Department of Restorative Dental Sciences leadership changes

Wendell Willis, D.D.S.Wendell Willis, D.D.S, steps down from his roles as interim department chair for the University of Florida Department of Restorative Dental Sciences and director for the Pre-doctoral General Dentistry Division effective October 16, 2015, in anticipation of his retirement scheduled for January 2016. Nery Clark, D.M.D., will take over as interim department chair and as interim director of the Pre-doctoral General Dentistry Division while the college completes a national search for a permanent department chair.

“I am deeply grateful to Dr. Willis for his service as interim chair of RDS since July 2013 and as director for the Pre-doctoral General Dentistry Division since May 2011. He has worked tirelessly in these roles, assisting through changes in deanship at the college and helping to orient me to the needs of the department over the past eight months,” said A. Isabel Garcia, D.D.S., M.P.H., dean of the UF College of Dentistry.

Willis has been with the college since 1977 when he joined the Department of Operative Dentistry as a visiting professor while continuing to work in private practice in Gainesville. He continued his teaching as part-time faculty in the Department of Prosthodontics and Periodontics, and then joined the college as a full-time faculty member in the Department of Periodontics, before he became a team leader in August 2008.

Clark, an associate professor since 1989, is an alumna of the college and an ardent supporter of the DMD Program.  She earned her dental degree in 1980 and became an instructor in the Department of Operative Dentistry in 1981.

“I am very confident in Dr. Clark’s commitment and ability to lead the department and the division during this interim phase,” Garcia said.

Clark was the Associate Dean for Extramural Programs from 1995 to 2003 and the director of the Internationally Educated Dentist Program from 1995 to 2010. She has been the principal investigator for two Advanced Education in General Dentistry training grants and has worked with UFCD’s Southeast Center for Research to Reduce Disparities in Oral Health.

She has a history of service to organized dentistry through membership and leadership positions in the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) and currently serves as a representative to ADEA’s Council of Faculties. She has also served on numerous committees in the college and at the university.

Currently Clark teaches in several pre-clinical and operative dentistry courses and practices one day per week in Faculty Practice.