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NYU Names Dr. Charles Bertolami Dean of Nation's Largest Dental School

Dr. Charles Bertolami
Charles N. Bertolami, D.D.S., D.Med.Sc. -- a leader in the dental research, education, and clinical communities – has been named the 14th Dean of the 142-year-old New York University College of Dentistry. He will assume the post on September 1, 2007.

Dr. Bertolami is currently the dean of the University of California – San Francisco School of Dentistry; during the 12 years he has served in that post, the UCSF School of Dentistry has led the nation in overall NIH funding for dental schools. In addition to expanding the school’s research capacity, he has also: enhanced the school’s clinical and teaching programs, including renovating clinics and laboratories; implemented a new curriculum reinforcing integration of basic and clinical sciences in dental education; established and expanded joint degree programs; and established a year-long post-baccalaureate program for students from economically or educationally disadvantaged groups.

NYU President John Sexton said, “Under Mike Alfano’s deanship, the College of Dentistry went through a remarkable transformation: there was a renewed and powerful emphasis on research, the facilities were upgraded, the role of dentistry was expanded, new healthcare collaborations were envisioned, the quality of students improved greatly, and the College of Nursing became part of the Dental College. Finding a successor who could sustain that momentum was a significant challenge, but Charles Bertolami is ideally suited not only to sustain it, but accelerate it.

“The search committee, which was led with great professionalism and skill by Louis Terracio, deserves the thanks not only of the University community, but of the thousands of low-income New Yorkers who are served by our dental clinics each year. In recommending a dean with such superb qualifications, the committee has ensured excellent leadership for our dental center. I am grateful for their efforts.

“I also want to thank Dr. Richard Vogel, who has served as interim dean since July 2006 and has led the school so ably during these past few months. He is a great colleague and University citizen, and he has earned the respect and gratitude of us all.

“I ask the NYU community to join me in congratulating Dr. Bertolami and welcoming him to our University.”

Robert Berne, NYU’s Senior Vice President for Health, said, “If you go to a dentist in the United States, chances are 1-in-12 that you will be cared for by a graduate of the NYU College of Dentistry. We have an obligation, therefore, to ensure that the leader of the school is among the best in the country, a person who can set an agenda for excellence in research, education, and clinical care delivery and envision new possibilities for the role of the profession within the health care field. The search committee did an outstanding job, and we are very grateful and pleased that Charles Bertolami will be taking on the deanship. This is a great day for the Dental College – its students, its faculty, and its patients.”

Executive Vice President Michael Alfano, former dean of the Dental College, said, “I have known Dr. Bertolami for over a decade and I could not be more pleased that he will be the next dean of the Dental College. Charles has succeeded at every challenge he has taken on, and he will use his intelligence, wisdom, and experience to take the NYU Dental College to the next level.”

Dr. Bertolami said, “I never thought I would leave the University of California, but I was absolutely astonished by the quality and character of the faculty, the students, the staff, and the senior administration at NYU. I was completely unprepared for their excellence, their commitment, and their vision. I was impressed with the way the chair of the search committee, Louis Terracio, and Bob Berne, worked with me; there was instantaneous trust. The opportunity to help build on the legacy of prior dean, Mike Alfano, and to work with Terry Fulmer, dean of the College of Nursing, in one of the most innovative relationships in the health professions, was too good to pass up. NYU is where the action is—and it will remain so for the foreseeable future. I see this as a great opportunity as the next chapter in my life where I hope to be able to make a substantive contribution.”

The search committee was led by Louis Terracio, Associate Dean for Research and a professor in the Department of Basic Sciences and Craniofacial Biology and of Pediatrics at the NYU School of Medicine. The other members were:


  • Tamu Al-Islam, Senior Director of Human Resources and Operations, College of Dentistry

  • Terry Fulmer, Erline Perkins McGriff Professor and Dean, College of Nursing

  • Elise Eisenberg, Director of Dental Informatics and Digital Support Services, College of Dentistry

  • Kathleen Kinnally, Professor, Department of Basic Sciences, College of Dentistry

  • Melissa Lowden, student and President, Undergraduate Nursing Student Organization, College of Nursing

  • Lisa Perry, Associate Vice President for Health Initiatives, NYU

  • Justin Seaman, student and current Student Council President, College of Dentistry

  • Andrew L. Spielman, Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, College of Dentistry

  • Daniel Stein, Professor of Physics and Mathematics and Dean of Science, Faculty of Arts and Science

  • Anthony T. Vernillo, Professor, Department of Oral Pathology, College of Dentistry

  • Michael Weitzman, Pat and E. John Rosenwald, Jr. Professor and Chair, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine

  • Mark Wolff, Professor and Chair of the Department of Cariology and Comprehensive Care, College of Dentistry


Dr. Bertolami is currently Dean and Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of California-San Francisco School of Dentistry, posts he has held since 1995. Prior to that, he was Professor and Chair of the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Section at the University of California-Los Angeles School of Dentistry and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, and Chief of the Dental Service at the UCLA Medical Center. From 1983-1988, he was Assistant Professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. Prior to that, he was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the School of Dental Medicine and in the Department of Surgery in the School of Medicine at the University of Connecticut.

His research and scholarly interest has focused on orofacial tissue repair, the biochemistry of hyaluronic acid, the use of sodium hyaluronate in treatment of temporomandibular disorders, and professional ethics. His research has been consistently funded by the NIH and, while chair of oral and maxillofacial surgery at UCLA, he served as the Principal Investigator for the UCLA-Drew Regional Research Center for Minority Oral Health. He has been the recipient of and principal investigator on many research grants, and the author of numerous articles in scholarly and research publications.

Dr. Bertolami is the recipient of many awards and honors. He is the President-elect of the American Dental Education Association and is the former President of the American Association for Dental Research. He has served as a two-term member of the Overseers’ Visiting Committee for the Faculty of Medicine and Dental Medicine at Harvard; was named as Distinguished Alumnus of the Ohio State University College of Dentistry (1996); Distinguished Alumnus, Harvard School of Dental Medicine (2000); served as the Percy T. Phillips Visiting Professor at Columbia University (2002); named the Vincent A. Barr Visiting Professor at the University of Kentucky; and received the Paul Goldhaber Award of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (2003). He co-chaired (with Harvard Medical School Dean, Joseph Martin) the NIDCR Blue Ribbon Panel on Research Training and Career Development (2000); co-chaired (with Peter Johnson) the NIH Workshop on Biomimetics, Tissue Engineering, and Biomaterials (1998); and chaired the American Association of Dental Schools (AADS) Committee on Future Faculty, 1998-99. He is currently co-chairing (with Wendy Mouradian) a joint ADEA-AAMC panel on joint curricular issues for dental and medical students. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, a Fellow of the American College of Dentists (FACD), and a Fellow of the International College of Dentists (FACD). He has been a frequently invited speaker for the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), addressing deans and development officers on fundraising in higher education.

A native Ohioan, Dr. Bertolami received an A.A. degree with distinction from Lorain County Community College, majored in liberal arts at the Ohio State University, and then received his D.D.S. degree, summa cum laude, from Ohio State in 1974. Subsequently he began graduate work at Harvard, receiving a Doctor of Medical Sciences (D.Med.Sc.) degree in 1979. He received specialty training in the field of oral and maxillofacial surgery at the Massachusetts General Hospital, serving as chief resident from 1979-80.


Editor’s Note:
Founded in 1865, New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD) is the third oldest and the largest dental school in the United States, educating more than 8 percent of all dentists. NYUCD has a significant global reach and provides a level of national and international diversity among its students that is unmatched by any other dental school.

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