William V. Giannobile, D.M.Sc. ’96, P.D. ’96, assumed his role as dean of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) on Sept. 1. A prominent educator and leader in the field of periodontology, Giannobile shares his vision for the School, as well as his observations about beginning his deanship in the throes of a pandemic.
HSDM: Starting as a new dean during a pandemic comes with a host of challenges, could you describe how you’ll navigate these challenges in the near term?
Giannobile: All of us have been significantly impacted by the pandemic. In particular, dental education and clinical care have been hit hard. I am extremely grateful to Interim Dean Vicki Rosen and the HSDM leadership team for navigating through some of the toughest parts of the crisis. They took important measures to protect our patients and our community. We will continue to focus on the safety of our students, faculty, and staff delivering clinical care in our clinics, while at the same time providing an excellent virtual learning environment for those students learning from home.
Research was also significantly affected with the shutdown of clinical and basic science research efforts. It has been very encouraging to see these activities ramp up again. Harvard has taken proactive approaches to protect our community with increased testing of our students, faculty, and staff who remain on-site. Our dental teams are involved in innovations in diagnostic testing including point-of-care testing with saliva diagnostics. Starting on Sept. 1, my biggest priority is