Twenty years ago, Teresa Dolan, D.D.S., M.P.H., left the Health Science Center with a fresh degree and a lot of ambition. Last March, she returned to the campus for the first time since graduating. She found it had drastically changed. "I thought Iíd recognize everything but I didnít recognize anything," Dr. Dolan said.
It wasnít just the city and the buildings that had grown Ė it was Dr. Dolanís perspective. The last time she saw the campus she was barely more than a student. She returned as an accomplished academic. The University of Florida recently appointed Dr. Dolan as dean of its College of Dentistry. The UT Health Science Center Dental School believes she may be the first of its D.D.S. graduates to climb so high in the academic ranks.
"When I graduated I never thought Iíd be on dental faculty or an administrator," Dr. Dolan said. "But I didnít start out in private practice. I always looked to do something a little different." After graduating, Dr. Dolan began a general practice residency and was eventually selected to become a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Services Research Scholar. The honor took her to UCLA, where she was able to pursue her interest in public health. "While I was there, I met a lot of influential people in dental academics who really encouraged me along the way," Dr. Dolan said.
As a result, she joined the University of Florida faculty in 1989 and advanced into her current position. "Being the dean of this college gives me an opportunity to combine my interests in academic dentistry, health services research and public health," Dr. Dolan said. She also credits her professors for helping her move up the ranks. "A lot of faculty who taught me are still teaching at the Health Science Center and weíve stayed in touch. Everyone has been supportive and friendly and Iíd really like to thank them for that," she said.
Dr. Dolan is known for her expertise in geriatric dentistry and geriatric dental education. Her research has focused on access-to-care issues for indigent and elderly patients.
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