Mark Wolff named dean of Penn Dental Medicine

Mark Wolff will become the next Morton Amsterdam Dean of Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

The announcement was made today by Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett and is effective July 1.

Wolff is a celebrated teacher, globally engaged scholar, and deeply experienced clinician. He is currently professor and chair of cariology and comprehensive care at the College of Dentistry at New York University and also the College’s senior associate dean for development and alumni relations.

“Mark’s career is notable for his commitment to superb clinical practice as well as excellence in scholarship, education, and community engagement,” Gutmann said. “When we met Mark, he told us that he has always loved his work and believed in dental medicine because dentists help make people smile. We too are smiling at the prospect of Mark joining Penn and partnering with the incredible faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of Penn Dental Medicine to bring this storied school to even greater heights.”

Since joining NYU in 2005, Wolff has brought bold and innovative thinking to the world’s largest dental school. As chair of comprehensive care, he has led a diverse group of more than 400 faculty and staff with outstanding results; student pass rates on national boards are at near perfect levels and more than $20 million in research programs have been completed under his leadership.

“Among Mark’s many successes,” Pritchett said, “he has demonstrated the many ways in which integrating patient care, educational experiences, and research programs advance core strategic goals, strengthen faculty and student culture, and better link the mission of dental schools with local and global partners and communities.”

At NYU, Wolff designed and implemented the world’s largest electronic dental-health record and fully digital imaging system. He has also increased interprofessional educational opportunities for NYU dental students by creating an integrated case seminar series that brings dental students together with students in dental hygiene, social work, nutrition science, and nursing. He led a school-wide initiative to emphasize duty, altruism, and community service as foundational components of the educational program.

Also notable is Wolff’s commitment to local and global engagement. He developed a community-based educational program that assures each dental student an opportunity to work in underserved communities throughout New York and has also served the world’s most vulnerable patients with specially designed clinical programs for survivors of torture and other crimes against humanity.

As a faculty member at Stony Brook University for more than two decades before moving to NYU, Wolff revolutionized that institution’s dental-education program by pioneering a disease-based curriculum for first-year students that focused on prevention and wellness alongside interventions and procedures. He also streamlined and strengthened patient care, including the design and adoption of the first 100 percent paperless clinical record at any dental school in the nation.

A Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, Wolff has authored or co-authored 80 original articles as well as 20 books and chapters. Since beginning his career, he has also mentored more than 100 dental students in research who have presented 75 papers before the American Association and/or International Association of Dental Research. He has delivered invited lectures across the U.S. and the world and has received significant, long-term support for his scholarly activities, including from the National Institutes of Health, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and corporate and industry partners. He served as chair of the American Dental Education Association’s Council of Sections, as president of the American Association of Oral Biologists, and as both secretary and councilor of the American Association of Dental Schools’ Oral Biology and Cariology sections.

The selection of Wolff concludes a global search to identify a successor to Interim Dean Dana Graves who has served admirably since Jan. 1.

“We express our great appreciation to Dana for his service in this vitally important role,” Gutmann said. “Dana succeeded Denis Kinane whose dedicated leadership of Penn Dental Medicine from 2009 to 2017 contributed invaluably to the School’s eminence and sustainability in education, research, and clinical service.”