Collaborations and More

Collaborations and More

Phil MaruchaDear School of Dentistry community,

I enjoyed meeting so many of you at the recent Oregon Dental Conference (ODC). What a great hometown event!

Though I was a first-timer to the Oregon conference, the gathering very much felt like family. I’m told that in our dental school’s 114-year history, we have graduated nearly 8,000 dental professionals, and that about 75 percent of those individuals have remained in the state. I certainly noticed how many alumni were at ODC, and I can’t think of another place where there is such a tight relationship between its alumni and the state.

I expect the relationship between the Oregon dental community and Oregon dental school to continue to grow further as we work together to shape health care in the region. We have a number of initiatives on the table to help train dentists for the increasingly medically-complex patients we are seeing and to meet the unmet health needs in Oregon, particularly in the rural parts of the state. We want to train dentists to be competent for today … and ready for tomorrow.

The Interprofessional Education Initiative (IPE) started by OHSU in the fall will train our students to be prepared for dramatic changes in the way we provide health care in the state. In today’s health care world, it is essential for dentists to work closely with their counterparts in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and more, to provide better care to patients. The IPE curriculum, led by Jeffrey Stewart, Ph.D., chair and associate professor of pathology and radiology, has done a remarkable job of bringing all of OHSU’s many students together to meet one another and better understand how each discipline is integral to the other. It is the first step in what I hope will be many fruitful collaborations.

Our move to the OHSU/OUS Collaborative Life Sciences Building (CLSB) in July has the dental school poised to embrace IPE right out of the gate. Not only will our students be mingling daily with students from many other disciplines, but the facility itself is designed for teamwork. One example: The School of Medicine has its medical simulation lab within the CLSB, and we will be able to access the facility to fashion a completely new program for dental students that will allow them hands-on experience with connecting oral care to the rest of the body.

OHSU is also working to bring more regular and reliable health care to parts of the state where health professionals often choose not to locate. We have had several meetings in Klamath Falls, Ore., to explore the idea of a rural campus there, which would be another important partnership for dental student IPE training. We hope to share more on this potential campus in the coming months.

Our new Dean’s Seminar Series is also continuing to shape the direction the dental school’s research programs will grow, and we recently hired a new oral and maxillofacial surgery (OMFS) chair, Pamela J. Hughes, D.D.S., who comes to us from the University of Minnesota. Look for more information about our seminars and new OMFS chair in the next Dental Bites, to be published May 1, at

The school is strong and healthy, and I am appreciative of all of you who care so much about our university.

Warm regards,

Phil Marucha Signature

Phillip T. Marucha, D.M.D., Ph.D.
OHSU School of Dentistry Dean
(503) 494-8801