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University of Tennessee names new dental school dean

July 13, 2018
Photo of Dr. Ragain, Jr.
Dr. Ragain
Memphis, Tenn. — The College of Dentistry at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center announced July 11 that it named Dr. James C. Ragain, Jr. as its new dean, effective Aug. 1.
    
Dr. Ragain most recently served as an associate professor in restorative dentistry and interim chair of the department of general practice dentistry at the University of Tennessee's dental school.
    
"I'm honored, humbled and very excited about this opportunity," Dr. Ragain said in a news release. "I want the UTHSC College of Dentistry to be widely recognized for excellence in clinical education, innovative research and leadership in the improvement of oral health for Tennesseans, the Mid-South region and the global community."
    
A native of east Tennessee, Dr. Ragain earned his bachelor's degree and dental degree from the University of Tennessee.
    
Prior to joining the university as faculty, Dr. Ragain served in the U.S. Navy, rising to the rank of captain, the school said. He was commissioned in the Navy Dental Corps after graduating from the UTHSC dental school in 1984.
    
In addition, Dr. Ragain holds a master's degree in restorative dentistry from the University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in oral biology/dental materials from The Ohio State University. He is also the co-author of more than 75 professional publications and holds three U.S. patent awards. He is on the editorial board of four professional journals and served on a joint NASA subcommittee studying dental issues and treatment of astronauts deployed on long-term space missions.
    
Dr. Ragain said that he is committed to ensuring the dental school is aligned with the mission and vision of the university, with an eye toward teaching, research and service.
    
"I think teaching is why we're primarily here," he said in the university's news release. "It's what I call the Tennessee tradition — a tradition of clinical excellence. And so, that's going to be goal No. 1, to make sure all the dentists and hygienists who graduate are the best they can be."