Dr. Fernando Neves Hugo Named Chair, Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion

January 29, 2024

Fernando Neves Hugo, DDS, MSc, PhD, a dentist and internationally known dental public health researcher and educator, has been named chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion at the New York University College of Dentistry (NYU Dentistry), effective April 1, 2024.

Currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Preventive and Social Dentistry at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) Faculty of Dentistry in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Dr. Hugo has collaborated with research institutions and dental schools around the world, applying epidemiologic and big data methods to study global oral health, social determinants of oral health, oral and oropharyngeal cancer, and the relationship between nutrition and oral diseases.

Dr. Hugo earned a DDS degree from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul Faculty of Dentistry in 1999, a MSc in Gerontology from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul in 2002, and a PhD with an emphasis in Public Health Dentistry from the State University of Campinas Faculty of Dentistry in 2008. He focused his early dental clinical practice on geriatric patients and bedside dental care, working collaboratively on interprofessional teams dedicated to the integration of oral health care and primary care. 

In 2008, Dr. Hugo joined the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul Faculty of Dentistry as Assistant Professor, where he held teaching responsibilities for both undergraduate and graduate students in Dental Public Health and Community Dentistry and was involved with course planning, coordination of extramural dental education, academic leadership, administration, and research. He supervised numerous MPH and PhD students working on global oral health, e-oral health applied to dental public health, and the application of artificial intelligence to dental public health for diagnostics, teletriage, and telemonitoring applied to oral health. During his tenure at UFRGS, between 2010 and 2018, Dr. Hugo also served as the Director of its Social Dentistry Research Center.

From 2011 to 2016, Dr. Hugo worked as a consultant for the Brazilian Ministry of Health Department of Primary Care, as one of two dentists on a team with primary care providers in the formulation and implementation of a nationwide program to improve access and quality of care. In this role, he led a group of more than 25 researchers who evaluated approximately 1,000 primary care teams. He also served as the coordinator for the South Brazilian region for the Program of Improvement of Access and Quality of the Specialized Dental Clinics from 2013 to 2019, coordinating a team of researchers in the evaluation of dental clinics and leading faculty who developed and delivered continuing education programs for dentists in the region.

Dr. Hugo served as Senior Visiting Professor at the University of Washington, working on the Global Burden of Diseases Study at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation from 2019 to 2020. Earlier in his career, he also served as a visiting researcher at the University of Illinois College of Dentistry (2006-2007) and at the Intramural Research Program of the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, Epidemiology Section, National Institutes on Aging, in Baltimore (2005). Over the past decade, he has developed an extensive global network of research collaborations with institutions that include the University of Talca School of Dentistry (Chile), University of British Columbia (Canada), University of Melbourne (Australia), University of the Western Cape (South Africa), and the National Institutes on Aging, University of Maryland (US), among others.

Dr. Hugo has published more than 180 papers in peer reviewed journals and currently serves as Associate Editor of Oral Diseases and serves on the editorial boards of Gerodontology and the International Dental Journal. He frequently serves as a reviewer for many dental and public health journals, and is a member of the International Association of Dental Research (IADR), where he is a founding member and immediate past-president of the e-Oral Health Network.

Most recently, Dr. Hugo has been appointed the Coordinator of the Geriatric Oral Health Research Group of the Latin American Division of IADR, where he works on a collaborative, multi-country training program on clinical and epidemiological research methods for geriatric research for the Latin American region. Under his leadership, the group is fostering the development of research skills in some 12 countries.

“Dr. Hugo’s demonstrated leadership, research, mentorship, and global perspective in dental public health, along with his outstanding collaborative approach, make him uniquely qualified to lead the Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion,” said Dr. Charles N. Bertolami, Herman Robert Fox Dean of NYU Dentistry. "I am confident that he is the right person to build on the excellence of this department as it seeks to address oral health disparities and improve the overall health of people in the U.S. and globally."