Dr. Karen West, a 1992 graduate of the University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health Master of Public Health (MPH) program, has been selected as the next president and CEO for the American Dental Education Association (ADEA). Currently the dean of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine, Dr. West will transition into her new role on July 1 of this year.
A 1982 alumna of the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, Dr. West’s career spans the better part of four decades. She served as the project director in the Augusta Dental Project/Children and Youth Dental Clinic and held various positions in dental faculty and administration (e.g., clinical team leader, assistant/associate dean for academic affairs), including 12 years in her current position as dean where she oversees approximately 400 faculty and staff, 350 students and a $35 million budget.
Over the years, Dr. West has applied what she learned during her MPH program. During her tenure as dean, her school began offering free dental public health clinics to veterans, homeless individuals, family violence survivors and children. Run by students and overseen by faculty, these and other school clinics have provided nearly $5 million in free or reduced care for the local population.
“One of the things I’m excited about with my next position is that I’ll have the opportunity to expand my public health focus at the national and international level,” says Dr. West. “ADEA advocates for funding legislation for a lot of different things, such as improving access to care. I’m excited to be able to spend part of my time on what I love and still have interest in.”Friday Letter Submission