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Center to Address Disparities in Children's Oral Health Gets New Director

September 24, 2012

Barker & GanskyStuart A. Gansky, MS, DrPH will take over on October 1 as Director of the University of California San Francisco’s (UCSF) Center to Address Disparities in Children's Oral Health (CAN DO). Dr. Gansky is replacing Judith C. Barker, PhD, who succeeded founding director Jane Weintraub in 2010 after Weintraub left to become Dean of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Dentistry. Dr. Barker will return to her prior role as CAN DO's Associate Director and Principal Investigator (PI) of a developmental project on salt fluoridation.

"This realignment returns CAN DO to full organizational structure as originally proposed" said UCSF Dentistry Dean John Featherstone. "I know that Dr. Gansky and the rest of UCSF’s dentistry community will join with me to thank Dr. Barker for her leadership during this transition period. Under Judith's leadership, CAN DO has launched several new developmental projects whose findings will contribute substantially to the discourse on reducing oral health disparities."

Dr. Barker is Professor in Residence in the Department of Anthropology, History, & Social Medicine in the UCSF School of Medicine, and in the UCSF School of Dentistry's Department of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences (PRDS). She was recently awarded the Steven Polgar Prize for an article she co-authored on oral health disparities among Mexican-American farmworker children. The Polgar Prize is awarded to a professional medical anthropologist for the best paper published in Medical Anthropology Quarterly for a given year.

Dr. Barker's research interests focus on the anthropology of health, illness, and medicine, particularly as it applies to vulnerable populations and health disparities. This has led her to study such topics as day-to-day management of chronic illness in patients and families, organization of community-based care, and the impact of migration and social change on health status and the provision of public health services.

Dr. Barker holds degrees from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, the University of London, and UC Berkeley/San Francisco.

"I am pleased to hand over the reins of CAN DO to Stuart Gansky," said Dr. Barker. “As CAN DO's Associate Director, UCSF Principal Investigator of the Glass Ionomer Fluoride Varnish Trial, and the Director of CAN DO's Data Coordinating Center, Stuart has an unparalleled depth and breadth of experience that make him more than capable of carrying on and fulfilling the Center's mission."

Dr. Gansky was recently appointed the John C. Greene Endowed Chair in Primary Care Dentistry in the PRDS Department. In addition to his roles in CAN DO, he serves as Assistant Director of the UCSF Clinical & Translational Sciences Institute’s Mentor Development Program and as a professor in the Division of Oral Epidemiology & Dental Public Health in the Department of PRDS, where he teaches evidence-based dentistry and mentors many students, residents, and faculty members who practice or teach primary care dentistry at UCSF.

Dr. Gansky earned his Doctor of Public Health degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has focused his research career on health promotion and primary disease prevention, authoring more than 100 publications. His background in biostatistics, epidemiology and public health has led him to focus on discovery directly relevant to issues of importance in primary care dentistry and health disparities.

CAN DO is funded by a 7-year, $24 million cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR U54 DE019285).


Judith C. Barker and Stuart A. Gansky


Center to Address Disparities in Children's Oral Health (CAN DO):