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ADEA names new president, CEO

May 14, 2019 The American Dental Education Association announced in May it named Dr. Karen P. West, dean of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas dental school, as its new president and CEO beginning July 1.

“Dr. West has experienced every stage of a profession in dental education — from practitioner, to community project manager, to three decades in academia and administration,” said Dr. R. Lamont MacNeil, past-chair of the ADEA Board of Directors, in a news release. “She not only brings the experience to manage this complex organization, she is also committed to ADEA’s success as a trusted and valued volunteer leader in the association.”
Dr. West began her career as a project director in August Dental Project/Children and Youth Dental Clinic in 1984. She has been a dental faculty and in administration for 30 years, including serving as dean at UNLV School of Dental Medicine for 12 years, managing a $35 million budget and overseeing about 400 faculty and staff and 350 students.

In addition to her experience in the dental school environment, Dr. West served on the Commission on Dental Accreditation from 2013 to 2016, including as CODA chair in 2016. She was elected president of the Society for Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine in 2004 and has been involved in research projects in the general area of women’s health and the equity for women in dental education.

“One of her many noteworthy accomplishments as dean of [UNLV dental school] has been increasing the diversity of the student body and faculty, and now the school is considered a model of inclusivity,” according to ADEA in a news release.

Dr. West earned her dental degree from the University of Louisville School of Dentistry and her master’s degree in public health from the University of South Carolina School of Public Health.

She also served as chair of the ADEA Council of Faculties, Council of Deans, and as the women’s liaison officer for the University of Kentucky. Dr. West received the ADEA Distinguished Service Award in 2018.

“ADEA’s reach and influence will allow me to meld the best of both worlds — knowing our members’ needs from working my way up the ranks in dental education, and my passion for helping the dental professions look outside our institutional and geographic boundaries to find even better ways to improve oral health,” Dr. West said in a news release.

Dr. West will succeed Dr. Richard W. Valachovic, who will retire from ADEA after 22 years as president and CEO.