BC Hires Consultant for Dental School
Bluefield College, a private Christian college in southwest Virginia, announced plans in September 2012 to partner with Tazewell County, Virginia, to launch a new dental school by the fall of 2015.
December 18, 2012
Dr. Karen West, dean of the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and consultant for Bluefield College's dental school.
Toward that end, the college recently acquired the services of Dr. Karen West, a longtime educator and practitioner with a history of building dental programs, to serve as a consultant for laying the foundation for the new BC dental school.
A native of Leitchfield, Kentucky, Dr. West is currently the dean of the School of Dental Medicine at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), an institution that is known for its successful graduates and its service to the community.
“Service to the community is an integral component of the education of a dental student,” said Dr. West about her approach to developing dental schools. “Not only will students receive strong clinical training and a curriculum filled with academic rigor at the dental school planned at Bluefield College, but also the foundational knowledge and experience to graduate as a competent dental professional who is committed to an ethical practice of dentistry with a service orientation of providing for others.”
With a mission to teach students not only dentistry, but also leadership and the value of giving back to the community, Dr. West has helped build UNLV’s School of Dental Medicine into a program that receives more than 2,000 applications for admission annually and provides more than 60,000 patients visits a year. It’s that kind of expertise and experience Bluefield College is thankful to have in the development of its new dental school.
“Dr. West brings impeccable credentials and a proven track record of leading high-performing dental programs,” said Bluefield College president Dr. David Olive. “Her knowledge and insights are great assets to us during the developmental stage of our new dental school.”
In addition to becoming one of the largest service programs in the country, UNLV’s School of Dental Medicine has a developed national reputation for innovation in its curriculum under Dr. West’s guidance. The school is dedicated to improving the health of the citizens of Nevada through unique programs of oral healthcare, integrated curricula, and biomedical discovery.
“My role at Bluefield College is to help them put together all of the various pieces that go into making a great dental school,” said Dr. West. “I have been impressed by the commitment of both the college and the county to this project and look forward to seeing the fruition of their efforts. I'm just here now to help them get started in the right direction.”
Dr. West came to UNLV in 2007 after serving 17 years on faculty at the University of Kentucky’s College of Dentistry, working first as a clinical team leader before serving her last nine years as the associate dean for academic affairs.
Before that, she taught for six years at the Medical College of Georgia in the Department of Community Dentistry, where she served as director of the community Children and Youth Dental Clinic. In addition, Dr. West has had private practice dental experience in rural Kentucky.
“We are blessed to have Dr. West working with the college as a consultant as we lay the groundwork for our new dental school,” said Dr. Olive. “She will provide invaluable guidance as we seek to establish our mission, identify and hire a dean, and take additional steps toward opening the school in the fall of 2015.”
Dr. West holds a doctor of dental medicine (DMD) degree from the University of Louisville and a master’s degree in public health (MPH) from the University of South Carolina. She also completed a general practice residency program at the Medical College of Georgia, earned a certificate of medical management at the University of Kentucky, and is a past fellow in the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program.
Along with securing Dr. West as a consultant in the development of its new dental school, Bluefield College also recently created a committee assigned with the task of recommending 10 prospects to serve on the dental school’s Board of Directors. In addition, BC has employed the services of Wheless Partners, an executive and management search firm, to conduct a national search for the inaugural dean of the dental school.