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Oregon dental school names new dean

April 25, 2013

By Karen Fox, ADA News staff

Dr. Marucha 
Portland, Ore.—The Oregon Health and Science University has appointed Dr. Phillip T. Marucha dean of its School of Dentistry, OHSU announced April 23.

Dr. Marucha, a dentist and immunologist, is the ninth dean in the dental school's 114-year history. He will lead the school as it moves into its new home, the Skourtes Tower, which is scheduled to open in 2014.

Dr. Marucha is the current associate dean for research and director of graduate studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry. At OHSU, he replaces Dean Emeritus Jack W. Clinton, who retired in 2012 and is assisting with the dental school's transition into the Skourtes Tower.

“As we complete the new building, I would like to see us build on the history of outstanding clinical education to become extraordinary in all facets of dental education and research,” said Dr. Marucha. “This will take the collaboration of our colleagues from the other health sciences to develop interdisciplinary patient care as well as research. My goal is to facilitate the ideas of and mentor the faculty, students and staff to help the school become pre-eminent. I see this as a great opportunity to forge this new exciting relationship to train excellent dentists, scientists and future educators for Oregon and beyond.”

Prior to his associate deanship at UIC, Marucha served as professor and head of the periodontics department at the UIC College of Dentistry. He also was a professor of periodontology and director of the comprehensive training in craniofacial sciences program at Ohio State University.

Dr. Marucha received his dental medicine degree, a certificate in periodontology and a doctoral degree in immunology from the University of Connecticut. In 2007, he became an ADEA Leadership Institute Fellow.

Dr. Jill Price, president of the Oregon Dental Association, served on the OHSU dental school's dean search committee.

“Dr. Marucha is a proven leader, a top-notch clinician and a respected researcher,” said Dr. Price. “And, because he has practiced and administered programs all over the country, Dr. Marucha has gained a firsthand perspective on different approaches to education and oral health, an essential skill as health care continues to evolve. After a long and thorough process, we are confident that Dr. Marucha has what it takes to lead during this period of historic transformation.”

Dr. Marucha is an active researcher with nearly 200 publications, abstracts and invited presentations, OHSU said in a statement. He has been a principal investigator on more than a dozen grants and has been an investigator or mentor on another 30 research and/or training grants. His most recent research projects include implementing a clinical research program to improve the health and well-being of minority populations, as well as understanding the basic mechanisms of human disease susceptibility through multidisciplinary research in the psychosocial, biologic and genetic factors that regulate inflammation, microbial clearance, and wound healing in skin and oral mucosa.

“Dr. Marucha is a national leader in dentistry, as a researcher, educator and clinician. As we enter this exciting period of evolution for our school, we need an individual to not only lead our school into its new home in the Skourtes Tower on the South Waterfront, but also to help guide our school into the next era,” said Provost Jeanette Mladenovic. “We are extremely pleased he has agreed to join OHSU, and I am confident he will be a strong addition to the dental community in Oregon.”