Dr. Lauren L. Patton, an international scholar in Oral Medicine and leading clinician educator in Hospital Dentistry, was appointed Chair of the Department of Dental Ecology on February 1, 2011. She has served as Interim Department Chair since September, 2008.
Dr. Patton graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Dartmouth College in 1980; a DDS degree from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1986; a postdoctoral certificate in General Practice Residency from UNC/North Carolina Memorial Hospital in 1988, and a postdoctoral certificate in Oral Medicine/Research from the National Institute of Dental Research in 1990. She joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor of Dental Ecology in 1990 and attained the rank of Full Professor in 2004. She has served as Director of the General Practice Residency program at UNC/UNC Hospitals since 2002. She has previously served as Director of Hospital Dentistry at UNC. She is an American Dental Education Association Leadership Institute Fellow Class of 2010 alumna.
Dr. Patton’s research portfolio has helped to improve the oral health of individuals with oral cancer, HIV/AIDS and other medical conditions. Her leadership in endorsing an evidence-based approach to oral health care has shaped our scientific knowledge at the oral/systemic health interface. She has been an invited scientific contributor both nationally and internationally.
She has been principal investigator of grants and contracts from the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of which have helped build successful oral health research collaborations with medical colleagues on the UNC campus. She is currently a co-investigator for the National Institutes of Health-funded AIDS Clinical Trials Group’s Oral HIV/AIDS Research Alliance which is driving the global oral health research agenda through successful interdisciplinary and inter-institute collaboration and integration into the international ACTG clinical research network.
She has contributed to more than 80 peer-reviewed journal articles, 60 abstracts, and 20 textbooks, chapters, and monographs. She has mentored numerous student clinicians and researchers.
An active clinician, she provides dental care for medically complex and special needs dental patients and clinical education for the General Practice Residents in UNC Hospital’s outpatient dental clinic, operating rooms, and emergency department. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral Medicine and the American Board of Special Needs Dentistry.
She is the current President of the American Board of Oral Medicine and past Chair of the American Association of Hospital Dentist’s Council on Fellowship. She is a fellow in both the International College of Dentists and the American Association of Hospital Dentists, and she was awarded a Fellowship in Dental Surgery from the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.
As Department Chair, Dr. Patton will provide leadership and guidance for the Department of Dental Ecology in achievement of the School’s missions of education, research, patient care, and service. The department is responsible for curricula in the DDS, General Practice Residency, Dental Hygiene, Dental Assisting, and Graduate Dental Hygiene programs. In addition, the Craniofacial Center, Hospital Dentistry, Dentistry in Service to Communities, Oral Epidemiology, and Geriatric Dentistry/Special Care programs are the responsibility of this department, as well as an affiliation with the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association. She looks forward to enhancing synergy in the Department and having the faculty, staff, and students/residents achieve excellence through teamwork.