Dr. Jill Keaton named dean of Tanner College of Dental Medicine

Jill E. Keaton, DMD, MS, associate dean of clinical affairs at the University of Pikeville (UPIKE), has been named the new dean of the Tanner College of Dental Medicine (TCDM). Keaton served the eastern Kentucky area for nearly three decades in roles of increasing leadership responsibility, including private dental practice and providing specialty care to patients by owning and operating The Center for TMJ Disorders in Pikeville, Ky.

UPIKE President Burton Webb, Ph.D., announced that Keaton will begin her new role on November 4, 2023. 

“We are delighted to have Dr. Keaton leading the Tanner College of Dental Medicine. Her strong leadership experience, passion for dental education, and commitment to advancing oral healthcare, particularly to underserved communities, makes her the ideal leader,” said Webb. “We are confident that her leadership will help to elevate the school’s mission regionally while also advancing key community outreach and service goals.”

Keaton has a long and proven record of success and a well-established portfolio. Prior to her position at TCDM, she served as the coordinator for Big Sandy Community & Technical College dental hygiene, dental assisting and community dental health programs. She was one of 29 individuals selected nationally as the recipient of the 2022 Dale P. Parnell Distinguished Faculty Award from the American Association of Community Colleges.

Since joining TCDM in February 2023 as associate dean of clinical affairs, Keaton has worked to prepare the application for initial accreditation of the dental school with the Commission on Dental Accreditation. She also collaborated with the architectural team to design the dental school, formed partnerships with area stakeholders for external rotations, and networked with other dental school educators to learn more about the changing landscape in dental education with new technology and teaching methodology.

Passionate about dental education, Keaton believes that TCDM will have a tremendous impact on the region by incorporating highly developed technology with a robust curriculum that will provide dental students with a top-notch education. 

“It is my honor and privilege to now serve as dean of the TCDM,” said Keaton. “I am thrilled to continue to contribute to creating a state-of-the-art dental school that will provide students with a quality education close to home.”

“UPIKE is forever indebted to the first dean of the dental school, Pamela Sparks-Stein, DMD, MPH, whose vision, brilliance and compassion for underserved people have laid a firm foundation for the success of the Tanner School of Dental Medicine,” said Provost Lori Werth, Ph.D.