Jane Weintraub, DDS, MPH, has been selected as the first recipient of the R. Gary Rozier and Chester W. Douglass Distinguished Professorship in Dental Public Health. Weintraub, former dean of the UNC-CH Adams School of Dentistry, holds a joint appointment as Alumni Distinguished Professor at the Adams School of Dentistry and adjunct professor at the UNC-CH Gillings School of Global Public Health.
Like those whom this professorship honors – Chester Douglass, DMD, PhD, and Gary Rozier, DDS, MPH – Weintraub is considered a national leader in dental public health. She is best known for her expertise in oral epidemiology, dental public health and clinical research, and is a recognized leader in research to understand and prevent oral health disparities.
“I am very honored to receive this professorship,” said Weintraub. “It is particularly meaningful for me because I have been fortunate to work closely with both Drs. Douglass and Rozier over the years and have benefited from their mentorship, extensive knowledge and collegiality. They are both giants in the field of dental public health.”
In 1995, following seven years jointly appointed as faculty at the Adams School of Dentistry and the Gillings School, Weintraub took a position as the Lee Hysan Professor and chair of the Division of Oral Epidemiology and Dental Public Health at the University of California at San Francisco School of Dentistry.
From 2001 until 2011, when she returned to UNC-CH, she was the director and principal investigator of the National Institutes of Health-funded Center to Address Disparities in Children’s Oral Health, nicknamed the CAN DO Center. Weintraub conducted the first United States randomized clinical trial testing the efficacy of fluoride varnish to prevent dental caries in young children. The successful results of that study have led to fluoride varnish becoming a standard of care for young children, especially those with high risk of disease.
Weintraub has served as a member of the National Advisory Dental and Craniofacial Research Council of the National Institutes of Health. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Dental Public Health, a fellow of the International College of Dentists, and past president of both the American Association of Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD) and the Behavioral Sciences and Health Services Research Group of the International Association of Dental Research (IADR).
Weintraub’s accolades include the 2009 IADR H. Trendley Dean Distinguished Scientist Award for her research in oral epidemiology and dental public health; the 2010 American Dental Association’s Norton Ross Award for Excellence in Clinical Research; the AAPHD President’s, Special Merit and Distinguished Service Awards; the 2012 Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors Distinguished Service Award; the 2014 UNC Dental Alumni Association Lifetime Membership Award; and the 2018 American Public Health Association John W. Knutson Distinguished Service Award in Dental Public Health.
“There could not be a more appropriate person to hold the inaugural appointment of this professorship,” said Scott S. De Rossi, DMD, MBA, dean of the Adams School of Dentistry. “Dr. Weintraub is an incredibly accomplished oral health care professional whose research has directly improved the standard of care in dentistry for young children. We are fortunate to have someone of her caliber at UNC, and I am pleased we can recognize her with this distinction.”
“Drs. Weintraub, Rozier and Douglass form a spectacular triangle of commitment, generosity and accomplishment,” shared Barbara K. Rimer, DrPH, MPH, dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor at the Gillings School. “Each individual has been dedicated to overcoming dental inequities, and they have done some of the fundamental research needed to discover practical solutions. I am proud of our collaboration with the Adams School of Dentistry, exemplified by this professorship endowed so generously by Chet and Joy Douglass. We expect even more solutions in the future!”
The professorship, which was established in 2014 by Chester Douglass, DMD, PhD, and his wife Joy, jointly honors two leaders in dental public health: Douglass and Gary Rozier, DDS, MPH.
Douglass is a professor of oral health policy and epidemiology, as well as dental public health, at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. He has dedicated his career to improving dental care for those living in the U.S. He has authored more than 140 papers on topics including dental public health, oral epidemiology and health policy. As former chair of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine’s Department of Oral Health Policy and Epidemiology, he mentored many students, encouraging them to “think big” and continue learning. While on the UNC faculty from 1971-78, Douglass spent one year as a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow in Washington, D.C., working as a member of the health staff in the U.S. Senate.
Rozier is a professor of health policy and management at the Gillings School of Global Public Health and a respected national leader in dental public health. Through his research at UNC – which spans more than 40 years – and strong collaborations with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies, Rozier has created a legacy of impact, demonstrated through scores of peer-reviewed publications. His “Into the Mouths of Babes” program has been shown to be a cost-effective way to reduce dental caries and hospitalizations. The program now is used across the U.S. and in several other countries, to the benefit of millions of children. Rozier has mentored more than 100 students, many of whom have advanced to leadership roles in the dental profession.
“What an honor for all of us that Dr. Weintraub has accepted the Distinguished Professorship of Dental Public Health, which was created jointly by two health sciences schools,” said Douglass. “She represents a unique partnership between the clinical leadership of the Adams School of Dentistry and the vision and analytical skills of the Gillings School. How terribly exciting!”