Last week, Dr. David Sarrett stepped down as Dean of the VCU School of Dentistry. Please join me in acknowledging his many accomplishments and honoring his years of dedicated service to the school and our university.

Dr. Sarrett has served as dean since 2010. During his tenure, the School of Dentistry achieved remarkable growth and success across its extensive education, research, and patient care missions.

The school accomplished many things under his leadership, including establishing new educational programs; expanding sponsored research by 600%; and, leading extensive community work, which included the nation’s first “Mission of Mercy” program to provide free dental care in underserved areas of Virginia.

I am grateful that Dr. Sarrett has agreed to continue to serve in the role of Associate Vice President for Health Sciences (Faculty Affairs). I am also pleased that he’s returning to the faculty as a master clinician and clinical educator, where he will continue to see patients and work with our dental students in the department of general practice.

Interim Leadership

I am pleased to announce that Dr. Clara Spatafore, associate professor of endodontics and chair of both the Department of Endodontics and the Department of Oral Diagnostic Sciences, will serve the school as interim dean, effective immediately.

Dr. Spatafore is highly qualified for the role: a member of the American Association of Endodontics since 1987, she has held a variety of leadership roles with the organization’s board. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics and serves on multiple committees and the Journal of Endodontics Scientific Review Board.

Dr. Spatafore is a member of numerous dental associations representing local, state, and national interests. She lectures nationally and internationally in all facets of endodontics.

As interim dean, Dr. Spatafore is fully empowered to exercise the office’s authorities and responsibilities in support of the School of Dentistry’s students, staff, and faculty and to advance the school’s strong education, research, and clinical service programs. The university and my office are committed to her and our collective success. We will soon initiate a competitive national search to recruit a permanent replacement.

Charting the Future

The VCU School of Dentistry is at a pivotal and exciting moment in its history. We have educated generations of dental health professionals for the Commonwealth and our nation; met the oral health needs of hundreds of thousands of patients from all walks of life; and, significantly advanced the science and practice of dentistry.

I am grateful for Dr. Sarrett’s outstanding service to VCU, his many contributions to academic dentistry and his commitment to keep serving patients and students, as well as the academic affairs of VCU’s Health Sciences schools and college. I look forward to working with Dean Spatafore as we chart a new course — one that will ensure that the next 127 years of the VCU School of Dentistry are even more successful and impactful than the first.


Art Kellermann, M.D., M.P.H.
Professor and Senior Vice President for VCU Health Sciences
CEO of VCU Health System

Categories News, Schoolwide News, schoolwide news