University of Pittsburgh
September 25, 2000


Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH, September 13 -- Thomas W. Braun has been appointed dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine, announced Arthur S. Levine, senior vice chancellor for the Health Sciences and dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Braun has been interim dean of the School since September, 1999. After an extensive search, he was recommended unanimously by the committee charged with identifying candidates for the position. His appointment is effective immediately.

In making the announcement, Levine said, "Dr. Braun was the outstanding candidate for this position. He is known throughout the national dental community as a superb clinician, teacher, administrator, and an outstanding leader in advancing research and practice in dental medicine. During his interim deanship, he has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to necessary change, the ability to develop a consensus that would allow change to be undertaken effectively and, most importantly, a true vision for the future of dental education, research and practice."

"Over the course of many years, Dr. Braun has made significant contributions to the advancement of our School of Dental Medicine," said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. "I respect him both personally and professionally, and I look forward to working with him in his new position as he helps to further advance the School and its mission."

Braun's candidacy for dean brought not only an outpouring of support from colleagues at Harvard, Penn, and Columbia, among other leading dental schools, but of greater importance, an endorsement from the local community, including faculty, alumni, and the dental society, according to Levine.

"The profession of dentistry is now evolving rapidly with respect to research, teaching, and practice," said Levine. "The kinetics of this evolution will require profundity of thinking and decisive action to ensure that our School continues to ascend in national prominence. I have no question that Dr. Braun is committed to doing what will be best for the School of Dental Medicine. He will be steady at the helm as he navigates the School into the uncharted waters of health care in the twenty-first century, and I believe that students and faculty will find Dr. Braun to be rigorous, fair, and visionary."

"I want to work in conjunction with Chancellor Nordenberg and Senior Vice Chancellor Levine to re-establish the school as a dominant force in dental education," Braun said. "In doing that I plan to examine our current curriculum, our admission standards, and our physical plant and logistics to determine how the school may be able to be re-engineered such that it is recognized as a center of excellence. This includes the training of educators and researchers in addition to our continuing education in the training of practicing dentists.

"Over the past year, the school has become firmly identified as a preeminent center for genetics research especially as related to the craniofacial complex," Braun continued. "We also are establishing a tissue engineering component in collaboration with other schools, and I anticipate the development of a geriatric dentistry center with emphasis on bone biology research."

Additionally, according to Braun, under development is an informatics program and a collaboration with the programs of the School of Medicine and of UPMC Health System. He also expects to continue expanding the School's efforts in oral cancer and in dental public health.

A native of Pittsburgh, Braun earned four degrees from the University of Pittsburgh: a B.S. in biology in 1969, a D.M.D. (summa cum laude) and an M.S. in pharmacology in 1973, and a Ph.D. in anatomy in 1977.

Braun completed his residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery at then Presbyterian University Hospital. He became an instructor in the department of anatomy at the School of Dental Medicine in 1975. He was named associate professor and chairman in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery in 1990 and associate dean for hospital affairs in 1991. He became professor in 1993 and senior associate dean in 1996.

Braun has served on numerous national boards and committees. He has been president of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, a member of the House of Delegates of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, and president of the Pennsylvania Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. He has been a consultant to the National Institute of Dental Research at the National Institutes of Health, and he has served on numerous editorial boards in his areas of research. He has published numerous papers in professional journals and has lectured widely.

The School of Dental Medicine was established in 1896 as an independent institution named the Pittsburgh Dental College. It was incorporated into the University of Pittsburgh in 1905. Current enrollment includes 60 postgraduate students in dental medicine, 320 predoctoral dental students, and 75 dental hygiene students.

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