Washington Pediatric Dentistry Alumni Association

a brief history of organized dentistry in washington

Members of our organization have a rich and innovative history in pediatric oral health care. From the founding of the School of Dentistry at the University of Washington in 1946 to advocating for the introduction of community water fluoridation in 1968, to the founding of the Washington State Pediatric Dentistry Alumni Association in 2020, we have supported pediatric dentistry and the practical application of expert research for over 80 years. The following timeline represents highlights in dental education, organization, and leadership. The timeline is not exhaustive: we invite your contributions as we remember our legacy and we will continue to add additional information as the WPDAA moves forward.



University of Washington School of Dentistry founded


Construction of the UW Health Science Complex begins to house the Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy. Classes begin this year.


Department of Pedodontics is founded with Dr. David B. Law as Chair.




In the early 1950s Dr. David B. Law established a post-graduate training program in pediatric dentistry at Northwestern University. Also a scientist, he made significant contributions to research and to scientific literature. Jointly with Drs. Thompson M. Lewis and John M. Davis, he co-authored An Atlas of Pedodontics, an acclaimed text-book that was translated into more than five languages.



Dr. Thompson Lewis (DDS ’54, MSD ’55) serves as Acting Chair while Dr. Law is on active duty in the army.


Dr. Thompson Lewis appointed Director of Children’s Dental Department at Children’s Orthopedic Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle. He continues in this capacity for 25 years.


The trustees of Children’s Orthopedic Hospital formally endorse an initiative to add fluoride to Seattle City Water and the measure passes with a solid majority. This is the first of many healthcare political endorsements from the hospital.

January 1, 1969

An Atlas of Pedodontics is published by Department members Drs. Thompson M. Lewis, John Marcell Davis, and David B. Law.

This becomes one of the formative textbooks of pediatric dentistry for the next three decades. It was translated into five languages.


Three-year combined program in pediatric dentistry and orthodontics.


Dr. Peter Domoto (MPH ’75) and pediatrician Dr. Blanche Lavizzo are tasked by the Board of Children’s Orthopedic to lead a neighborhood health clinic. Odessa Brown Community Clinic opens later that year.


Dr. Bertha Barriga (MSD ’71) joins the Department as a full-time faculty member. She continued until retirement in 2006.


Dr. John Peterson (MSD ’61) becomes Chair of the Department.

Mid 1970s

Department changes its name from the Department of Pedodontics to Department of Pediatric Dentistry.


Dr. John David (DDS ’61, MSD ’67) becomes Acting Chair of the Department.

Dr. Peter Domoto (MPH ’75) becomes Acting Chair of the Department.


Dr. Peter Domoto (MPH ’75) becomes Chair of the Department.



Children’s Orthopedic Hospital changes its name to Children’s Hospital and Medical Center.



Law-Lewis Lectureship established to honor Drs. David Law and Thompson Lewis.


Post-doctoral program in pediatric dentistry re-established at the University of Washington from Seattle Children’s Hospital by Drs. Pete Domoto and Penelope Leggott.


Dr. Pete Domoto sends DDS students to Yakima, WA on rotation as part of their pediatric dentistry predoctoral curriculum.

Mid 1990s

Access to Baby and Child Dentistry (ABCD) program launched in Spokane, WA by Drs. Pete Domoto and Peter Milgrom.


Early 2000s

An Atlas of Pediatric Dentistry is converted to electronic format. Dr. Devereaux Peterson who originally included color photos in the Atlas is instrumental in its online design.


Ms. Cheryl Shaul joins the Pediatric Dentistry Department part-time to manage grants. She becomes full-time with the Department in 2002.

A HRSA grant established the Interdisciplinary Children’s Oral Health Project(ICOP) led by Dr. Wendy Mouradian. It supported training family medicine residents and faculty in oral exams and fluoride varnish application in the WWAMI region. Funding continues until 2004.


Dr. Douglas Ramsey (PhD ’88, MSD ‘90) is appointed Acting Chair of the Department.

The Peter Domoto Fund is founded. Created to honor retired Chair, Dr. Pete Domoto, the fund has provided access to care for children who do not qualify for Washington’s Apple Health for Kids program, are uninsured or underinsured, and meet income guidelines.


