Western University of Health Sciences (WesternU) is pleased to announce the appointment of James J. Koelbl, DDS, MS, MJ, as the Founding Dean for the College of Dental Medicine, which the University anticipates opening in the next few years. The recommendation to add a College of Dentistry emerged from WesternU’s strategic plan as a logical progression of expansion and is supported by the president and accepted by the University’s Board of Trustees. The University has entered the preliminary phase of development and has selected Dr. Koelbl for the position of dean to spearhead the college’s completion of preliminary accreditation protocols with the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association (ADA) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). No date has been determined for the official inception of the dental program at WesternU.

Dr. Koelbl comes to WesternU from West Virginia University (WVU) School

of Dentistry, where he has served as dean since 1999. Prior to his

deanship at WVU, Dr. Koelbl held the position of Associate Executive

Director at the American Dental Association in Chicago, Illinois.

“”Dr. Koelbl’s accomplishments, and commitment to integrated health care

and education makes him an ideal choice for our University and the

developing dental program,”” said Dr. Pumerantz, founding president of


“”I am pleased and excited by this opportunity to join the WesternU

family; and the new College of Dental Medicine will build upon the

University’s rich tradition of academic excellence and innovation,”” said

Dr. Koelbl. “”At Western, our focus is on people. We will admit a

diverse group of enthusiastic, talented men and women and help them grow

into competent, caring, technically proficient health care practitioners

who will become active members of their communities and their profession.””

“”The practice of dentistry, as well as that of all the health

professions, continues to evolve. Upon graduation, WesternU alumni will

be prepared to effectively utilize the latest technology and scientific

knowledge in their daily practice,”” he continued. “”They will appreciate

the importance of working together with other members of the health care

team to help their patients achieve optimum health. They will understand

the important links between oral health and general health and they will

fulfill their professional obligation to give back to society, especially

to those most in need.””

“”We are pleased that Jim will serve as the founding dean for the

University’s proposed dental college,”” said Dr. Benjamin L. Cohen,

executive vice president for Academic Affairs and chief operating officer

for Western University of Health Sciences. “”Jim is a natural and easy

leader, an innovative visionary, and a wise administrator, who

understands the unique role that dentistry plays in a comprehensive

graduate health science education, as well as the health of the whole

individual and community. We are looking forward to working with Jim as

he leads this exciting initiative of founding a new dental college at the


Dr. Koelbl has built a notable career spanning 30 years in academia and

is widely respected as an expert in the field of dentistry. His first

academic appointment was as assistant professor in the department of

prosthodontics at the University of Illinois. His impressive career in

academia also includes serving as chairman of the Department of Operative

Dentistry, assistant dean for Admissions and Student Affairs, and

associate dean for Academic Affairs at Loyola University School of

Dentistry; and associate dean for Clinical Affairs at the University of

Louisville School of Dentistry. Dr. Koelbl also practiced general

dentistry over a twenty year period both full and part-time in rural and

urban settings.

“”Jim Koelbl is an excellent choice to become the Founding Dean of the

College of Dental Medicine at WUHS,”” said Richard W. Valachovic, DMD,

MPH, executive director of the American Dental Education

Association. “”His experiences during a lifetime career in dental

education at public and private universities, along with his successes in

leading the education division at the American Dental Association in the

1990s, provide many of the attributes that WesternU will need in the

establishment of a dental school. Dr. Koelbl has a keen sense for the

value of interdisciplinary health professions education and collaboration

between the professions. I am certain that he will keep these issues at

the top of his priorities as he moves to the Pomona campus.””

Augmenting his notable career accomplishments, Dr. Koelbl holds many

professional memberships. He is a fellow of the American College of

Dentists and the International College of Dentists; a member of Omicron

Kappa Upsilon Honorary Dental Society, and the American Dental

Association. Dr. Koelbl is currently serving a four-year term (2005-

2009) as a member of the Commission on Dental Accreditation. In 2005, he

was also appointed as a founding member of the American Dental Education

Association (ADEA)/American Association of Dental Research (AADR)

National Oral Health Advocacy Committee. Formerly, he served as a member

of the Committee on Specialty Recognition of the American Dental

Association (Committee G) and as a member of the Legislative Advisory

Committee of the American Dental Education Association. Dr. Koelbl also

currently volunteers as a consultant to the Commission on Dental

Accreditation, serving as the chairperson for comprehensive dental school

site visits throughout the country.

Dr. Koelbl received his undergraduate training at John Carroll University

in Ohio. He earned his DDS degree from the University of Illinois

College of Dentistry. He received a Masters of Science in Oral Biology

from Loyola University Graduate School, with a concentration in dental

materials. He also earned a Masters of Jurisprudence in Health Law from

Loyola University School of Law. Dr. Koelbl is married to Dr. Joan

Koelbl, who is also a dentist. They have six children and three