Bulletin of Dental Education

Dr. Mark Latta Steps Down as Dean of Creighton SOD

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Mark Latta, D.M.D., Dean of the Creighton University School of Dentistry (Creighton SOD), has announced his decision to step down from that position, effective July 31, 2021.

“I am grateful for Dr. Latta’s outstanding service and leadership to the school of dentistry, our students and the university overall,” says Creighton President Daniel S. Hendrickson, S.J., Ph.D. “He is a respected and visionary administrator who has significantly advanced our academic mission and strategic priorities in his time as dean.” 

Dr. Latta will have served 10 years as Dean of Creighton SOD when he leaves the post in July 2021. He was appointed in 2011 after serving as Associate Dean for Research since 1995. He actively facilitated and furthered collaboration across Creighton SOD and the university and is quick to credit his faculty and staff colleagues in achieving success. 

“I’ve been blessed to have had the chance to serve the school of dentistry and the Creighton community as dean. The many great colleagues I’ve had the chance to work with have made my service as dean the highlight of my professional life,” says Dr. Latta.

In 2012, Dr. Latta introduced a strategic initiative and business proforma leading to the construction of a new $84.5 million state-of-the-art dental facility, which was completed in June 2018 and has facilitated a 30% increase in enrollment in Creighton SOD and significantly increased dental services available in Omaha through the school’s expanded clinics. Dr. Latta was instrumental in helping generate $52.5 million of private and public funding in support of the project.

With robust collaboration among school leadership, faculty and staff, Dr. Latta worked to create a strategic plan for the school; implemented an outcomes-based, mission-focused didactic, laboratory and clinical curriculum that emphasizes clinical excellence; and guided the school through two successful Commission on Dental Accreditation site visits in 2012 and 2019.

He reorganized the school’s administration to focus on student support and success, enhanced clinical operations, worked with school leadership to develop a hiring plan to support the school’s expanded enrollment, engaged actively in institutional advancement efforts, and supported the school’s research and scholarship mission, creating a visiting scholar program with Nihon University in Tokyo. 

After the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted clinical operations, Dr. Latta decisively and successfully enacted enhanced infectious disease procedures in accordance with state, local and national guidelines to safely bring patients and students back to the clinic, allowing Creighton SOD’s Class of 2020 to fulfill the clinical requirements necessary to graduate and patients to get the care they needed.

After stepping down as dean, Dr. Latta is planning a year sabbatical, during which he plans to visit research centers nationwide to bring back the latest research techniques to Creighton SOD. He will then return to the Creighton faculty to teach and conduct research. Dr. Latta is internationally recognized for his research in dental biomaterials.

To recognize his significant achievements as dean, Dr. Latta will be awarded the title Dean Emeritus from Creighton University.

Courtesy of Cindy Workman, Creighton University School of Dentistry

Published on October 14, 2020

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