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Announcement Regarding Dean Ira Lamster of the College of Dental Medicine

Announcement Regarding Dean Ira Lamster of the College of Dental Medicine

March 1, 2012

Dear Fellow Members of the Columbia Community:

Since 2001, when he was appointed dean of what is now the College of Dental Medicine, Dr. Ira B. Lamster has been an inspirational leader to faculty, students, staff and alumni across the CUMC campus.

Now, after ten years leading the College of Dental Medicine and, in the last five years, serving as senior vice president of Columbia University Medical Center,  Dr. Lamster has informed us of his intention to step down. He will continue to serve as dean until the end of the academic year, at which time an interim dean will be appointed.

The College of Dental Medicine has proven to be a dynamic institution under Ira’s leadership, with new educational programs, clinical initiatives and research opportunities.  Among his many accomplishments are an innovative pre-doctoral curriculum, expanded joint degree programs with the Mailman School, the Columbia Business School and Teachers College, and a robust program in continuing dental education.  In the past decade, the College of Dental Medicine also created a Center for Craniofacial Regeneration, established itself as a leader in the investigation of the relationship between oral inflammation and systemic health, and developed a nationally recognized research program in social and behavioral sciences.

Reflecting Ira’s focus on providing superior oral health care to Columbia’s neighbors, the College of Dental Medicine redesigned patient areas in the Vanderbilt Clinic on the CUMC campus, opened oral health clinics in several local schools and delivered dental services to area Head Start preschool children via a new mobile dental center.  The College’s implant program—encompassing research, education and patient care—has grown dramatically.

Ira led the effort to create formal affiliations with twelve top international schools of dentistry and partnerships with non-government organizations.  These global partnerships not only deliver needed dental care to underserved people, but also provide valuable opportunities for Columbia’s dental students and residents to gain international experience.  Three-quarters of those graduating from CDM in 2011 participated in one of these international programs during their training.

Throughout his time as dean, Ira also has been dedicated to building meaningful and lasting alumni relationships, by launching new publications, events and outreach programs.

We are grateful for Ira’s outstanding service as dean since 2001 and as a member of the Columbia faculty since 1988.  We soon will announce the formation of a search committee to assist in the identification of his successor.


Lee C. Bollinger

Lee Goldman, MD
Executive Vice President for Health and Biomedical Sciences and Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and Medicine