First in the Nation

Eighty Years of Graduate Dental Public Health Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1936-2016

By Richard Gary Rozier, DDS, MPH

First in the Nation

328 pp., 6 x 9, 34 figs., 8 tables, appends., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-7302-8
    Published: April 2023

Paperback Available April 2023, but pre-order your copy today!

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Distributed for UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health

Since its early teaching activity in 1936, the North Carolina Dental Public Health program has had an outstanding 80-year history that is summarized into five themes. It has served as a key resource for training the dentists in public health, which has benefited the state of North Carolina.  It has provided the science base for improving oral health with new prevention technologies. The program has advanced public health practice and collaborations with state and federal agencies, and it has maintained a robust research program that developed methods for solving population-based problems. Finally, it has offered a comprehensive teaching program that supported the knowledge base for the MPH program and research methods for PhD students in epidemiology and health services research.

The UNC research focus on early childhood caries reversed the increase observed in statewide surveys, and its prevention methods have been adopted nationally. Rozier also documents the first courses in dental public health which provided definitions and direction for the specialty.

Oral diseases are largely preventable, but they affect more than three billion people worldwide. First in the Nation is elegantly convincing in its message—that a major health sciences campus without a comprehensive Dental Public Health academic program is intellectually devoid of part of its purpose for being.


“This book accurately documents UNC’s First in the Nation leadership in Dental Public Health training.”—Chester Douglass, DMD Temple University, PhD University of Michigan; former Director of Dental Public Health at Harvard University.

“The oral health of the people of North Carolina and the world has benefited from the UNC dental public health program. The research conducted has provided the scientific evidence to advance and guide public programs, dental practice and health policies.”—Jane A. Weintraub, DDS, MPH; President, American Association for Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Research; Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Adams School of Dentistry

“Thanks to the leadership of Jim Bawden and the research excellence of Gary Rozier at UNC-Chapel Hill, a coalition of primary care physicians, dental care professionals and state government (Medicaid) implemented Into the Mouth of Babes — a state initiative to address the oral health needs of low-income children.”—Dave Tayloe, Jr., MD, FAAP; Former President of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the NC Pediatric Society