WesternU Appoints Dr. James Koelbl As Founding Dean For College of Dental Medicine

Pomona, Calif. - 12/18/2006 -- James J. Koelbl, DDS, MS, MJWestern University of Health Sciences (WesternU) is pleased to announce the appointment of James J. Koelbl, DDS, MS, MJ, as the Founding Dean for the College of Dental Medicine, which the University anticipates opening in the next few years. The recommendation to add a College of Dentistry emerged from WesternU's strategic plan as a logical progression of expansion and is supported by the president and accepted by the University's Board of Trustees. The University has entered the preliminary phase of development and has selected Dr. Koelbl for the position of dean to spearhead the college's completion of preliminary accreditation protocols with the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). No date has been determined for the official inception of the dental program at WesternU.

Dr. Koelbl comes to WesternU from West Virginia University (WVU) School of Dentistry, where he has served as dean since 1999. Prior to his deanship at WVU, Dr. Koelbl held the position of Associate Executive Director at the American Dental Association in Chicago, Illinois.

"Dr. Koelbl's accomplishments, and commitment to integrated health care and education makes him an ideal choice for our University and the developing dental program," said Dr. Pumerantz, founding president of WesternU.

"I am pleased and excited by this opportunity to join the WesternU family; and the new College of Dental Medicine will build upon the University's rich tradition of academic excellence and innovation," said Dr. Koelbl. "At Western, our focus is on people. We will admit a diverse group of enthusiastic, talented men and women and help them grow into competent, caring, technically proficient health care practitioners who will become active members of their communities and their profession."

"The practice of dentistry, as well as that of all the health professions, continues to evolve. Upon graduation, WesternU alumni will be prepared to effectively utilize the latest technology and scientific knowledge in their daily practice," he continued. "They will appreciate the importance of working together with other members of the health care team to help their patients achieve optimum health. They will understand the important links between oral health and general health and they will fulfill their professional obligation to give back to society, especially to those most in need."

"We are pleased that Jim will serve as the founding dean for the University's proposed dental college," said Dr. Benjamin L. Cohen, executive vice president for Academic Affairs and chief operating officer for Western University of Health Sciences. "Jim is a natural and easy leader, an innovative visionary, and a wise administrator, who understands the unique role that dentistry plays in a comprehensive graduate health science education, as well as the health of the whole individual and community. We are looking forward to working with Jim as he leads this exciting initiative of founding a new dental college at the University."

Dr. Koelbl has built a notable career spanning 30 years in academia and is widely respected as an expert in the field of dentistry. His first academic appointment was as assistant professor in the department of prosthodontics at the University of Illinois. His impressive career in academia also includes serving as chairman of the Department of Operative Dentistry, assistant dean for Admissions and Student Affairs, and associate dean for Academic Affairs at Loyola University School of Dentistry; and associate dean for Clinical Affairs at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry. Dr. Koelbl also practiced general dentistry over a twenty year period both full and part-time in rural and urban settings.

"Jim Koelbl is an excellent choice to become the Founding Dean of the College of Dental Medicine at WUHS," said Richard W. Valachovic, DMD, MPH, executive director of the American Dental Education Association. "His experiences during a lifetime career in dental education at public and private universities, along with his successes in leading the education division at the American Dental Association in the 1990s, provide many of the attributes that WesternU will need in the establishment of a dental school. Dr. Koelbl has a keen sense for the value of interdisciplinary health professions education and collaboration between the professions. I am certain that he will keep these issues at the top of his priorities as he moves to the Pomona campus."

Augmenting his notable career accomplishments, Dr. Koelbl holds many professional memberships. He is a fellow of the American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists; a member of Omicron Kappa Upsilon Honorary Dental Society, and the American Dental Association. Dr. Koelbl is currently serving a four-year term (2005- 2009) as a member of the Commission on Dental Accreditation. In 2005, he was also appointed as a founding member of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA)/American Association of Dental Research (AADR) National Oral Health Advocacy Committee. Formerly, he served as a member of the Committee on Specialty Recognition of the American Dental Association (Committee G) and as a member of the Legislative Advisory Committee of the American Dental Education Association. Dr. Koelbl also currently volunteers as a consultant to the Commission on Dental Accreditation, serving as the chairperson for comprehensive dental school site visits throughout the country.

Dr. Koelbl received his undergraduate training at John Carroll University in Ohio. He earned his DDS degree from the University of Illinois College of Dentistry. He received a Masters of Science in Oral Biology from Loyola University Graduate School, with a concentration in dental materials. He also earned a Masters of Jurisprudence in Health Law from Loyola University School of Law. Dr. Koelbl is married to Dr. Joan Koelbl, who is also a dentist. They have six children and three grandchildren.

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