Dr. James D. Beck, who joined the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Dentistry faculty in 1985, has been named the School’s associate dean for research.
The appointment is effective immediately.
Beck had served as interim associate dean since July 1, when Dr. Patrick Flood stepped down from the position to concentrate on research and teaching.
“Jim is highly regarded by his colleagues within the dental school and our University’s entire health affairs campus,” said Dean John N. Williams. “His leadership in oral health research is recognized throughout the world. Also, he is particularly attentive to ways in which our School of Dentistry can increase meaningful collaborations – research and otherwise – that will benefit human life and bring attention to issues central to advancing oral and overall health.”
Last summer the N.C. General Assembly, as a part of the state budget, appropriated $25 million for the final planning and design, site development and early construction of the Dental Sciences Building. N.C. Gov. Mike Easley signed the budget bill into law July 31.
The Dental Sciences Building will significantly increase School of Dentistry classroom space and flexibility, and replace the majority of current laboratory space with state-of-the-art facilities and technology. Williams said he had been impressed with Beck’s enthusiasm and vision regarding the building project and his purposeful leadership as a large portion of the School’s research laboratory operations prepares to move off-campus during construction.
Beck, who received his doctorate in epidemiology from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1969, also is a William R. Kenan Jr. professor in the School of Dentistry’s Department of Dental Ecology. He is co-director of the Center for Oral and Systemic Diseases. Dr. Steven Offenbacher, OraPharma distinguished professor of periodontal medicine, is the director.
Beck also is an associate director in the School of Medicine’s General Clinical Research Center, which is focused on advancing patient-centered research and is one of four such centers nationwide to have a dental component. He has published more than 200 journal articles and book chapters, and his research areas include geriatric dentistry, dental epidemiology and oral-systemic disease relationships.
He founded the School’s Special Care Clinic and the Oral Epidemiology Ph.D. Program. Beck currently directs a National Institutes of Health-funded program to train future dental academicians in clinical research.
In 2004, the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) presented him with its Distinguished Scientist Award in recognition of his research’s significance to the oral health sciences.