Nadeem Karimbux Named Dean of School of Dental Medicine

A distinguished leader in dental education, he focuses on integration, collaboration, and interprofessional education

Nadeem Karimbux, an accomplished dental educator, researcher, clinician, and leader, has been named the seventeenth dean of Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.

Karimbux has been the associate dean for academic affairs and a professor of periodontology at the School of Dental Medicine since 2012. His career spanning more than twenty-five years has focused on dental education, research, and clinical care. Karimbux will assume his new role on July 1, 2019.

“Tufts University is committed to preparing students to meet challenges now and in the future—especially in the rapidly changing field of health care,” said Tufts University President Anthony P. Monaco. “In Nadeem Karimbux, we have identified a leader and mentor who shares that commitment, who has deep experience in dental education, clinical care, and research, and who is driven to provide our dental students with all they need to provide the best care.”

The School of Dental Medicine educates students in dental medicine and also provides advanced training in several dental specialties, including periodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, and pediatric dentistry, as well as a program in implant dentistry. Faculty and students conduct both basic and clinical research. The school’s seventeen dental clinics, including the pioneering Tufts Dental Facilities for persons with disabilities, provide oral health care to more than 39,000 patients annually.

Most recently, the school has become a leader in interprofessional education, which integrates education and care across health-care professions, for the benefit of the patient. As dean, Karimbux will oversee the school’s community of more than 900 students and residents, 450 faculty, including 200 volunteer faculty, 300 staff, and 8,600 alumni. (See also “A Conversation with the School of Dental Medicine's New Dean.”)

“Dr. Karimbux has been a dedicated and engaged member of the School of Dental Medicine community and is highly respected for his innovation and leadership,” said Deborah T. Kochevar, provost and senior vice president ad interim. “He is a collaborative, community-oriented leader with a track record of measurable success.”

“Oral health care is not only about how dentists practice, but it is also about how patients receive care in a person-centered context,” said Nadeem Karimbux. Photo: Kelvin Ma“Oral health care is not only about how dentists practice, but it is also about how patients receive care in a person-centered context,” said Nadeem Karimbux. Photo: Kelvin Ma
At Tufts, key themes of Karimbux’s leadership have been integration, collaboration, and interprofessional education. He has been instrumental in moving the School of Dental Medicine from a discipline-based approach to an integrated curriculum that emphasizes critical thinking and collaboration across all four years of primary dental education. Among the additions are a biweekly seminar that brings together students from all years to work in teams to study and devise treatment plans for real-life clinical cases, and expansion of computer-based assessments and interactive technology in the classroom.

Karimbux also identified ways to make sure that patients are better integrated into the conversations about their care. A course offered over the first three years introduces and then builds on how dentists can best communicate with patients in easy-to-understand and culturally appropriate ways.

“Oral health care is not only about how dentists practice, but it is also about how patients receive care in a person-centered context,” said Karimbux. “As a community, we recently celebrated the school’s 150th anniversary. I’m looking forward to taking on this role at a time when we are looking toward the next 150 years of student education, patient care, research, lifelong learning, and collaboration with our communities.”

Karimbux’s academic career has centered on dental curriculum design and the scholarship of effective teaching and student learning. Prior to coming to Tufts, he was assistant dean for dental education at Harvard School of Dental Medicine, where he led extensive curriculum changes. At Harvard, he also held roles as the school’s director of predoctoral periodontology and program director of the Advanced Graduate Education Program in Periodontology.

He is the editor of the Journal of Dental Education and has served on the American Dental Education Association Council of Faculties, the editorial review board of the Journal of Dental Education, and in editorial and advisory roles at the Journal of Periodontology, MedEdPORTAL, and Carranza’s Clinical Periodontology textbook. He is currently serving as an associate editor for the Oral Health Integration, Workforce, and Practice section of the upcoming 2020 Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health.

Karimbux is also an active researcher with interests in the relationship between oral health and systemic disease, periodontal wound healing, and the integration of technology into clinical training and problem-based learning in dental education. He has published more than 120 papers and presents nationally and internationally.

Karimbux has been honored with numerous awards during his academic career. He has received the G.W. Teuscher Award from the American Society of Dentistry for Children, the Periodontal Educator Award from the American Academy of Periodontology, and distinguished faculty awards from Harvard School of Dental Medicine. In 2010, he received the Presidential Citation from the American Dental Education Association and in 2015 the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Teaching and Service at Tufts.

Born and raised in Nakuru, Kenya, Karimbux received his undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and his Doctor of Dental Medicine from Harvard School of Dental Medicine. He also earned a Master’s of Medical Science in oral biology and Graduate Certificate in periodontology from Harvard School of Dental Medicine.

Karimbux and his wife Hema Ramachandran have two sons.

Karimbux will succeed Huw F. Thomas, who has served as dean and professor of pediatric dentistry since 2011. Thomas remains at the school as a professor.

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