Isabel Garcia, D.D.S., M.P.H., joined the University of Florida College of Dentistry today as the seventh permanent dean. She was appointed in September 2014 by David S. Guzick, M.D., Ph.D., senior vice president for health affairs at UF and president of UF Health, when she was serving as the deputy director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), a part of the National Institutes of Health.
Garcia said, “I am delighted and honored by the opportunity to lead the college and look forward to working with its superb faculty, staff, students and alumni in furthering the college’s tradition of excellence in all fronts — education, patient care and research.”
Garcia’s career spans 34 years in public health, clinical practice, research, teaching and administration at the local, state and national levels. As deputy director of the NIDCR, she 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.
Garcia joined the NIDCR in 1995 and held multiple leadership roles. She led NIDCR’s science transfer efforts, directed the Institute’s Office of Science Policy and Analysis, and served as acting NIDCR director from 2010-2011. Garcia also served as the institute’s coordinator for global health and took over as director of NIDCR’s Residency in Dental Public Health program in 2005.
Before joining NIDCR, Garcia was a health scientist administrator at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, where she managed a portfolio of health services and primary care research. Prior to her career in the U.S. Public Health Service, she held local and state health management positions in Virginia and Ohio and practiced dentistry in Virginia.
Garcia received a doctorate in dental surgery in 1980 from Virginia Commonwealth University and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Michigan in 1988. She subsequently completed a residency in dental public health at the University of Michigan and a fellowship in primary care policy from the U.S. Public Health Service.
While pursuing her master’s, Garcia was a lecturer and adjunct assistant professor in the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. She later served as an adjunct assistant professor in the College of Dentistry at The Ohio State University.
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.
A fellow of the American College of Dentists, Garcia is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Public Health, one of the nine specialties recognized by the American Dental Association, and is an active member of the American Dental Education Association, the International Association for Dental Research and the American Dental Association.