Philadelphia – On Monday, July 2, the Penn Dental Medicine community welcomed Dr. Mark Wolff to Penn Dental Medicine as he began his leadership post as the school’s Morton Amsterdam Dean. Dean Wolff devoted the day to visiting throughout the school, eager to meet and interact with faculty, staff, and students.
“I’m excited to be here at Penn,” says Wolff, who is also Professor in the Department of Preventive and Restorative Sciences. “The dental school and the University as a whole have such a rich history, and I’m looking forward to working with others within the school and across Penn to continue to build on the growth and strength of this great institution.”
As he assumes the deanship, Wolff becomes the twelfth dean of Penn Dental Medicine since its founding in 1878. After a global search, Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett announced his appointment, effective July 1, in March. He succeeds Interim Dean Dana Graves, who served in that role since January 2018.
Wolff comes to Penn Dental Medicine from the College of Dentistry at New York University (NYU), where he served since 2005, most recently as Professor and Chair of Cariology and Comprehensive Care and as the College’s Senior Associate Dean for Development and Alumni Relations.
“Mark’s career is notable for his commitment to superb clinical practice as well as excellence in scholarship, education, and community engagement,” Gutmann said when announcing his selection as dean. “When we met Mark, he told us that he has always loved his work and believed in dental medicine because dentists help make people smile. We too are smiling at the prospect of Mark joining Penn and partnering with the incredible faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of Penn Dental Medicine to bring this storied school to even greater heights.”
Wolff brought bold and innovative thinking to his role at NYU, where he led more than 400 faculty and staff. Among programs there, Wolff designed and implemented the world’s largest electronic dental-health record and fully digital imaging system. He also expanded interprofessional educational opportunities for students and led a school-wide initiative to emphasize duty, altruism, and community service as foundational components of the educational program.
Also notable has been his commitment to local and global engagement. He developed a community-based educational program that assured each NYU dental student had an opportunity to work in underserved communities, and has also served the world’s most vulnerable patients with specially designed clinical programs for survivors of torture and other crimes against humanity.
“Among Mark’s many successes,” Pritchett said, “he has demonstrated the many ways in which integrating patient care, educational experiences, and research programs advance core strategic goals, strengthen faculty and student culture, and better link the mission of dental schools with local and global partners and communities.”
A Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, Wolff has authored or co-authored 80 original articles as well as 20 books and chapters. Since beginning his career, he has also mentored more than 100 dental students in research. He served as Chair of the American Dental Education Association’s Council of Sections, as President of the American Association of Oral Biologists, and as both Secretary and Councilor of the American Association of Dental Schools’ Oral Biology and Cariology sections.
Wolf holds both a DDS (1981) and PhD (1997) from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook, where he also served on the faculty for more than two decades before moving to NYU.