It gives me great pleasure to inform you that the Board of Trustees (BOT) has approved the establishment of the new Department of Dentofacial Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine (FM) of the American University of Beirut.
Functioning collaboratively for 20 years within the Department of Otorhinolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery at FM, the members of the Division of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics (ODO) have been collectively committed to the three missions of academic medicine: healthcare, research, and teaching, by offering clinical services and comprehensive treatment through advanced methods and technologies, undertaking impactful research which has been successfully funded, published and duly recognized, and introducing an excellent residency program with a combined MS Program in Orthodontics, deemed “second to none" by the New York State Education Department. Over the years, the Division has expanded to include four full-time faculty members, six part-time faculty members, and several clinical associates in the various dental disciplines. With all its entities, the Division has now become the Department of Dentofacial Medicine.
I am also pleased to appoint Dr. Joseph Ghafari, Tenured Professor, as the Founding Chairperson of the Department of Dentofacial Medicine, effective January 01, 2023.
Dr. Ghafari earned the degrees of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) from Saint Joseph University and Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed his postgraduate studies in Orthodontics at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Forsyth Dental Center in Boston, USA. Dr. Ghafari started his academic career as Assistant Professor of Orthodontics at the University of Pennsylvania and moved up the academic ranks to Associate Professor with tenure, then Professor (1993). In 2001, he was appointed as Professor at the American University of Beirut and established the ODO Division. When tenure was reinstated at our University, Dr. Ghafari was among the first Professors at the FM to obtain tenure in recognition of his sustained outstanding achievements in research, teaching, clinical care, and service.
Dr. Ghafari is internationally renowned for his clinical and research work in dentofacial medicine, including NIH-supported research. He has published more than 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals, several book chapters, and a book, and presented his work at scientific meetings and universities around the world. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics. During his tenure, Dr. Ghafari taught and mentored numerous dental students and residents, and promoted the education of scholarly clinicians through innovative educational practices. He has championed the integration of oral health in total health, a tenet finding a unique application at our Faculty and Medical Center. His wide-ranging service experience includes membership on various committees and in prominent professional societies, holding principal positions in many of them. Dr. Ghafari has received numerous international awards for his scholarly contributions and prestigious recognitions as an educator.
Clinically, Dr. Ghafari expanded the scope of his Division beyond the original orthodontic services, to include all areas of dentistry for all ages. He has an exceptional academic and administrative leadership portfolio with a pioneering vision to reinvigorate dentistry at our Faculty and Medical Center. In his proposal to establish the Department, he envisioned the growth of this Department on four foundations:
- Sustained growth and accomplishments of the Division of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.
- Expansion of the facilities and services of the present dental practice.
- Sustained scholarly culture with innovative collaborative research.
- Continuing dental education programs with an independent self-generated budget.
Dr. Ghafari has secured endowments to expand the space and to construct new clinics and offices on the sixth floor of AUBMC-Phase I, as part of the new Department.
Please join me in congratulating Dr. Joseph Ghafari on his ongoing contributions and committed service. I am confident that he will serve in his new role the Department of Dentofacial Medicine, FM, and the American University of Beirut with strong academic, clinical, and leadership abilities.
Raymond Sawaya, MD
Vice President for Medical Affairs
Raja N. Khuri Dean, Faculty of Medicine
American University of Beirut