In Memoriam: Dr. Jay Gershen

Posted on: Tuesday, 11/17/2020

Jay Gershen

Photo credit: NEOMED

Former acting dean and faculty member, Dr. Jay Gershen, passed away on November 12, of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at his home in Colorado. He was 74 years old.

Dr. Gershen had a successful 43-year career in higher education, including a decade as president of Northeast Ohio Medical University before retiring in 2019.  Prior to that role, he spent 12 years at the University of Colorado at Denver in executive positions, including playing a key role in consolidating the University of Colorado at Denver and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. However, the majority of Dr. Gershen’s career was spent at the UCLA School of Dentistry where he was a full-time faculty member from 1976-1997. He directed the UCLA Mobile Dental Clinic, serving children of migrant workers in rural California until 1982, when he was awarded a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowship to work on health policy issues and legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. At UCLA, he served as Chair of Public Health Dentistry and later as Acting Dean from 1995 to 1996.  Notably, he was the first dental dean in the nation to gain Graduate Medical Education (GME) support funds for all of the postdoctoral programs in the school.

Dr. Gershen earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo and a dental degree from the University of Maryland. He completed both a clinical specialty in pediatric dentistry and a PhD in education at UCLA. He also served as a postdoctoral scholar in child psychiatry at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute.

Dr. Gershen believed healthcare to be a right, not a privilege, and that everyone should have the right to health care, regardless of their means. He also believed education is the path to individual prosperity and economic vitality.

We know that many members of our community had the good fortune to work with Dr. Gershen who had a major impact on our school and other places of learning.

Our sincerest condolences to his family and loved ones.