By Steve Steinberg
School of Dentistry
The Washington Dental Service (WDS) and the UW School of Dentistry have announced two key academic appointments.
The selection committee for the WDS Endowed Chair in Dentistry has recommended the appointment of Dr. Daniel Chan to that post, and Dr. Susan Coldwell was named the new Washington Dental Service Endowed Professor.
The WDS chair had been held by Dr. Jim Steiner, who retired from the School of Dentistry in November. The position reflects a commitment by WDS to excellence in oral health care, research in practice administration, and education at the pre-doctoral, post-doctoral, and practitioner levels.
“I am deeply honored to accept this endowment,” Chan said. “I thank the leaders in Washington Dental Service and our University for the opportunity. The extra resource is critical especially in this time of budget crisis.”
Discussing his vision for the chair, Chan said: “My immediate plan is to reorganize the pre-doctoral dental practice management course and move it earlier in the curriculum. The reorganization will allow the students more time to think and plan about their future and act accordingly. With the help of the endowment, we can invite more external speakers and incorporate new projects to help the students get a taste of the real business world.
“The longer-term plan is to have an annual continued education program focused on practice management and geared towards new graduates and practitioners. Dental management is changing at a very fast pace and we as a profession must learn to cope with the many new challenges.
“I thank my predecessor and the wonderful staff here at the School of Dentistry for laying down the solid groundwork, and I look forward to a fruitful relationship with Washington Dental Service.”
Coldwell’s post focuses on excellence in oral health care, research in issues associated with improving oral health disparities, and education at the pre-doctoral, post-doctoral and practitioner levels. It was previously held by Dr. Douglass Jackson, who left the School of Dentistry in July to become chief of the new Center for Diversity and Health Equity at Seattle Children’s hospital.
“Across the nation, untreated dental caries remains a significant problem in children aged 2 to 5 years,” Coldwell said. “Our state has been a leader in addressing the needs of this population through the Access to Baby and Child Dentistry program.”
The program is funded by grants from the Washington Dental Service Foundation, the Department of Social and Health Services, and through the efforts of local dental societies and the UW. Coldwell added: “In collaboration with the Northwest/Alaska Center to Reduce Oral Health Disparities and the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, I have been working with other researchers and students to evaluate additional strategies aimed at increasing the use of preventive dental services by young children. We recently completed an evaluation of an oral health program implemented during well-child checks in a large, community health center. Currently, we are assessing the needs for an intervention delivered by oral health professionals to address food insecurity at a dental clinic for low-income children in Seattle.
“The Washington Dental Service Endowed Professorship will facilitate this and future studies of novel approaches to addressing oral health disparities. In addition, the Professorship is supporting efforts to increase the geographic, economic, and racial diversity of our dental students through dental pipeline efforts throughout our region.”
Earlier this year, Chan was named associate dean for clinical services at the School of Dentistry. He had been professor of oral rehabilitation and director of the Division of Operative Dentistry at the Medical College of Georgia School of Dentistry. There, he also held a joint appointment in the Department of Oral Biology and Maxillofacial Pathology and the School of Graduate Studies.
Also earlier this year, Coldwell was named associate dean for the new Office of Student Life and Admissions at the School of Dentistry, which merged the offices of Student Services and Educational Partnerships and Diversity. Coldwell, who came to UW in 1994, is an associate professor in Dental Public Health Sciences. She has also served as director of training for the Northwest/Alaska Center to Reduce Oral Health Disparities.