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Biologic and Materials Sciences & Prosthodontics

Faculty Profile - Robinson

Emerson Robinson, DDS, MPH

Biologic & Materials Sciences
Professor Emeritus

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Dr. Emerson Robinson, professor of dentistry in the School of Dentistry, retired from active faculty status on May 31, 2003.

Dr. Robinson received his D.D.S. degree in 1966 from Meharry Medical College and his M.P.H. degree in 1970 from the School of Public Health, University of Michigan. He is also a diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine. He joined the faculty of the University of Michigan as assistant professor in 1971, promoted to associate professor in 1974, and to professor in 1978. He held additional appointments in the School of Public Health as assistant professor (1971-78), associate professor (1978-80), and professor from 1980 to 1998. During his tenure at the School of Dentistry he served as acting department chair of community dentistry from 1976 to 1977 and interim director of minority affairs from May, 1997 through June, 1999.

He has been a strong participant in the department’s didactic and clinical instruction for undergraduate, predoctoral and graduate students, as well as through the department’s continuing dental education programs. His area of research interest initially had a community dentistry focus, i.e. community practice and services offered. He then published in the area of prosthodontics, and most recently he has turned his research focus to the area of sleep apnea. His service contributions for the School of Dentistry have been numerous; he served as a member of several committees. These have included the Admissions Committee, Appointments, Promotions, and Tenure Committee, Executive Committee, Nominations and Elections Committee, Multicultural Initiatives Committee, and several search committees for faculty or administrative positions. At the University level, he served as a member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Minority Affairs, the Martin Luther King Symposium Committee, the Martin Luther King Steering Committee, and the Student Achievement Awards Committee.

Dr. Robinson is a member of the National Dental Association, the American Public Health Association, the American Association of Dental Schools, and the Sleep Disorders Dental Society. He is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and a diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. He served as a member of the Washtenaw District Dental Society’s Community Dental Care Committee and on the Action Board of the American Public Health Association. He has been a member of Omicron Kappa Upsilon honorary dental society since 1982. For his distinguished contribution to diversity matters in the School of Dentistry, Dr. Robinson received the Ida Gray Award in 2000. He was additionally recognized for his involvement in diversity issues as the recipient of the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Award in the same year.

The Regents salute this distinguished health sciences educator by naming Emerson Robinson Professor Emeritus of Dentistry.

Although officially retired, Dr. Robinson has remained an active faculty member working in the VIC clinics as well as treating his sleep apnea patients. 

During the past few years, Dr. Robinson has been involved with the Multidisciplinary Alternative Sleep Disorders Clinic at the U-M Hospital. Patients diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and prescribed the "gold standard" for treatment, nasal continuous positive air pressure (CPAP), but are unable to tolerate this treatment, are seen at this clinic. 

Dr. Robinson's role includes treating and managing patients who have obsturctive sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. After diagnosing a patient's problem and obtaining a physician's referral, an intraoral appliance is constructed to help open the patient's airway.

Sleep medicine and managing patients diagnosed with a sleep disorder is an expanding subject of investigation. As awareness of the condition increases, dentists with appropriate training will be included as a part of the health care team that helps affected patients improve their quality of life. (DentalUM Spring & Summer 2001 p45)