UW News

October 22, 2009

Joel Berg named to new dentistry post

School Of Dentistry

Dr. Joel Berg, professor and chair of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, has been named associate dean for hospital affairs at the UW School of Dentistry.


“In this new job, I hope to strengthen the working relationships between the School of Dentistry and the Puget Sound hospital community,” Berg said. “Especially in this economic environment, it’s critical that we find more efficient and effective ways of delivering care to our patients. At the same time, we want to make sure that our dentistry students and residents gain the full benefit of strong ties with the hospital community, so we can continue to give them the finest dental education possible.”


Berg said his first priority would be to meet with senior administrators of hospitals affiliated with the School of Dentistry to determine the most promising possibilities for improved collaboration.

Berg also heads the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the School of Dentistry as the school’s Lloyd and Kay Chapman Chair for Oral Health, and is also Director of Dentistry at Seattle Children’s hospital. One of the leading figures in pediatric dentistry in the United States, he was elected secretary-treasurer of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) this year, and is scheduled to become AAPD president in 2012. He is also a national media spokesperson for the organization.


On Oct. 7, he testified before a U.S. House oversight subcommittee on the success of Washington state’s Access to Baby and Child Dentistry program. The program, began in 1995, has more than doubled the number of young Medicaid children in Washington who receive dental care, Berg told the panel.


Berg is director of the new Early Childhood Oral Health (ECOH) program, which is a joint venture by the UW and Seattle Children’s. ECOH’s new facility — the Washington Dental Service Building for Early Childhood Oral Health — is scheduled to open at Magnuson Park in September 2010, and will be one of the nation’s leading pediatric oral health centers. Berg will retain all these posts as he assumes his duties in the newly created position.


He also has lectured and consulted on pediatric dental health around the world, most recently in Peru, which he visited in August at the invitation of Pilar Nores, Peru’s first lady. Ms. Nores, a global health care advocate, asked Berg to share ideas about how the ECOH program’s methods of delivering care might be adapted by her country.


“I can’t think of anyone better than Joel Berg for this new position,” Dean Martha Somerman said. “In all his work for the AAPD, ECOH, Seattle Children’s and our school, he has demonstrated a superb talent for building relationships throughout the health care community. I believe that our patients and students will all benefit hugely from his skills and vision.”


Berg received his pediatric dentistry certificate and dental degree at the University of Iowa. In addition to his leadership roles, he is a diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, a fellow of the American College of Dentists and a fellow of International College of Dentists. He previously was vice president of clinical affairs at Philips Oral Healthcare and head of the Scientific Department for ESPE Dental AG. He was director of the postgraduate/residency program in pediatric dentistry at the University of Texas, Houston from 1989 through 1995, where he also conducted clinical trials evaluating restorative materials.


He has written numerous manuscripts, abstracts and book chapters on subjects including restorative materials for children and other work related to biomaterials. Most recently he co-edited Early Childhood Oral Health, a comprehensive textbook for students and other academicians that was published this year.