The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Board of Trustees recently approved the formation of the Department of Oral and Craniofacial Health Sciences within the UNC-CH School of Dentistry.
This new department will serve as a home for faculty with concentrations in the biomedical sciences, epidemiology and other health sciences disciplines. Research staff, postdoctoral research fellows, visiting scholars, volunteers and others engaged primarily in research will continue to be appointed in the Department of Oral and Craniofacial Health Sciences. The department will also serve as the home for research administration and continue to serve the entire UNC-CH School of Dentistry.
“Formalization of this new department has many benefits, including: an academic structure for our research-focused faculty, elevated visibility for research faculty as it relates to being a department and ensure our graduates are competent in the application of biomedical science knowledge in the delivery of patient care,” said Dean Scott S. De Rossi, DMD, MBA.
Eric T. Everett, MS, PhD will chair the department. In the coming weeks, Everett and De Rossi will begin meeting with the department chairs and faculty to discuss primary appointments in the Department of Oral and Craniofacial Health Sciences.
“This is an exceptionally exciting opportunity to be the founding chair and to engage faculty who will define the department’s mission and vision,” said Everett. “The biomedical sciences in the broadest sense has been a key component in the different curricula housed within the School of Dentistry. As the curricula evolve, the biomedical sciences will continue to play a critical role in our students’ growth and training to become outstanding oral health providers. The research enterprise will always remain in the School of Dentistry. The Department of Oral and Craniofacial Health Sciences will join the other departments and collectively will lead the way to discovery and innovation to improving health.”
Everett is also the school’s associate dean of research, but in August announced his plans to step down from that appointment to focus on his role as chair and the establishment of the new department. He will continue to serve in both roles until a new permanent associate dean for research is appointed. A national search for the school’s next associate dean for research is forthcoming.
“We originally planned for Dr. Everett to serve as chair of the department while simultaneously maintaining his role as associate dean for research,” said De Rossi. “After evaluation of the commitment necessary to make this department successful, Dr. Everett and I agreed that these two roles would be better served by two people instead of one person splitting their time, energy and focus between the two equally important roles.
“Bearing that in mind, Dr. Everett shared with me his preference to serve as chair of the Department of Oral and Craniofacial Health Sciences. I am incredibly appreciative of Dr. Everett’s willingness to spearhead this new department and equally appreciative of his dedication over the years to his service as associate dean for research.”
Everett earned his master’s degree in clinical immunology from the Department of Pathology, Immunology and Laboratory Medicine in the University of Florida College of Medicine before attending the Medical University of South Carolina for his doctorate degree in molecular cell biology and pathobiology. He completed his postdoctoral work in hematopoiesis and medical genetics at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Indiana University School of Medicine and the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics Indiana University School of Medicine, respectively.
After spending eight years on the Indiana University faculty, Everett joined the UNC-CH School of Dentistry faculty and the Carolina Center for Genome Sciences in 2004. In 2012, he was appointed as the school’s associate dean for research. Everett’s research interests focus on understanding genes and pathways that underlie congenital and acquired disturbances of oral, craniofacial and dental development.