OU announced the appointment of Paul Mullasseril, a former OU College of Dentistry assistant dean for clinical and preclinical education as dean of the college in a news release last week.
Replacing former dean and current executive director of the American Dental Association Raymond Cohlmia, Harroz said Mullasseril’s experience as an educator, clinician and leader in organized dentistry makes him an “excellent choice to lead the college,” according to the release.
After serving as the director of OU Health Dentistry, Mullasseril said in an interview with The Daily he’s “up for the challenge” of filling the shoes of Cohlmia, who he said was a “dynamic” and “high-energy” dean.
Mullasseril was born in Mumbai, India and completed his dental education at the University of Bombay in 1988, according to the release. Mullasseril’s OU career began when he completed his post-doctoral training in maxillofacial prosthetics graduating in 1994.
Four years later, he joined the faculty in the Department of Removable Prosthetics at the OU College of Dentistry, and then served as the director of the Department of Maxillofacial Prosthetics from 2002 to 2008.
Though Mullasseril accepted a position at Eastern Washington University in Spokane, Washington in 2008, he said in the release he moved back to the OU College of Dentistry within a few years because “Oklahoma felt more like home.”
In 2011, Mullasseril was appointed chair of the Department of Restorative Dentistry and was named the director of faculty practice dental clinic a year later, according to the release. In 2015, he was named assistant dean for clinical and preclinical education and also holds the Connie and Herbert T. Shillingburg Professorship of Fixed Prosthodontics.
From 2020 to 2021, Mullasseril served as president of the Oklahoma Dental Association where he worked with legislators to develop legislation that will “benefit the oral health and well-being of the citizens of Oklahoma,” according to the release. In collaboration with the ODA and the Dale Graham Veterans Foundation in Norman, he also coordinated the first-ever clinic at the College of Dentistry to provide free dental treatment to select Oklahoma veterans in March.
The release states Mullasseril has also presented “dental-continuing education” nationally and internationally on the topics of removable prosthetics and implant dentistry.
As the upcoming dean, Mullasseril said in the release his goal is to expand access to high-quality dental care at an affordable cost to Oklahomans.
“I am very humbled and delighted to accept this role, as the OU College of Dentistry has had a significant impact upon my life and career,” Mullasseril said in the release. “I am looking forward to working with university leadership and the College of Dentistry’s outstanding faculty and staff as we remain committed to providing our students with a superior, hands-on clinical education, preparing them to excel as clinicians, patient advocates and leaders within the profession.”
In an interview, Mullasseril said he plans to frequently evaluate the College of Dentistry’s curriculum to ensure students are prepared for changes and new technology in dentistry.
“Our school has traditionally been known as one of the best clinical schools in the country,” Mullasseril said. “I want to make sure that we maintain that and grow some of the other areas that I’m looking at in terms of development.”
Mullasseril said he wants to ensure the College of Dentistry is the “torchbearer” of making sure oral health is available to everybody in Oklahoma, in an interview. He said the college is opening a dental clinic at OU-Tulsa, which is expected to launch in June 2022.
“It is my job to make sure that it's a successful venture so that we can then expand to other areas of the state that are lacking in terms of access to care and dental care for the population of Oklahoma,” Mullasseril said.