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New Deans Named to Lead Public Health, Dentistry

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New deans have been named to head UNC’s schools of public health and dentistry – one selected from Carolina’s faculty and the other recruited from his alma mater. UNC’s trustees approved the appointments today.

Barbara K. Rimer will begin work as dean of the School of Public Health effective June 1. A behavioral scientist, Rimer is the alumni distinguished professor in the school’s department of health behavior and health education and the deputy director for population sciences at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. She previously was director of the division of cancer control and population sciences for the National Cancer Institute.

“We conducted a national search for this position, and I’m delighted that we found the best person for the job here on our faculty,” Chancellor James Moeser said.

At the School of Dentistry, John N. Williams takes over as dean effective May 31. He is the current dean of the University of Louisville School of Dentistry and is an expert on information technology implementation in dental education and practice.

Prior to her position with the National Cancer Institute, Rimer held joint appointments in UNC’s School of Public Health and Duke University Medical Center’s community and family medicine department and its comprehensive cancer center. She is the editor of four books, author of more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and a recipient of numerous awards, including the Healthtrac Foundation’s 2004 Health Education Award, a national award given to a health educator who has made a substantial contribution to advancing the field of health education or health promotion through research, program development or program delivery. She also is vice chair of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s task force for community prevention services.

Rimer received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan and a doctor of public health degree from Johns Hopkins. She succeeds Bill Roper, who last year became the dean of UNC’s School of Medicine, vice chancellor for medical affairs and CEO of the UNC Health Care System. Margaret Dardess, adjunct professor of health policy and administration and senior associate dean, has served as interim dean since Roper’s departure and will continue in that post through May 31.

Williams has served as dean of the Louisville School of Dentistry since 1999. In that time, the school has seen an increase in total research funding from $1.4 million to more than $7.2 million and conducted a contemporary academic program, which for the past five years has ranked Louisville students in the top 10 of all U.S. dental schools on the clinical sciences portion of the National Dental Board Examinations.

An advocate for the integration of technology and instruction, Williams has promoted the innovative use of instructional computer technology. While at Louisville, he led development of a high-tech pre-clinical simulation teaching facility. Williams collaborated with the medical school on a medical simulation lab and standardized patient program.

Before serving as dean, Williams was associate dean for educational programs at the school. From 1988 to 1991, he served concurrently in the Office of the Provost at Louisville as assistant university provost.. He began his career in private general dental practice but served part-time public health positions at the Louisville Memorial Primary Care Center and the Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women. He joined the school in 1986 as an assistant professor in the department of community dentistry.

Williams earned a bachelor’s degree from Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky., his doctor of dental medicine from the Louisville School of Dentistry and has an MBA from Louisville’s School of Business. He succeeds John Stamm, who retired Dec. 31. Ken May, professor and associate dean for administration and planning, has served as interim dean since Jan 1.


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