Dr. David Felton has been chosen to be the new dean of the School of Dentistry at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Felton will begin his leadership role on Jan. 19, 2016.
“My wife, Sue, and I are absolutely elated to be given the opportunity to serve in this capacity,” said Felton. “It is an honor and a privilege to come to UMMC. I look forward to training Mississippi's outstanding students to become the next generation of dentists in the state.”
Felton received his DDS and MS in prosthodontics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He joined the UNC faculty in 1984 as an assistant professor in the Department of Fixed Prosthodontics. He served as director of graduate prosthodontics for four years and as chair of the prosthodontics department for a decade before rejoining the faculty as a full professor.
Felton became dean of the West Virginia University School of Dentistry in 2011. After three years of service as dean, his latest role has been that of professor in the school's Department of Restorative Dentistry.
In his town hall-style meeting on the UMMC campus in November, Felton outlined his strategy for moving the SOD forward as a leader in dentistry through innovation. He touched on topics such as opportunities for more community outreach, increasing the school's endowment and interprofessional collaboration with the goal of “putting the mouth back in the body.”
Felton said it is time for the SOD to “become fully integrated with the Medical Center,” a concept echoed by Dr. Ralph Didlake, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and director of the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities at UMMC.
“Dr. Felton is the right person to bring the SOD forward to become more deeply engaged in the life of the Medical Center as a whole,” said Didlake. “The school is in a unique point in its history, poised to play a major role in the health of Mississippians as we learn more about the contribution of oral health to health in general.”
Felton will succeed Dr. Gary Reeves, who has served as dean of the School of Dentistry since 2012 after two years as interim dean of the school. A member of the Medical Center faculty for 30 years, Reeves earned his DMD at UMMC in 1984 after serving four years in the U.S. Army. He had general practice residency training at UMMC and joined the faculty as an instructor in restorative dentistry in 1985. He has been a professor of care planning and restorative sciences since 1996, and was with the Mississippi Army National Guard, Dental Corps, in Iraq in 2004.