Noted Cancer Researcher No-Hee Park Named Dean of UCLA School of Dentistry

Posted on: Monday, 07/20/1998

The University of California Board of Regents on July 17 approved the appointment of No-Hee Park, D.M.D., Ph.D., as dean of the UCLA School of Dentistry.

"During his distinguished 28-year career, Dr. No-Hee Park has earned a reputation as one of the world's finest oral-cancer scientists," stated Chancellor Albert Carnesale. "Since joining UCLA in 1984, he has also built a thriving clinical practice at the UCLA Faculty Group Dental Practice and become a well-respected teacher to UCLA students earning their Ph.D., master's and dental degrees."

Park's appointment took effect July 1. He succeeds Dr. Wyatt R. Hume, who left the School of Dentistry this summer to assume the post of UCLA executive vice chancellor. Park, 54, will lead the dental school for the remainder of Hume's five-year term, which began in November 1996.

"I am confident that the UCLA School of Dentistry will continue to flourish under Dr. Park's leadership and expand its strength in research, teaching and patient care," said Hume. "I thank the dental school's faculty and staff for their collegial work during this transition."

"I look forward to building upon the strong work of Dr. Hume," said Park. "My challenge will be to maintain the momentum for improvement in the School of Dentistry's predoctoral curriculum, physical facilities, capital campaign and research programs."

Park has led the dental school's scientific mission as director of the Dental Research Institute, associate dean of research and professor of oral biology. In the past 14 years, he has attracted nearly $10.6 million in research awards, the most prodigious amount of funding in the School of Dentistry's history, including four active grants from the National Institute of Dental Research and four more pending. His investigative work focuses on the relationship between the herpes simplex and human papilloma viruses, chemical carcinogens and cancer.

Expanding the role of research at the School of Dentistry is one of Park's key goals. "I plan to increase the number of research faculty in every aspect of our teaching programs," he said. "This will include an enhanced focus on clinical and translational research, as well as the study of health services outcomes, oral health-related behavior and technology transfer."

A practicing periodontist for more than 20 years at UCLA and Harvard, Park plans to improve the UCLA Dental Center, where dental students and specialty residents gain hands-on experience under faculty supervision. "I want the school to strengthen its management expertise in operating the student clinic," said Park. "Our mission of patient care must attain the same level of importance as our missions for education and research."

Other goals include refocusing the curriculum to emphasize more clinical problem-solving and scientific application, recruiting the nation's top students by offering more scholarships and combined degree programs, and broadening the school's ties to the School of Medicine to establish clinical, research and educational collaborations throughout the health sciences.

An active leader at UCLA's Center for Health Sciences, Park directs the UCLA/King-Drew Regional Research Center for Minority Oral Health; the UCLA Wound-Healing Research Center, in partnership with the UCLA Department of Surgery; and the Center for Fundamental Clinical Research Training, which teaches Ph.D. candidates how to do research.

"No-Hee Park is an outstanding colleague who has made numerous important contributions to the Jonsson Cancer Center," praised Dr. Judith Gasson, director of UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, where Park is a member. "He has developed a model system to study the way in which oral cancers form. In addition, No-Hee has recruited several outstanding young researchers to UCLA's Dental Research Institute and Jonsson Cancer Center."

"No-Hee Park will make an excellent dean," agreed Dr. Irvin Chen, director of the UCLA AIDS Institute. "The School of Dentistry requires a strong leader with a research vision; No-Hee will provide that leadership as the school moves into the 21st century."

Born in Korea, Park graduated summa cum laude from Seoul National University with a doctorate of dental surgery in 1968. Park served for three years as captain of the Army of the Republic of Korea, then moved to the United States to further his education. He received his Ph.D. in pharmacology from the Medical College of Georgia in 1978 and earned his doctorate in dental medicine from Harvard University in 1982. Before joining UCLA in 1984, Park taught at Harvard's departments of ophthalmology, oral biology and pathophysiology.

Park is a charter member of the National Institute of Dental Research's grant review committee and an editorial board member for the International Journal of Oncology, Journal of Dental Research and the British Journal of Cancer Research. He is the founding editor of the International Journal of Oral Biology. Park is a member of the American Association for Dental Schools, International Association of Dental Research, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Society for Microbiology, New York Academy of Science and American Association for Cancer Research.

Park and his wife, Yu Bai, a retired fashion designer, live in Calabasas. Their daughter, Jennifer, is an attorney in private practice in San Francisco.