NIDCR director who oversaw 1st Surgeon General's report dies

The former U.S. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) director, who led the institution in the production of the first Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health in 2000, died at his home on December 22.

Dr. Hal Slavkin. Image courtesy of the U.S. National Institues of Health.Dr. Hal Slavkin. Image courtesy of the U.S. National Institues of Health.

Dr. Hal Slavkin, a dentist who served as the NIDCR's director between 1995 and 2000, died at the age of 85, according to a statement dated January 2 from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Slavkin joined NIDCR from the University of Southern California School of Dentistry, where he was founder and director of the Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology. His studies focused on the developmental processes underlying several congenital and acquired craniofacial and oral defects. Slavkin also created and chaired the first PhD program in the U.S. in craniofacial biology, according to the NIH.

While at the NIDCR, he oversaw the development of its strategic plan to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities and later expanded efforts to reduce oral health disparities for conditions, including childhood caries. Other achievements during Slavkin's tenure included creating a patient advocate forum and planning for the “FaceBase” database of craniofacial anomalies, according to the statement.

In 2009, Slavkin was awarded the ADA's Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Dental Research.

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