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Faculty member Dr. Todd Ester appointed Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion3 min read

September 1, 2023

Faculty member Dr. Todd Ester appointed Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion3 min read

Ann Arbor, Mich., Sept. 1, 2023 – Faculty member Dr. Todd Ester has been appointed Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at the School of Dentistry, effective Sept. 1.

Dean Jacques Nör, with the support of the School of Dentistry Executive Committee, made the announcement. The appointment, for a term of five years, was approved by the University of Michigan Board of Regents at its July meeting. Also effective this month, Dr. Ester was promoted to Clinical Associate Professor.

Dr. Todd Ester

Dr. Ester, who has been the school’s Assistant Dean for DEI since 2018, recently received the university’s Harold R. Johnson Diversity Award for 2023. He was one of six U-M faculty members who were honored for service that goes above and beyond their regular duties and contributes to the development of a culturally and ethnically diverse campus community.

Nör noted that Ester has grown the role of the school’s DEI office significantly as assistant dean. In the new expanded role, Ester will manage initiatives that increase DEI and will serve as the advisor to the school’s leadership in creating a supportive environment for the school’s community of patients, students, faculty and staff. He will advocate on institutional issues that relate to diversity, cultural sensitivity and health equities to support cultural competency, and will include collaboration on DEI initiatives across the university.

Ester graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, then earned his DDS degree and a specialty certificate in endodontics from the U-M School of Dentistry. He also holds a Master’s degree in Health Education from the University of the Pacific. He is the program director and principal lecturer for the dental school’s Profile for Success program, which helps prepare undergraduate students for careers in dentistry. The program is one of many ways Ester has helped broaden the pathway to dentistry careers for historically under-represented racial and ethnic students, staff and faculty. In addition to his work as a faculty member at the dental school, he practices in the Detroit area.

In 2019, the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), representing the nation’s dental schools, presented Ester with its prestigious William J. Gies award for initiatives promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. In 2020, he received the Colgate Palmolive Faculty Award for Administration from the National Dental Association and in 2021 he was inducted into the Faculty of the Academy of General Dentistry. He has worked closely on DEI issues with national organizations, including ADEA, the National Dental Association, the Student National Dental Association, the Hispanic Dental Association, the Society for American Indian Dentists, the Michigan Dental Association and the American Dental Association. He currently serves as the co-chair for the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee for ADEA.

Ester and this year’s other recipients of the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award will be recognized by the university at a ceremony on Sept. 26. The annual award has been bestowed by the U-M Office of the Provost since 1996 in honor of Harold Johnson, dean emeritus of the School of Social Work. More information on the awards can be found on the Provost’s website and in a University Record article on this year’s awardees.


The University of Michigan School of Dentistry is one of the nation’s leading dental schools engaged in oral healthcare education, research, patient care and community service.  General dental care clinics and specialty clinics providing advanced treatment enable the school to offer dental services and programs to patients throughout Michigan.  Classroom and clinic instruction prepare future dentists, dental specialists and dental hygienists for practice in private offices, hospitals, academia and public agencies.  Research seeks to discover and apply new knowledge that can help patients worldwide.  For more information about the School of Dentistry, visit us on the Web at:  Contact: Lynn Monson, associate director of communications, at, or (734) 615-1971.