Professor Heiko Spallek has been appointed Acting Dean of Dentistry. He will act in this position for the next 12 months while Professor Chris Peck concentrates on his leadership role in the University's activities at the Westmead precinct.
Since early 2016, Professor Spallek has served as Pro-Dean where his key responsibilities have included the consolidation of the faculty's operations and developing a strategic plan.
"During the last year, I have worked closely with academic and professional staff, students and external stakeholders on our strategic plan. The now-completed plan will serve as the guide for what must be accomplished over the next 12 months and beyond," said Professor Spallek.
"Taking over stewardship from Professor Chris Peck is an immense honour, both personally and professionally. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to benefit from his vast experience and leadership, and in particular his mentoring and support".
Professor Spallek has worked closely with the Dean and faculty leadership team as well as NSW Health and Local Health Districts, and his appointment will ensure the continuity in the faculty's operation.
"As Acting Dean, I aspire to continue to lead dentistry through the formidable challenges ahead, preparing our students for a rapidly changing healthcare environment, contributing to research that is increasingly driven by technological advances and providing service to our community," he said.
"The digital revolution has already altered our lives in so many ways, now it is rapidly entering healthcare, including the dental profession."
In April this year, the Faculty of Dentistry will become the University of Sydney School of Dentistry under the new Faculty of Medicine and Health.
"The Faculty of Dentistry is an integral part of the new Faculty of Medicine and Health and ensuring that dentistry is an active participant in the structuring of this faculty is an important priority for me. Dental education and research has a lot to offer to the other health professions.
"As a small faculty, soon school, it is important to highlight strengths and to develop the areas that deserve greater attention and focus. I feel certain that if we work as a cohesive team that includes our partners in the wider community, such as alumni, Local Health Districts, professional organisations and regulatory bodies, we will succeed.
"The new structure will provide many opportunities for dentistry, particularly around the leveraging of expertise and integration of our profession into Medicine and Health more broadly. But I am also aware that the reorganisation will come with challenges, such as how to best maintain our own professional identity throughout the integration with our colleagues in nursing, medicine and pharmacy, and later health sciences.
"I remain firm in the belief that the benefits will far outweigh the challenges and see the new, stronger structure providing great opportunities for dentistry, particularly in sharing research and education expertise within the Faculty of Medicine and Health," he said.