Stephen Pachuta, DDS, a retired United States Navy rear admiral and former chief of the US Navy Dental Corps, has been appointed dean of the West Virginia University (WVU) School of Dentistry.
Pachuta joins WVU after 32 years in the Navy, where he served as executive officer or commander of multiple Navy medical and dental treatment facilities in the United States, Guam, and Japan. He earned his DDS from WVU in 1985.
“We are so thrilled to welcome back a Mountaineer to the WVU family,” said Clay Marsh, MD, vice president and executive dean for WVU Health Sciences.
“Dr. Pachuta brings world-class experience and leadership in healthcare administration and operations, which will be an enormous asset to the School of Dentistry as we continue to grow our services and expand our expertise in areas that will benefit West Virginia and the surrounding region,” Marsh said.
Pachuta will assume his new position on June 1 and join Marsh’s senior leadership team at WVU Health Sciences.
Pachuta is an experienced healthcare executive with significant background in leading large and diverse healthcare organizations, WVU said. His areas of focus include executive, organizational, and strategic leadership and healthcare operations.
“I am extremely humbled by the selection and incredibly excited with the opportunity to join the amazing team of professionals at WVU,” Pachuta said.
“Our students, faculty, and staff are superstars and are the future of the dental profession. I look forward to serving alongside each, as we prepare the next generation of healthcare providers to meet the needs of our West Virginia families,” Pachuta said.
“I feel the last 35 years were all in preparation for this wonderful opportunity,” he continued. “Returning to WVU is coming home. Let’s go Mountaineers!”
As a naval Flag officer, Pachuta served as director for health services, Headquarters Marine Corps and medical officer to the US Marine Corps; director for medical resources, plans, and policy, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations; and chief, Navy Dental Corps.
Prior to his selection as a Flag officer, Pachuta served as the executive assistant and senior policy advisor to the 37th Surgeon General of the Navy and commanded the US Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan.
Also, Pachuta has held academic appointments at the Naval Postgraduate Dental School of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Pachuta is board certified by the American Board of General Dentistry and is a fellow in the International College of Dentists and the American College of Dentists. He currently serves on the Board of Regents of the American College of Dentists.
In May of 2020, Pachuta served as a judge for the Naval Postgraduate Dental School, International College of Dentists, Annual Research Award Symposium evaluating 21 resident research presentations.
Pachuta succeeds Anthony “Tom” Borgia, DDS, who retired in 2020, and Fotinos Panagakos, DMD, who has served as interim dean since July 1, 2020.
Marsh is grateful for Panagakos’ leadership during the transition and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Dr. Panagakos recognizes the important relationship the School of Dentistry holds with the community and the commitment we have to providing preventive oral health services to our state’s citizens,” Marsh said. “His guidance and leadership through the pandemic have been essential.”