Clara M. Spatafore, D.D.S., M.S., has been named interim dean of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry. 

As the current chair of the VCU School of Dentistry’s Department of Endodontics and Oral Diagnostic Sciences, Dr. Spatafore comes to her new role with experience as an oral health and dental education insider.

“Dr. Spatafore is highly qualified to lead the school at this pivotal moment in its history,” says Arthur Kellermann, M.D., professor and senior vice president for VCU Health Sciences and CEO of VCU Health System. “For more than three decades, she has been an active member of the American Association of Endodontics and has held a variety of leadership roles with the organization’s board including president. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics and has served on multiple committees. Currently she is a director on the American Board of Endodontists and is on the Journal of Endodontics Scientific Review Board.

In addition to her national leadership within the endodontics specialty, Dr. Spatafore is a member of numerous dental associations representing local, state, and national interests. She lectures nationally and internationally on all facets of dentistry.

As interim dean, Kellermann says, Dr. Spatafore is fully empowered to exercise the office’s authorities and responsibilities in support of the VCU School of Dentistry’s students, staff, and faculty, and to advance the school’s strong education, research, and clinical service programs.

A native of Clarksburg, West Virginia, Clara Spatafore earned an undergraduate degree in medical technology and her D.D.S. from West Virginia University. After three years in general dentistry private practice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she returned to West Virginia University to earn a master’s in Endodontics.

“Nothing could make me happier than to lead the VCU School of Dentistry into an integrative future of collaborative care for our students, faculty, staff and, of course, our patients,” Spatafore says. “It is truly an honor to serve the dental school in this manner.”

Before becoming chair of the Department of Endodontics, Dr. Spatafore was in private practice in the specialty of endodontics for 25 years after serving in the United States Navy as an endodontist. She left the Navy at the rank of Lt. Commander. She and her husband Philip Bartling have four children.

Dr. Spatafore replaces David C. Sarrett, D.M.D, M.S., who announced his return to the school’s full-time faculty and clinical practice on Jan. 27. Sarrett will continue to serve as associate vice president for Health Sciences, Faculty Affairs, a position he has held with VCU Health since 2003.

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 30,000 students in 233 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Twenty-two of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health brand represents the VCU health sciences academic programs, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, and MCV Physicians. The clinical enterprise includes a collaboration with Sheltering Arms Institute for physical rehabilitation services. For more information, please visit and For information about the VCU School of Dentistry, please visit

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