Bulletin of Dental Education

IUSD Mourns Passing of Dean Emeritus Dr. Ralph McDonald, Pioneer of Pediatric Dentistry

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Ralph McDonald IUSDThe Indiana University School of Dentistry (IUSD) joins the family of Ralph E. McDonald, D.D.S., M.S., L.L.D. (Hon.), in mourning his passing on Feb. 20. Considered by many to be a pioneer in pediatric dentistry, Dr. McDonald served with great distinction as Dean of the Indiana University School of Dentistry from 1968 to 1985.

An internationally renowned pediatric dental educator, Dr. McDonald was pivotal in developing what is now known as the Pediatric Dentistry Graduate Program in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. He authored or co-authored over 20 textbooks in addition to his many other published articles. Before and after his retirement, he was editor of the prestigious journal Pediatric Dentistry.

“Dean McDonald’s legacy and incredible contributions to the field of pediatric dentistry will live on through his residents and his groundbreaking textbook,” says IUSD Dean John N. Williams, D.M.D., M.B.A. “As Dean, he opened up access to dental care and improved the health of citizens around the state by developing the regional campuses.”

Born in Indianapolis, Dr. McDonald received three degrees from IU, a B.S., D.D.S. and M.S. During his years as Dean, the dental school’s teaching and research facilities greatly expanded. Groundbreaking for the second addition to the building took place in the early 1970s, and the school doubled in size. Dental hygiene, dental assisting and dental laboratory technology programs were added to the regional campuses. He promoted a flexible curriculum that allowed dental students to gain clinical experience before their third year.

After retirement, Dr. McDonald continued as editor of Pediatric Dentistry for a number of years, and until recently, remained  co-author of the textbook Dentistry for the Child and Adolescent, which he created and originally published in 1963 as the textbook Pedodontics

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