Skip to content Skip to navigation

Dr. Peter Polverini to discuss future of dentistry at Rackham lecture

Dr. Peter Polverini

Event celebrates Distinguished University Professorship

Ann Arbor, Mich., March 23, 2017 -- Dr. Peter J. Polverini will discuss “Reimagining the Future of Dental Practice” when he delivers his Distinguished University Professor lecture on Thursday, March 30, at the Rackham Graduate School.

A professor and former dean of the School of Dentistry, Polverini is the first dentistry faculty member to be named a Distinguished University Professor by the University of Michigan. His appointment was announced in May 2015. Professors who receive the honor offer an inaugural lecture during the first or second full year of their appointments.

Polverini said he will address how social, economic and technological changes already underway will continue to profoundly affect the healthcare system. “The future dental practitioner will place a much greater emphasis on assessing disease risk and disease prevention with much less of a focus on traditional restorative care,” he said. “New technologies and chairside devices will provide dentists with greater capabilities to predict the early onset of common systemic diseases such as diabetes. This approach to healthcare will minimize disease progression and facilitate earlier, more cost-effective treatments.”

The current move toward greater use of interdisciplinary teams of healthcare providers will continue to evolve. “By creating a collaborative learning and practice environment, the future dental practitioner will be empowered to focus more on managing their patient’s health rather than the current approach which focuses primarily on managing chronic disease,” he said.

Polverini is a professor of oral and maxillofacial pathology in the Division of Oral Pathology/Medicine/Radiology in the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine at the School of Dentistry. He is also a professor of pathology at the U-M Medical School.

Distinguished University Professorships were established in 1947 to recognize professors for exceptional scholarly or creative achievement, national and international reputation, and superior teaching skills. The professorship includes an annual salary supplement of $5,000 and an annual research supplement of $5,000.

In consultation with their dean, each professor chooses a name for the distinguished professorship. Polverini is the Jonathan Taft Distinguished University Professor in honor of the first dean of the School of Dentistry when it was founded in 1875.

Polverini’s lecture will be Thursday at 4 p.m. in the Amphitheatre on the second floor of the Rackham Graduate School. A reception will follow from 5-6 p.m. in the Assembly Hall.

Polverini and six other U-M professors who received the honor in 2015 or 2016 are delivering their lectures this year.

See a related article on The University Record website.


The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral health care education, research, patient care and community service.  General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the school to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan.  Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists, and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia and public agencies.  Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide.  For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at:

Contact:  Lynn Monson, associate director of communications, at, or (734) 615-1971.