.D., A. T. Still University president. “He will bring tremendous expertise to making the Missouri School of Dentistry and Oral Health an unqualified success.”

“He will have an opportunity to share his passion of service to the underserved and vulnerable populations with his students,” said Regina Benjamin, M.D., U.S. surgeon general. “I will personally miss his dedication and commitment to the welfare of the Office of the Surgeon General.”