Dr. Ralph DeLong earned his Ph.D. in physics (1974), his D.D.S. (1978), and his M.S. in fixed and removable prosthodontics (1981), all from the University of Minnesota. He then became a professor within the School of Dentistry. He served as chair of the Department of Restorative Sciences from 1992 to 1997 and then interim chair from 2003 onward. Since 2004, he has served as director of the Minnesota Dental Research Center for Biomaterials and Biomechanics.
Ralph DeLong begins his interview by describing his choices regarding his education and early career. He discusses his time in the University of Minnesota’s Dental School, his decisions regarding dental research and practice; his master’s research; the building of the artificial mouth; the development of AnSur software; and the creation of the virtual dental patient; and the development of ART 5. The interview then turns toward teaching and administration within the school, particularly touching on the teaching of evidence-based dentistry; student-friendly teaching; retrenchment within the Dental School and the University more broadly; and lobbying the Legislature. He then describes the following: relations among departments within the Dental School; relations among different schools and colleges within the AHC; the tenures of Richard Oliver and Richard Elzay as deans; the threatened closure of the Dental School; his time on the Institutional Effectiveness Committee; efforts within the School to admit more minority students; the impact of the Rajender Consent Decree; Michael Till’s tenure as dean; and his time with professional organizations. He concludes his interview with his thoughts on the future of dentistry and leadership in the AHC.
Ralph DeLong earned his bachelor’s in physics and mathematics from the University of Nebraska in 1966. He earned his Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics at the University of Minnesota in 1974. Dr. DeLong then graduated from the University’s Dental School in 1978 and earned his master’s in fixed and removable prosthodontics in 1981. He became involved in Dr. William Douglas’s work on the artificial mouth, took a job in the lab, and became a professor within the Dental School. The lab’s work led to the creation of the Minnesota Dental Research Center for Biomaterials and Biomechanics (MDRCBB). His research has included his work on the development on several iterations of the artificial mouth, AnSur software, and the virtual dental patient. He served as chair of Department of Restorative Sciences from 1992 to 1997 and then interim chair from 2003 onward. In 2004, Dr. DeLong became director of the MDRCBB. He continues to serve on the faculty of the Dental School.