Newswise — A UIC professor and associate dean has been appointed as co-chair of the Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professional Education.

The forum is an ongoing activity of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that seeks to advance education for health professionals by bringing together stakeholders from multiple nations and professions in workshops and forums each year. As co-chair, Caswell Evans will help to provide insight and oversight of the forum’s annual workshops and meetings.

“I am quite honored and excited to work with the forum in this capacity,” said Evans, professor and associate dean of prevention and public health sciences in the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry.

“I particularly look forward to working with this group of health care professionals to broaden the conversation around oral health care and to help illuminate a path forward for ensuring that we are educating future health professionals in a way that is effective, responsible and relevant to today’s challenges and tomorrow’s issues,” Evans said.

Nine countries and 19 health care disciplines are currently represented in the forum, which was convened for the first time in 2012. Evans said his experience working at UIC, where he has worked since 2004, gives him a unique perspective to bring to this diverse group of international experts.

“UIC is one of the few dental schools that provide students with exposure to the important issues of health disparities and access to care,” Evans said.

In his view, health professionals are the “guardians of health for all populations,” and as the forum seeks to advance how health professionals are educated, this needs to be top of mind.

UIC Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs Dr. Robert Barish joins Dr. Clark Stanford, dean of the College of Dentistry, in applauding Evans for this achievement.

“I congratulate Dr. Evans on this opportunity and am very proud to see UIC represented in this highly respected forum,” Barish said.

“Dr. Evans’ appointment to this forum is evidence of his rich and impressive background in education, dentistry and public health,” Stanford said.

Prior to joining UIC, Evans worked for the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General as project director and scientific editor for “Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General.” He was also director of public health programs and services for the Los Angeles County  Department of Public Health and served as faculty at Howard University, the University of California, the University of Washington and the University of North Carolina.

Currently, Evans also serves as a faculty member in the UIC School of Public Health, on the Chicago Board of Health, and on the boards of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago and the Children’s Dental Health Project.

As co-chair, Evans will serve a three-year term, alongside Deborah Powell, of the University of Minnesota.