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Deborah Greenspan To Retire and Step Down as Chair of the Department of Orofacial Sciences

March 17, 2014

Deborah GreenspanUCSF Dentistry Dean John D.B. Featherstone announces that Deborah Greenspan, BDS, DSc(Med), ScD(hc), FDSRCSEd(Hon), DSc(hc), DDS(hc), Chair of the Department of Orofacial Sciences (OFS), Professor of Oral Medicine and longtime distinguished member of the UCSF School of Dentistry's faculty, will retire and step down as OFS Chair at the end of June 2014.  She has been associated with UCSF since 1972.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank you sincerely for all that you have done for the school," began a letter from the Dean to Dr. Greenspan, "and especially for your work, first as interim department chair and then as chair, over the past ten years. You have made your mark, and the school is better off as a result."

Dr. Deborah Greenspan is one of the world’s leading investigators and clinicians in oral infectious diseases, and has long worked with colleagues throughout the world to improve oral and general health. Her international work includes training a generation of clinicians, many from resource-poor countries, both in clinical care and developing research programs.

A frequent collaborator is her husband and colleague from their first days together at the UCSF School of Dentistry, John S. Greenspan, BSC, BDS, PhD, FRCPath, ScD [hc], FDSRCS [Eng], Distinguished Professor of Oral Pathology, Department of Orofacial Sciences, and Associate Dean for Global Oral Health.

She has made crucial discoveries concerning oral health, including delineating new lesions in association with HIV infection, new ways of treating problems of the mouth in HIV-positive people, and has charted the changes in the AIDS epidemic since its beginning in San Francisco. Her discovery of hairy leukoplakia opened up new aspects, not only of AIDS research worldwide but also in the field of Epstein-Barr virus research. 

Her group pioneered effective oral care for the millions of people worldwide with HIV infection, and set an example for delivery of dental care for that group. She led the UCSF School of Dentistry’s effort to establish new protocols to protect patients and health care providers against transmission of blood-borne infections, an example which set the standard worldwide.

She has made major contributions to improving oral health for people with oral cancer who have been treated with radiation therapy, and as an international leader in oral science and has spoken extensively on oral cancer, oral candidiasis, AIDS, the oral manifestations of HIV infection, and infection control.

Dr. Greenspan is Past President of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), and has served as Chair of the San Francisco Division of the University of California Academic Senate from 2005 to 2007.  She is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences.  She is also an Ambassador in Research America’s Paul G Roger’s Society for Global Health Research, and a Fellow of the International College of Dentists and of the American College of Dentists.

Dr. Greenspan has received many awards and honors over the course of a long and distinguished career.  In 2004 she received the prestigious Norton Ross Award from the American Dental Association, and in 2011 she received the Distinguished Scientist Award for Oral Medicine and Pathology from the International Association for Dental Research.


Dr. Deborah Greenspan


UCSF School of Dentistry - Department of Orofacial Sciences