October 2, 2015

New Department Chair Bridges Effort Between Medicine and Dentistry

Brent B. Ward, D.D.S., M.D., who leads clinical and research efforts to advance oral/head and neck cancer treatment and microvascular reconstructive procedures, will now lead the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery/Hospital Dentistry in the School of Dentistry in his new role as chair.

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Brent B. Ward, D.D.S., M.D., who leads clinical and research efforts to advance oral/head and neck cancer treatment and microvascular reconstructive procedures, will now lead the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery/Hospital Dentistry in the School of Dentistry in his new role as chair.

Interim chair since January 2015, Ward “has received overwhelming support for this appointment from alumni and faculty colleagues in dentistry, the Medical School and from across the country,” says Laurie McCauley, D.D.S., Ph.D., Dean of the U-M School of Dentistry.

Ward, who graduated from the U-M Medical School in 2001, was the first resident in a new program that combined the strengths of medical and dental education as well as residency in oral and maxillofacial surgery with a significant emphasis in general surgery training. He subsequently completed his fellowship at the U-M Health System, joining the faculty in 2003. With research interests and responsibilities that span two fields, Ward is an associate professor of dentistry, Department of Surgery section head and clinical lecturer in oral and maxillofacial surgery/hospital dentistry, as well as program director of the Oral/Head and Neck Oncology and Microvascular Reconstructive Surgery fellowship. His clinical practice is focused on the treatment of cancer and pre-cancer, as well as minor and major reconstruction of the structures of the face and jaws.

Ward’s research efforts, which also lie in the treatment of oral and oropharyngeal cancer in the head and neck, have resulted in vital external funding to the university community. He has been a funded researcher in drug delivery, and he leads a national effort to collect oral, head and neck cancer data.

As a member of U-M’s Nanotechnology Institute for Medicine and the Biological Sciences, Ward’s “combined expertise as a surgeon and a scientist were critical both to research in targeted chemotherapy for diseases including head and neck cancer and for pain management strategies with physiologic triggers for safety in battlefield applications,” McCauley says.

Known for his passion and dedication to education and teaching, Ward instructs pre-doctoral dental students, dental hygiene students, medical students, residents and fellows. He is a member of the committee on Residency Education and Training in the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, or AAOMS. He is also a member of several professional societies where he has previously assumed leadership roles including president of the Detroit Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, chair of the pathology and reconstruction clinical interest group for the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and co-chair of the Oncology Research Interest Group in the International Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, or IAOMS. He currently is president of the American Academy of Craniomaxillofacial Surgery, member of the Faculty Section Executive Committee and Oncology research interest group chair both in AAOMS. Ward is also co-director for the clinical trials methods courses sponsored nationally by AAOMS and IAOMS.

He will continue his focus on cancer, pathology and reconstruction that has helped patients, many from underserved populations, who come to the University of Michigan, sometimes from across the country, to seek his care for medically complex conditions.

The School of Dentistry contributed to this report

Dr. Ward

Brent B. Ward, DDS, MD

Section Head, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery/Hospital Dentistry
Associate Professor, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery/Hospital Dentistry
Director, Oncology Fellowship Program