A new Gator on board

A new Gator on board

Deputy director of national institute named next dean of the College of Dentistry

By Karen Rhodenizer
Dr. Isabel Garcia, the new dean of the College of Dentistry.

Dr. Isabel Garcia, the new dean of the College of Dentistry.

Born and raised in a small town in eastern Cuba, Isabel Garcia, D.D.S., M.P.H., moved to the United States with her family in 1970 when she was a teenager.

Now, after spending most of her 34-year-career in Northern states with frostier climes, she’s looking forward to coming to UF for the more temperate Gainesville weather and to cheer on the Gators — and, not to mention, become the next dean of the College of Dentistry. 

In September Garcia was named the seventh dean of the College of Dentistry. Currently the deputy director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, Garcia has spent three decades in public health clinical practice, research, teaching and administration at the local, state and national levels. 

“Having spent most of my career in the public sector, I am particularly drawn to UF’s origins as a public land-grant university and its founding mission of service to the community,” Garcia said. “I hope to work with colleagues across the university and join forces with interested organizations, communities and others to achieve the common goal of improving oral health for all people through the college’s teaching, research and service missions.”

She earned a doctorate in dental surgery at Virginia Commonwealth University and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Michigan. She stayed in Michigan to complete a dental public health residency and then earned a fellowship in primary care policy from the U.S. Public Health Service.

Garcia will begin her new job in February, taking the reins of the college from Boyd Robinson, D.D.S., M. Ed., who has served as interim dean since June 2013 when Teresa A. Dolan, D.D.S., M.P.H., retired. 

As deputy director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, Garcia has shared responsibility for the oversight and management of programs and functions within the institute — which includes a staff of more than 400 scientists and administrators dedicated to research, training, science policy, health education, communications and financial management.

The recipient of numerous honors and awards, Garcia has received the NIH Director’s Award for Mentoring, the American Association for Dental Research’s Jack Hein Public Service Award, and the U.S. Public Health Service Jack D. Robertson Award for outstanding long-term dedication and service to improve the oral health of the nation.

“I am confident that under her leadership, our nationally prominent College of Dentistry will gain even greater recognition by expanding the breadth and depth of our research programs and clinical practices while developing innovative and forward-looking approaches to dental education and community partnerships in oral health care,” said David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health.