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Douglas named interim dean at dental school

At its regularly scheduled meeting Thursday, Dec. 2, the Southern Illinois University Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Duane Douglas, DMD, as interim dean of the SIU School of Dental Medicine.

A national search for the next dean of the SIU SDM is underway. Douglas will serve as the SDM’s senior leader, effective Jan. 1, 2022, through June 30, 2022, or until a permanent dean is identified through the national search and can begin serving.

“Dr. Douglas is a highly-qualified, respected individual who has served the SIU School of Dental Medicine for more than 20 years as a faculty member and administrator,” said Chancellor Randy Pembrook. “He is an outstanding, experienced dentist and administrator, and I am confident he will help guide the School as it continues to distinguish itself and serve our community in many ways.”

Douglas joined the SDM faculty in 1999 and has held multiple leadership roles, including serving as associate dean for faculty since 2019. In that role, he acts as a liaison between the dean and the faculty at large and functions as the School’s director of research. Previously, Douglas served as chair for the Department of Restorative Dentistry and section head for fixed prosthodontics.

“I am honored to have been asked to bridge the transition between our retiring dean, Dr. Bruce Rotter, and the future dean of the School of Dental Medicine,” said Douglas. “It is a daunting task, but one which I am fully prepared and enthusiastic to execute. Dr. Rotter leaves a legacy which is humbling to follow. The School is in a strong position to further amplify its status as a nationally-recognized leader in dental education and clinical training.”

While advancing through leadership ranks, an important constant for Douglas has been maintaining a robust teaching commitment, which has allowed him to nurture relationships with students, staff and faculty.

“It is from those relationships that I will look to prepare the foundation at the SDM for the next dean,” Douglas shared. “An interim’s goal should not be to change direction, but to maintain the positive momentum we currently enjoy.”

“I look forward to graduating the first class in two years that has enjoyed an entire senior year in a clinic largely unfettered by the pandemic,” he added. “And, the newly opened Advanced Care Clinic is a technological wonder. It is digital dentistry at its finest. This clinic gives us the potential for new, graduate specialty programs which will only strengthen the SDM’s bright future.”

A Winnipeg, Canada, native, Douglas earned a DMD in 1989 from the University of Manitoba, a certificate in pediatric dentistry in 1992 from the University of Connecticut, a certificate in prosthodontics in 1994 from the University of Buffalo (N.Y.), a master’s of science in 1995 from UB and was board certified in prosthodontics in 2002.

SIU School of Dental Medicine students manage approximately 35,000 patient visits each year at patient clinics in Alton and East St. Louis. In addition, students offer oral health treatment, screenings and education to more than 10,000 people annually through a wide variety of off-campus community outreach events. These opportunities provide students the training they need to graduate and become skilled dentists.

Officials say the School of Dental Medicine is a vital oral health care provider for residents of southern and central Illinois, and the St. Louis metropolitan region.

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