College of Dental Medicine Dean Steven Friedrichsen, DDS, on the Pomona campus of Western University of Health Sciences. (Jeff Malet, WesternU)

Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine Dean Steven W. Friedrichsen, DDS, will retire on July 1, 2022, after more than 10 years of service at WesternU.

Dr. Friedrichsen was named interim dean of CDM on Feb. 1, 2011, and dean on July 1, 2011. He previously served as dean of the Creighton University Medical Center School of Dentistry and Special Assistant to the University President for Health Sciences Strategies, Program Director for the Idaho Dental Education Program, Program Director for the Idaho Advanced General Dentistry program, and Chair of the Department of Dental Sciences at Idaho State University.

“Steve is a superb dean,” said WesternU Interim President Sylvia Manning, PhD. “He is widely and deeply respected on campus, equally liked and admired. He brings WesternU national recognition for his professional accomplishments and for the College of Dental Medicine he has built while at the same time helping the University develop strong community relationships. It has been a privilege to work with him.”

WesternU has formed a search committee to hire Friedrichsen’s successor.

At WesternU, Friedrichsen guided a fledgling program to full accreditation in spring 2013.  CDM had welcomed its inaugural class in fall 2009. He formed a dynamic leadership team that took the program from an unknown new dental school to one with an outstanding reputation in the dental education community. Under his leadership, the College developed a robust and highly regarded community-based dental education program, an innovative curriculum designed for the success of the 21st century learner, the enhanced use of advanced technology in patient care and education and fostered a uniquely collegial culture.

Some notable highlights include the addition of a free-standing community site emphasizing care for patients with special needs, a second site aligned with the primary dental clinic, and an advanced standing program for international dentists. The College garnered more than $20 million in grants and awards in support of expanded programming and opportunities for patients, students, and faculty.

Friedrichsen helped secure donations to fund endowed scholarships, including the WREB Legacy Student Endowed Scholarship as well as a soon-to-be-named endowed professorship in Advanced Diagnostic Sciences and Therapeutics. With a lengthy history of engaging faculty and staff to build a more diverse and inclusive profession, he assisted in securing funding that included the Summer Select Program, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awards at two dental schools, and the Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP) at WesternU. He has been involved in multiple Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) grants, both as Principal Investigator and in administrative support of faculty awardees.

From left, College of Dental Medicine Associate Dean for Integration of Technology, Curriculum and Learning Environments Hubert Chan, DDS, Associate Dean for Patient Care and Clinical Education Brent Fung, DDS, Dean Steven Friedrichsen, DDS, Assistant Professor Joori Kim Choo, DMD, Assistant Professor Mark Mintline, DDS, and Professor Alexander Lee, DMD, and other CDM faculty and staff contributed to deepening the productive relationship between WREB and the College. (Jeff Malet, WesternU)

“Dean Friedrichsen has been an outstanding dean of the College of Dental Medicine and has made significant contributions not only to his College, but to all of WesternU and the dental profession in California and across the country,” said WesternU Senior Vice President and Provost David Baron, DO, MSEd. “His unwavering commitment to the success and well-being of his students, faculty and staff has been exceptional. As provost, I have enjoyed working with Steve. WesternU has been very fortunate to have him serve in senior leadership roles and leading his College in such fine fashion, especially during the challenging times created by the COVID pandemic. He exemplifies all that is good in academic leadership.”

Friedrichsen has served his profession admirably in numerous capacities for the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), the California Dental Association and the Idaho State Dental Association.  He is currently on the ADEA Board as Board Director for Deans and a member of the Council of Deans Administrative Board.

Friedrichsen expressed his appreciation for the opportunity WesternU afforded him in shaping the program during its crucial first decade.

“It has been both gratifying and fulfilling to work with an amazing team of faculty, staff, students and leaders in nurturing one of the most innovative and collegial dental schools in the nation,” Friedrichsen said.

He plans to spend quality time with family, travel and resurrect hobbies which for many years have taken a back seat to the challenges of educational leadership positions, as well as pursue a few professional projects of personal interest.