Gary H. Westerman, D.D.S.’69, professor and chair of Creighton University’s School of Dentistry’s Department of Community and Preventive Dentistry, a faculty associate in the Center for Health Policy and Ethics and a faculty member in the School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics, has been named the Dr. Philip Maschka Chair for Ethics in Dentistry.
The chair was established to further enhance the ethics component of the School of Dentistry’s curriculum and integrate ethical considerations within the University’s clinical educational programs.
“I am honored to be chosen to serve as the first endowed chair in dental ethics. I will seek to advance the understanding of values, patient rights and professional duties that guide the clinic practice of dentistry and health care throughout our teaching. I am fortunate that my efforts align with the University’s mission of educational excellence, innovation and ethical, patient-oriented decision making based upon the Jesuit, Catholic tradition of commitment to serve those most in need,” said Westerman.
Westerman has been a member of the faculty for more than 38 years and maintains a private practice in Omaha. His present academic duties include the coordination of community and preventive dentistry activities for the School of Dentistry. He is widely known for his research, teaching and involvement with professional dental organizations.
Westerman completed his undergraduate studies at Gonzaga University in 1966, his dental degree at Creighton University in 1969, and a master’s in pediatric dentistry at the University of Iowa in 1973. He served as a captain in the U. S. Army Dental Corps from 1969 to 1971.
Establishing the chair are long-time Creighton supporters Philip Maschka, D.D.S.’ 53, and his wife, Ruthann O’Neill Maschka, BS’48. The couple established the chair to ensure Creighton dental students are taught ethical behavior that puts the needs and rights of patients at the forefront of dental practice. They also created the Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality on campus and actively support the Creighton Retreat Center.
Maschka taught at the Creighton School of Dentistry for more than 10 years and received the School’s Alumni Merit Award in 1989. He practiced orthodontia in Omaha for more than 23 years.