Dr. Joel Berg becomes Chair of Pediatric Dentistry.


Center for Leadership Education in Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Washington is founded. It joined the University of Iowa and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to form a Tricenter coalition and was funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) through a Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) training grant. This was led by Drs. Colleen Huebner, Penelope Leggott, and Wendy Mouradian. Funding ended in 2011 with Drs. Jane Stieber (MSD/MPH ’14) and Kari Sims (MSD/MPH ‘14).

HRSA grant led by Dr. Wendy Mouradian established a dental facility at the Yakima Valley Farm Worker’s Clinic’s new Children’s Village site. Joint Yakima/UW postdoctoral pediatric dentistry program begins.


Dr. Joel Berg is interim Postdoctoral Program Director.


Dr. Rebecca Slayton is Postdoctoral Program Director.

First class of MSD/MPH dual-degree candidates graduate (Drs. Yoo-Lee Yea MSD/MPH ’10 and Joseph Kelly MSD/MPH ’10).



New HRSA extension grant (PEDX) led by Dr. Rebecca Slayton expands Yakima Valley Farm Worker postdoctoral pediatric dentistry training site.


Children’s Hospital and Medical Center changes its name to Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Joel Berg is interim Postdoctoral Program Director.



Dr. Joseph Kelly (MSD/MPH ’10) is Postdoctoral Program Director.



Law-Lewis Endowed Professorship established through generous contributions from alumni and retired faculty members and friends.

The Center for Pediatric Dentistry opens in Magnuson Park as a collaborative venture involving the UW Department of Pediatric Dentistry, Seattle Children’s, and the Washington Dental Service and its foundation.

Pediatric Rural Education Program (PREP) postdoctoral training track is established by a HRSA grant led by Dr. Ana Seminario (MPH ’12). Designed as an interprofessional track for rural health care, the program concludes in 2015.

Dr. Marcio da Fonseca is Postdoctoral Program Director.



Dr. Joel Berg named Dean of the University of Washington School of Dentistry; Dr. Ana Lucia Seminario (MPH ’12) is appointed Acting Chair of Pediatric Dentistry.

NYU Lutheran Program assumes the Yakima Valley Farmer Worker’s Dental Clinic; Drs. Dusty Janssen (MSD ’13) and Wai-Yin Chan (MSD ’13) are the last UW graduates in 2013.


Building Hope opens at Seattle Children’s Hospital with a larger emergency department (ED). Residents are able to do dental procedures in the new ED.

Dr. Rebecca Slayton becomes Chair of Pediatric Dentistry and interim Postdoctoral Program Director.

Dr. Elizabeth Velan (MSD ’08) is Postdoctoral Program Director.


Dr. Christy McKinney (PhD ’06) from the School of Dentistry partners with Seattle Children’s Hospital and PATH to develop the Neonatal Intuitive Feeding TechnologY (NIFTY) cup, a hand-held device that helps babies with orofacial clefting safely lap up milk.


UW is awarded the Predoctoral Early Childhood Oral Health Training Program (EChOTrain) grant from HRSA. It enhances pediatric dental training to future general dentists and dental hygienists, especially focused to teach interprofessional team skills necessary to provide culturally competent care for young children in rural and other underserved areas, with an emphasis on care of CSHCN, and population health and social determinants of health.

Dr. Thomas Dodson, oral surgeon named Acting Chair of Department.

Dr. Zheng Xu is interim Postdoctoral Program Director and becomes Postdoctoral Program Director in 2017.


Dr. Travis Nelson (MSD/MPH ’10) named Acting Chair of Department.



The Washington State Pediatric Dentistry Alumni Association founded with a mission to financially support pediatric dental trainees.

UW is awarded a HRSA grant named the Interprofessional Special Needs Access Network (I-SPAN). Led by Dr. Travis Nelson (MSD/MPH ’10) it supports postdoctoral pediatric dentistry trainees and interprofessional education.


Dr. Travis Nelson (MSD/MPH ’10) named interim Postdoctoral Program Director & Department Chair.