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Dr. Tom Boran

Dean, Faculty of Dentistry


Dr. Tom Boran has served as dean of Dalhousie’s Faculty of Dentistry since 2008, when he was appointed to a five-year term.  He was appointed to a second five-year term in 2013.

Dr. Boran has spent his entire academic career at Dalhousie, receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees from the university and teaching and conducting research as a faculty member.  Since becoming dean, Dr. Boran has worked to strengthen the Faculty of Dentistry’s academic offerings, research capacity and community outreach.

Read Dr. Boran's full profile

Dr. Tom Boran was appointed as dean of Dalhousie’s Faculty of Dentistry in 2008, but his relationship with the faculty and the university goes back much further.

Dr. Boran attended Dalhousie as an undergraduate before going on to receive his Doctor of Dental Surgery and Master of Education degrees from Dal. From there, he moved into his career as a member of Dal’s faculty and a dental practitioner.

According to Dr. Boran, his commitment to Dal grew out of the commitment the Faculty of Dentistry made to him in his own student days.

“I had a lot of great role models and I took all the bits and pieces from my research colleagues and the teaching faculty and clinical faculty and shaped my own academic career,” says Dr. Boran.

As dean, Dr. Boran has shaped the present and future of a faculty whose history dates back more than a century. One of his objectives has been to maintain and promote the faculty’s strengths in clinical dental education.

“From the day the doors opened in 1908, this faculty has been known for providing the best clinical dental education to our students,” he explains. “It’s a piece that has always been a cornerstone of the faculty and we’ve always wanted to make sure that we continue to hold that as a valuable piece.”

To that end, Dr. Boran has spearheaded robust strategic initiatives, collaborating with faculty members, students, staff and alumni to develop a new academic plan. The results of this exercise in innovation include a new general practice residency program, a new pediatric residency program, a new graduate program in periodontics and electronic curricula in Dentistry and Dental Hygiene. Looking ahead to his second five-year term after being reappointed in 2013, Dr. Boran is also planning to upgrade Dalhousie’s dental clinic facilities.

On the research side, Dr. Boran has led the Faculty of Dentistry into an era of more broad-based research, a strategic decision that has resulted in the quadrupling of research grants and contracts to roughly $4.5 million.

While building on the faculty’s academic strengths and boosting its research capabilities, Dr. Boran has also focused on helping communities by organizing successful fundraising drives – including one that involved rappelling down the side of Halifax’s tallest building. He has also overseen the extension of services provided by dental students and faculty into remote areas of Canada’s North and to underserved populations in the Halifax area.

“When I talk to graduating students, two of the things that we discuss are where they’re going to practice and what special or vulnerable population are they going to help,” says Dr. Boran.  “I thought, if we create that environment here in the school, they are more likely to continue giving back to the community when they graduate.”

Dr. Boran says the feedback he gets from students, graduates and patients reaffirms his commitment to making the Faculty of Dentistry a community-oriented organization.

“The letters I receive from patients to say 'thank you' mean so much. Do a lot of patients do that? No, but it only takes one. And those are the things you don’t forget.”

Quick facts

  • Received graduate degrees in Dentistry and Education from Dal
  • Led Dentistry to four wins in five years in the Dean's Challenge United Way fundraising competition
  • Rappelled down a Halifax high-rise to raise funds for Make-A-Wish Foundation