Bulletin of Dental Education

Dr. Phillip Marucha Steps Down as Dean of Oregon Health & Science University SOD

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Phillip Marucha, D.M.D., Ph.D., stepped down as Dean of the Oregon Health & Science University School of Dentistry (OHSU SOD) on Oct. 1, 2020. Dr. Marucha will focus on personal and professional goals until the end of the year and return to support the education and research missions of the school as a tenured professor in the Department of Periodontology at the beginning of the next calendar year.

Dr. Marucha joined the school in 2013, and was the ninth dean to lead Oregon’s only dental school since its establishment in 1898.

“He worked to position the school of dentistry as a national leader, and to ensure the state’s only dental school remains a viable public resource for underrepresented and marginalized communities statewide,” says Oregon Health & Science University Provost Elena Andresen, Ph.D. “We are grateful for his service to OHSU and to the people of Oregon.”

Among Dr. Marucha’s accomplishments at OHSU SOD is the successful transition of the dental school in 2014 from its Marquam Hill Campus to a new state-of-the-art training, research and patient care facility in the Skourtes Tower, part of the OHSU Robertson Life Sciences Building at the Schnitzer Campus on the South Waterfront.

Dr. Marucha made significant changes to the predoctoral curriculum and a four-fold increase in research funding to nearly $6 million. He also spearheaded the creation of House Bill 2220, in collaboration with the Oregon Dental Association, which authorizes dentists to administer vaccinations, including measles, flu and HPV. The bill became law in January 2020.

Prior to OHSU SOD, Dr. Marucha served as Associate Dean for Research and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry. He received his D.M.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine and remained there for a certificate in periodontology and a Ph.D. in immunology. He was elected fellow to the American Dental Education Association Leadership Institute in 2007.

Dr. Andresen asked Ronald Sakaguchi, D.D.S., Ph.D., M.B.A., a Professor in the OHSU School of Medicine’s Division of Management, to serve as Interim Dean until a national search for a new dean is conducted. Dr. Sakaguchi brings extensive academic, clinical, financial, operations and research experience to the new appointment, with numerous publications and NIH grants. He is the senior editor of a textbook in dental biomaterials used in dental schools internationally and is trained as a prosthodontist and practiced for many years prior to joining the OHSU SOD.

During the COVID pandemic, Dr. Sakaguchi was asked by Scott Page, Chief of OHSU Operations, and Mike McCaffrey, Associate Vice President of Logistics, to start up and lead a manufacturing team within OHSU Logistics and Supply Chain to coordinate the production of PPE in collaboration with industry partners, including Nike, A-dec, and BMP America. His team worked to maintain a supply of PPE for OHSU Health Care throughout the crisis.

Dr. Sakaguchi joined OHSU SOD in 1994 as an Associate Professor with tenure. He was promoted to Professor in 1999 and served in a number of dental school leadership roles over the years, including Associate Dean for Research and Innovation, a position he held from 2007 to 2011, when he joined the Division of Management in the school of medicine and led graduate courses and workshops in innovation, project management, operations management, managerial decisions and the capstone program in the M.S. and M.B.A. programs in Healthcare Management.

Before joining OHSU SOD, Dr. Sakaguchi served as an Associate Professor with tenure in the Department of Oral Sciences, and member of the Minnesota Dental Research Center for Biomaterials and Biomechanics, in the Dental Research Institute at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry.

Dr. Sakaguchi will be joined by a highly skilled team that includes an interim director of clinical operations and quality, an interim fiscal officer and an organizational development consultant.

Published on October 14, 2020

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