John A. Valenza, DDS, professor in the Department of Diagnostic Sciences, was appointed dean of The University of Texas School of Dentistry (UTHealth SOD) at Houston, effective June 1, 2011 by Giuseppe Colasurdo, MD, president ad interim of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). Dr. Valenza had been serving as interim dean since 2009.
He is a Houston native who attended The University of Texas at Austin before enrolling at UTHealth SOD, where he graduated in 1981. He completed a general practice residency at The University of Tennessee Memorial Hospital and practiced full time in the Nashville area from 1982-87 while also serving part-time on the faculty of Meharry Medical College School of Dentistry.
In 1987, Dr. Valenza was appointed to the full-time faculty at UTHealth SOD (then known as the UT Dental Branch), where he initiated the award-winning General Practice Residency program with Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, serving as the program's director until 1996. From 1994-96, he also served as director of Advanced Education and Extramural Affairs.
In 1996, Dr. Valenza was named associate dean for patient care, a position he held until 2004. During this time, he oversaw many innovations affecting patient care, including:
From 2002-04, Dr. Valenza also served as acting chair of a new Department of Diagnostic Sciences, overseeing initiation of a number of new courses and clinics.
He served as UTHealth SOD’s executive associate dean from 2004-09 and was directly responsible for several initiatives, such as starting the faculty practice (UT*Dentists), developing a clinical simulation clinic, converting to electronic patient records and digital radiography, and obtaining new equipment for UTHealth SOD clinics. He oversaw two departments (Educational Support Services and Educational and Technology Services) that are responsible for technology, informatics and general educational support at the school.
Dr. Valenza has also led the design, planning and construction of a new, 314,000-square-foot building and conference center to replace UTHealth SOD’s 1955 facility. The new building will be complete in mid-2012.
Dr. Valenza is an active member of UT*Dentists, the school's faculty practice. He teaches both undergraduate and graduate students and conducts clinical research, primarily in dental informatics and clinical care. His research interests include clinical simulation, dental informatics and the use of technology in patient care. He has authored/co-authored numerous papers, chapters and reports, and received grants totaling more than $1.5 million.
He is a fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry, the American College of Dentists and the International College of Dentists; he is a member of the American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association, Greater Houston Dental Society, American Dental Education Association and the American Association of Hospital Dentists. In 2007, he was inducted into The University of Texas Academy of Health Science Education.