Stepping Into the New Year

Stepping Into the New Year

Phil MaruchaDear School of Dentistry community,

The past months as dean have passed quickly! I am enjoying getting to know all of you to discuss ideas for how OHSU School of Dentistry can become a change leader in the New Year.

I’ve spent many of my early days in Oregon on the road, driving across the state to meet dental professionals and others who care about the oral health community. From SunRiver to speak at the Oregon Dental Association Board of Trustees meeting, to Eugene to meet with the Oregon Oral Health Coalition, to Tigard for a large-scale Compassion Clinic, to Lake Oswego to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Oregon’s dental hygiene program, and to Klamath Falls for an alumni reception to discuss rural oral health opportunities—to name just a few of my stops—it has been a privilege to hear your ideas about how our school can help lead the future of dentistry.

We are in the finishing stages of our new building, the Skourtes Tower, in the OHSU/OUS Collaborative Life Sciences Building on Portland’s South Waterfront. By the early part of 2014, we expect the nearly $4 million in operatory equipment donated by A-dec Inc., will be installed, flooring will be in place, walls painted, and furniture ordered. While we still have a ways to go to realize our 20-year dream of a new facility, we are on track to move in summer of 2014. 

The new building will not only enable us to train dentists for the future, but help us meet the demands of our changing field.  We have a long tradition of excellent clinical education that we want to maintain, but our evolving practice models and residence in a progressive state at the forefront of healthcare reform are requiring increased collaboration with our colleagues in other health professions. Such interprofessional collaborations are the main impetus for OHSU’s new Interprofessional Education Initiative, and the dental school is at the forefront of this push.

Patient care will also get a boost in our new facility with state-of-the-art technologies and enhanced operatories. Oregonians deserve the most forward-thinking dentistry available. As baby boomers age, they are bringing more specialized needs into our practices and clinics, and we need to collaborate now and be at the forefront of change, and decide together how we can incubate new models that will increase access to care.

I am awed by the loyal support from the dental community. Your patronage and generosity are definitely appreciated.

This strong foundation is enhanced by a thriving health sciences university community that wants dentistry involved and within which we need to be strongly linked. Added to the rest of the positive changes underway at OHSU and in the state, I truly believe Oregon can become a dental role model for the rest of the United States.

My travels will continue well into 2014. The more of you I meet, the more ideas we’ll have on the table for discussion. I hope you will not hesitate to contact me any time with your thoughts for how to ensure OHSU School of Dentistry can position itself for the future.

Warm regards,

Phil Marucha Signature

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