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Week of September 20, 2010


Christine Klausner

Christine Klausner, a clinical associate professor of dentistry in the Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, died Sept. 5. She was 60.

A member of the POM faculty since 1997, Klausner earned a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene from the School of Dentistry in 1972 and a master’s degree from U-M the following year. She also was a member of the Lansing Community College dental hygiene faculty.

Klausner’s primary responsibility was coordinating the entry-level dental hygiene preclinic curriculum and directing the course for second-year dental hygiene students that prepared them to administer patient care. She also taught in the School’s E-Learning (online) Degree Completion Program, the Internationally Trained Dentist Program, the periodontal foundation courses to dental students, and was course director for dental hygiene biomaterials. Her research focused on educational methods, genetics and diabetes.

Klausner was an active member in the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and the American Dental Education Association, served on the American Dental Association’s National Board Test Construction Review Committee, and was an examiner for the registered dental assistant licensing examination with the State Board of Dentistry.

“We all remember Chris for her spontaneous smile, positive attitude and compassion for others,” says Wendy Kerschbaum, director of the dental hygiene program. “Her commitment to dental hygiene and to students was recognized by everyone who knew her.”

During this spring’s Relay for Life at the U-M campus, members of the dental hygiene Class of 2012 wore special T-shirts that read “Team Klausner.” They wore the same T-shirt to class last week after learning of her death. The photo shows the message that was included with the luminary during the event.

Klausner was one of 52 licensed dental hygienists from the United States invited by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association and the People to People Citizens Ambassador Program to travel to Russia and Poland during the summer of 2007. The delegation discussed U.S. dental hygiene practices with colleagues in health ministries, colleges and universities, public clinics and private clinics in the two countries.

“I saw some major differences in how the professions of dental hygiene in particular and dentistry in general are practiced there, compared to this country,” she said in a story that appeared in the School of Dentistry’s alumni magazine, DentalUM, published in the spring of 2008. “In those two countries, it seems to me that dental hygiene is still in its infancy … so it was an exciting opportunity for me and others to share our knowledge with oral health care professionals from that part of the world.”

Lisa Dodge, POM student administration assistant, says, “Chris was a gift to everyone and we will miss her very much.” Klausner is survived by her husband, Leo (DDS 1974, MS, restorative dentistry, 1978), her two sons and their wives, Kyle and Courtney, and Kent and Kat, and three grandchildren.



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