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Christian Stohler Named Dean of Columbia University’s College of Dental Medicine

Posted on Wednesday, October 9, 2013


NEW YORK (June 13, 2013) — Christian S. Stohler, DMD, DrMedDent, has been named dean of the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine and senior vice president of Columbia University Medical Center, effective August 1, 2013. The announcement was made last week by Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger and Lee Goldman, dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine.

A leading expert on pain management and jaw disorders such as temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMJD), Dr. Stohler is currently dean of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry in Baltimore, Maryland.

While at Maryland, Dr. Stohler led a curriculum update, oversaw Maryland’s expansion to become the largest public dental school in the US, obtained the volunteer commitment of more than 200 practicing dentists to teach real-world dentistry, fostered faculty entrepreneurship, re-engineered the school’s business operation, and expanded the school’s global presence. Dr. Stohler also led the construction of new, fully digital academic and clinical facilities on the university’s downtown Baltimore campus, as well as a smaller facility in Perryville, Maryland, which is digitally managed from the downtown campus. He also administered the introduction of dental services to the Health Center on Maryland’s College Park campus.

“The College of Dental Medicine, with its combination of research opportunities, clinical initiatives, international character, and interdisciplinary academic programs, is poised to continue making important contributions to the local, national, and global communities it serves,” said President Bollinger. “I have known and admired Christian since our time together in Ann Arbor, and I’m looking forward to seeing the leadership he will provide as Dean.”

“Dr. Stohler has demonstrated a remarkable ability to promote all the missions of a great dental college,” said Dr. Goldman. “We are confident that he will build upon our legacy of leadership in academic dentistry, which began here at Columbia nearly a century ago.”

“I am delighted to join Columbia University,” said Dr. Stohler (see photo at left; high-res version available upon request). “The bold leadership at the College of Dental Medicine, including a president I know from my time at Michigan; the pervasive and unwavering commitment to excellence and innovation; and the impressive esprit de corps among the faculty, which includes world-class clinicians—all of this makes Columbia a dream opportunity for me.”

Before joining the University of Maryland in 2003, Dr. Stohler spent more than 20 years at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he was professor at the School of Dentistry, research scientist at the Center for Human Growth and Development, director of research at the School of Dentistry, and professor and chair of the Department of Biologic and Materials Sciences. He also received the university’s Distinguished Service Award.

Dr. Stohler has helped lead National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded work into the genetics, endocrinology, and neurobiology of the human response to pain—particularly in patients with TMJD, a chronic and painful jaw joint disorder that affects from 5% to 12% of the population. He was a member of the team that was the first to show that thinking that a placebo will relieve pain is enough to prompt the brain to release endorphins, the body’s own painkillers, and that this corresponds with a reduction in how much pain a person experiences. Dr. Stohler’s more than 120 articles and book chapters have been cited more than 5,400 times.

Dr. Stohler received his DMD from the University of Bern in Switzerland, where he also earned his DrMedDent in hematology, as well as certificates in oral surgery and prosthodontics. He holds an honorary doctoral degree of philosophy from Nippon Dental University in Tokyo.

He is a recipient of the Jerome M. & Dorothy Schweitzer Research Award from the Greater New York Academy of Prosthodontics and the Horace Wells Merit Award from the Connecticut State Dental Association. The National Dental Association; the Orthodontic Education and Research Foundation; and the Pierre Fauchard Academy, the international dental honor society, have honored him as well. He has chaired the Board of Scientific Counselors at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and is a fellow of the American College of Dentistry and of the International College of Dentistry.

Dr. Stohler succeeds Ira B. Lamster, DDS, MMSc, who stepped down in 2012 after a decade leading the College of Dental Medicine, during which time the school established many new research, clinical, and educational programs. Ronnie Myers, DDS, vice dean for administrative affairs for the College of Dental Medicine, continued this expansion while serving as interim dean during the search.

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