With an Eye on Population Health, New Dean of Dentistry Is Ready to Lead
Sep 7, 2016 2:03 PM
When Rory Hume, D.D.S, Ph.D., began his dental career in rural Australia, dental disease was prevalent in the region. His team of dental therapists set out to change things, providing care for 5,000 school-aged children who would have otherwise gone without. During those years, he came to understand how both education and advances in dental research impacted the health of an entire population, and it was then that he decided he “wanted to be part of the continuing, rapid evolution of care through research and teaching.”
Fast forward to present day, and the ideas and goals of our new dean of dentistry around population health—expressed so many years ago—mesh perfectly with our dental school’s mission to improve the oral health of all Utahns, including our underserved residents. While we’re committed to training dentists who provide outstanding care and conduct groundbreaking research, we also want to train practitioners who contribute to our broader community by serving people who have limited, or in some cases virtually no dental care.
When the University opened its School of Dentistry in 2013, our goal was to develop one of the nation’s top clinical and research programs. In the three years since then, we’ve made much progress, opening the fabulous Ray and Tye Noorda Oral Health Sciences Building to house the school, bringing on excellent faculty and enrolling students from among the best applicants in the nation.
I’m excited to say we made another tremendous stride toward achieving our goal this spring when Dr. Hume, an internationally regarded clinical scholar and administrator, joined us as the new dean of dentistry on May 15. Dr. Hume brings worldwide experience as an academic dentist, teacher and top-level administrator at universities in his home country of Australia, the Middle East and the University of California system.
Dr. Hume’s outstanding contributions have been recognized with numerous teaching awards from the University of California, San Francisco and the University of California, Los Angeles. During his tenure at UCLA, the department realized a significant increase in research funding as a result of stronger partnerships with community organizations, and celebrated one of the most successful fundraising campaigns of any university at the time.
While at the University of United Arab Emirates, Dr. Hume played a pivotal role in moving the university from one purely focused on teaching, to an institution that has brought research to the forefront. A highly regarded researcher, he has made substantial contributions to understanding how to avoid adverse effects during the restoration of tooth defects, currently serving as editor of Preservation and Restoration of Tooth Structure, a textbook now in its third edition.
Significant accomplishments such as these have shaped Dr. Hume’s philosophy and made him the respected leader he is today. Dr. Hume is uniquely positioned to lead an ambitious school such as ours in making significant discoveries to improve oral health and to trail blaze its integration into our University’s broader commitment to advancing the health of the population.
With the addition of the School of Dentistry to our programs in medicine, nursing, pharmacy and health, the University of Utah now offers almost every aspect of education in the health sciences. The challenge now is to integrate the dental school into our health sciences educational structure and the broader health care delivery system to provide much needed care across our communities. In Dr. Rory Hume, I’m convinced we have a dean of dentistry who will work with the other members of our leadership team to accomplish that—and much more.comments powered by Disqus