Temple Times Online Edition
    NOVEMBER 18, 2004
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Associate dean to lead international dental program


Under the direction of Jon Suzuki, the School of Dentistry is expanding its borders by establishing an international program to teach advanced dental practices and techniques to professionals in other countries. Suzuki recently joined Temple from the University of Pittsburgh, where he served for more than a decade as the dean of the School of Dental Medicine and chief of hospital dentistry.

Suzuki, who holds a joint appointment at the School of Dentistry (professor of periodontology) and the School of Medicine (professor of microbiology), has been named associate dean for graduate education, research and international relations, and director of the graduate periodontology specialty program.

The internationally renowned expert in gum disease prevention and treatment is currently the chairman of the Food and Drug Administration Dental Products Panel, and is on the faculty of the Navy’s National Naval Medical Command in Bethesda, Md. He served as chairman of the American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs and on the National Institutes of Health National Dental Advisory Research Council. He is a fellow of the American and International College of Dentists, a specialist microbiologist of the American College of Microbiology, and a diplomate of the American Board of Periodontology.

Through the international program, which will be based at Temple’s Rome and Tokyo campuses, School of Dentistry faculty will teach seminars, workshops and courses in such advanced areas as implant prosthetics, bone grafting and soft-tissue management to practicing dentists.

“There is a great need for continuing dental education abroad, as many of the new techniques and practices are developed here in the United States,” Suzuki said.

Other areas of focus for Suzuki will include research, graduate program development and student recruitment.

“By looking at the existing research strengths at the Dental School, we’re hoping to develop synergies and increase the research and clinical trials in areas such as microbiology, new treatments and new products,” Suzuki said.

While at Pitt, Suzuki conducted a research study on gum disease and pre-term, low-birth-weight babies that he hopes to continue here.

“Pregnant women with gum disease infection often deliver premature, low-birth-weight babies, a problem that crosses all socioeconomic lines. Most of the women in the study didn’t know they had gum disease. Surprisingly, if their gums were bleeding, they were afraid to get treatment,” Suzuki said.

Suzuki also plans to continue his efforts to increase the recruitment of minority students to the Dental School. In the past, he’s visited traditionally black schools including Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., and Howard University in Washington, D.C., to share his experience in the field of dentistry and to interest students in pursuing dental careers.

Additionally, Suzuki will be working with Dental School faculty to further develop the already outstanding postgraduate dental programs at Temple. The demand for spots in such programs is extremely high for relatively few openings. At Temple, between three and four new students are accepted each year to the periodontology program, six to endodontics and six to orthodontics.

After earning a D.D.S. from Loyola University of Chicago, Suzuki received his doctorate in microbiology from the Illinois Institute of Technology and his M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh. He completed an NIH fellowship in immunology at the University of Washington, and a clinical certificate in periodontics at the University of Maryland. He has published more than 100 papers, chapters and symposia, 175 abstracts, and one textbook in medical technology.

- By Eryn Jelesiewicz