David Cappelli

Associate Dean for Community Affairs, UNLV School of Dental Medicine
Expertise: Dental public health, Oral epidemiology, Oral health policy, Community engagement


David P. Cappelli, associate dean for community engagement with UNLV's School of Dental Medicine, is an expert on dental public health, oral health policy, and oral epidemiology.

Cappelli has an extensive career in research, education, and service. In addition to roles leading the dental public health residency program and research division and serving as tenured faculty at multiple Texas universities, he has received funding from the National Institutes of Health to study links between periodontal disease and pre-term birth/low birth weight, and periodontal disease and HIV. He co-authored the 2008 textbook Prevention in Clinical Oral Health Care that described risk-based prevention strategies.

Cappelli has also received awards from the Health Resources and Services Administration totaling $3.75 million. Through the grants, he established the American Institute for Dental Public Health, where he serves as the executive director. The awards created educational opportunities for dental public health residents across the country and expanded the dental public health workforce.

Additionally, Cappelli has held leadership positions in several national and state organizations, including as president of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry and chair of the association's foundation board; a board member of the Future Smiles of Nevada; and a member of the Nevada Advisory Committee for Oral Health. He was awarded diplomate status by the American Board of Dental Public Health.


  • Ph.D., University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston, School of Public Health
  • MPH, University of Pittsburgh
  • DMD, University of Pittsburgh

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