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NSU College of Dental Medicine Dean Among Nation’s 32 Most Influential People in Dentistry


Linda Niessen headshot

Linda Niessen, D.M.D., M.P.H., M.P.P.

FORT LAUDERDALE-DAVIE, Fla. Incisal Edge, the leading lifestyle magazine for dental professionals, recently named Linda Niessen, D.M.D., M.P.H., M.P.P., dean of the Nova Southeastern University (NSU) College of Dental Medicine, No. 22 on a list of the 32 Most Influential People in Dentistry in the nation.

This is the first time the magazine has formally recognized leaders in the dental industry. According to Chuck Cohen, Incisal Edge’s founder, the publication launched the rankings to shine a light on 32 “voices” – one for every tooth – of some of the nation’s most innovative and interesting people who stand out in the industry. Among the honorees, only 12, including Dr. Niessen, are actually dentists. One key metric was the individual’s “size of voice” or how much influence he or she has through speaking, writing or research activities.

The complete list of honorees appears in the January 2017 edition of Incisal Edge.

“It is a very pleasant surprise as well as a great honor to be recognized among leaders of this caliber,” said Dr. Niessen. Under the Dean’s direction, the College continues to earn accolades. Most recently, NSU’s Smiles Across Miami program received a $20,000 grant from the Florida Blue Foundation for efforts to bring quality oral health services to underserved and primarily uninsured children in Miami-Dade County. NSU also served as the national launch site for the American Dental Association Foundation’s Give Kids A Smile Day, a prestigious honor awarded to a program that exemplifies community service.

Dr. Niessen joined NSU in October 2013. She previously served as chief clinical officer for a global dental manufacturing company and tenured professor at Texas A&M University’s Baylor College of Dentistry. Her research interests include geriatric oral research and education, epidemiology of oral diseases in older adults, and oral health public policy.

Among her professional achievements, Dr. Niessen was elected to a three-year term as a council delegate representing the Dentistry and Oral Health Sciences Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She is also a member on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Advisory Committee on Training in Primary Care Medicine and Dentistry, a position to which she was appointed by former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Dr. Niessen received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry (Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of New Mexico and her Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD cum laude), Master’s in Public Health (MPH) and Master’s in Public Policy (MPP), all from Harvard University.

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About NSU College of Dental Medicine: Students of the college benefit from state-of-the-art educational and clinical facilities, which feature the latest in computer and video technology, and from our distinguished professors, recruited from throughout the United States. The college’s facilities, faculty, and dynamic curriculum have attracted worldwide attention. Students and professionals come from diverse backgrounds to pursue their courses of study at the college. For more information, please visit

About Nova Southeastern University (NSU): Located in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a dynamic research institution dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and first-professional degree levels. A private, not-for-profit institution, NSU has campuses in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach, and Tampa, Florida, as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico, while maintaining a presence online globally. For more than 50 years, NSU has been awarding degrees in a wide range of fields, while fostering groundbreaking research and an impactful commitment to community. Classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, NSU is 1 of only 50 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification, and is also the largest private, not-for-profit institution in the United States that meets the U.S. Department of Education’s criteria as a Hispanic-serving Institution. Please visit for more information about NSU and for more information on the largest fundraising campaign in NSU history.


January 20, 2017

Media Contact:
Marla Oxenhandler | Office of Public Affairs
954-262-5315 (office)|954-770-9204 (cell)