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Denis F. Kinane,B.D.S., Ph.D.

by Wittliff,James L. last modified Sep 22, 2009 04:04 PM

University of Pennsylvania


A Message from President Amy Gutmann and Provost Ron Daniels

We are delighted to announce that we have selected Denis F. Kinane to be the next Dean of the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, effective July 1, 2009.  Dr. Kinane is currently the Delta Endowed Professor in the Department of Periodontology and Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, and a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology in the University of Louisville School of Medicine. 

A native of Scotland, Dr. Kinane earned his Bachelor of Dental Surgery in 1980 and his PhD in Microbiology in 1983, both from the University of Edinburgh.  He is a member of the Faculties of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and holds specialist registration in Periodontics (UK and Switzerland) and Restorative Dentistry (UK).
Dr. Kinane brings to Penn a compelling and interdisciplinary vision for the future of dental science.  He has a deep understanding of the interdependence among the educational, research, and clinical missions of a dental school.  He brings an unyielding commitment to the highest quality teaching, excellence in patient care, and eminence in research. He is a strong advocate of closer ties among dental medicine, medicine, and the basic sciences, and forging new linkages between dental schools, the community, and business sectors.  We are confident that Dr. Kinane will help us further advance Penn’s strong commitment to integrating knowledge across disciplines and to local and global engagement.

A skilled recruiter of outstanding faculty, as Associate Dean for Research and Enterprise at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, Dr. Kinane dramatically improved the School’s research profile and professional standing, raising its national ranking in research funding from 37th to 13th. Energetic, passionate, and engaging, he personally recruited eminent researchers and clinicians from schools around the world to Louisville and oversaw the creation of a new Oral Health and Systemic Disease research group. 

A prodigious researcher, Dr. Kinane’s professional engagements bridge the divide between the basic and clinical sciences, and his research has improved dental medicine’s understanding of the causes and development of gum diseases. He has also examined the relationships between oral and systemic health and among diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and periodontal disease. 

An active clinician as well, Dr. Kinane has taught periodontics for over 20 years and has spent considerable time supervising students in teaching and research clinics and developing educational and computer-assisted learning programs.  Earlier in his career, Dr. Kinane served as chair of the Periodontal Department at the University of Glasgow, and he maintains a strong commitment to clinical dental education.

During his time at Louisville, Dr. Kinane has been an important supporter of development and alumni relations programs.  He has also partnered with leaders in government and the business sector to increase commercialization and technology transfer opportunities for dental researchers.

As Dean, Denis Kinane will build on the strong history and international reputation of Penn’s School of Dental Medicine, guided in recent years by former Dean Marjorie Jeffcoat and Interim Dean Thomas Sollecito.  We want to express our deepest appreciation for the exemplary leadership of Tom Sollecito in two recent stints, first, as Acting Dean, and now as Interim Dean.  Tom guided the School through its reaccreditation process with enormous success and he continues to provide the highest degree of integrity and commitment in the leadership of the School, which is certain to facilitate a smooth transition in the months ahead. Tom will continue to lead the School with the same strength of purpose and commitment until Denis takes office on July 1, 2009.

Our selection of Denis Kinane as the next Dean of the School of Dental Medicine successfully concludes a six month search. The Consultative Committee, ably chaired by School of Medicine Dean and Executive Vice President of the University for the Health System Arthur Rubenstein, considered some 282 prospects, contacts, applicants, nominees, and active candidates to arrive at an initial pool of 42 applicants, nominees, and active candidates, and then a group of 13 individuals (one of whom subsequently withdrew prior to interviewing) who were invited to interview with the entire Committee.  Based on voluntary self-identifications and other sources, we believe the initial pool of 42 individuals contained three women and 39 men, and at least one African-American, two Latinos, three foreign nationals, and three internal nominees.  The Committee ultimately recommended four individuals to the President from among the group of 12 interviewed semi-finalists, which included two women.

The Committee, aided by search consultants from Korn Ferry International, conducted informational interviews and consultative meetings with individuals and groups throughout the Penn Dental Medicine community, as well as many informal contacts, in order to better understand the scope, expectations, and challenges of the Dean’s position and the opportunities facing the School of Dental Medicine in the years ahead.  These consultative activities included full Committee meetings with former Dean Marjorie Jeffcoat and Interim Dean Thomas Sollecito; open meetings for faculty, staff, and students of the School of Dental Medicine; a meeting of the Chair with the School’s Board of Overseers; a meeting of the consultant with the School’s alumni society board; and extensive networking by members of the Committee with the School’s faculty and students, as well as colleagues at other institutions. Indeed, the members of the Committee were especially energetic in soliciting and recommending the names of potential candidates from the global dental medicine community.  The Committee also solicited advice and nominations from all faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the School via email, and reviewed a variety of documents about the School, including excerpts from its recently completed self-study.  The vacancy was announced (and input invited from the entire Penn community) in Almanac and advertised in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Hispanic Outlook, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, Women in Higher Education, Philadelphia Inquirer, Journal of Dental Education, Journal of the American Dental Association, Bulletin of Dental Education Online, and the email distribution list of ELAM (Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program for Women). 

Denis Kinane brings to the role of Dean of Penn Dental Medicine a strong track record as an internationally recognized researcher, a dedicated teacher and clinician, and a talented and successful institutional leader, as well as a timely vision of the future of dental education and professional practice.  He is deeply committed to the synergy of basic science and clinical training and to raising the funds and recruiting the faculty needed to ensure the School of Dental Medicine’s future eminence.  We are confident that he will provide the vigorous and visionary leadership needed to renew and enhance Penn Dental Medicine’s historical leadership in the profession and the University.

                            --Amy Gutmann
                    --Ron Daniels


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