David P. Cappelli

David P. Cappelli

Associate Dean for Community Engagement

Dental Medicine
SLC-A 202C
Mail Code


Dr. David P. Cappelli earned his DMD and MPH from the University of Pittsburgh, and his PhD in epidemiology from the University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston, School of Public Health. He completed his residency education in dental public health from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), department of Community Dentistry, and was awarded diplomate status by the American Board of Dental Public Health.

Prior to joining UNLV, Dr. Cappelli was formerly a professor with tenure in the department of Comprehensive Dentistry, UTHSCSA School of Dentistry, where he served as director of the dental public health residency program and director of the research division. He was cross-appointed to the faculty of the UT-Houston Health Science Center School of Public Health and the UTHSCSA School of Biomedical Sciences.

Dr. Cappelli developed an extensive career in research, education, and service. During 2015, Dr. Cappelli received two awards from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) 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.

During 2011, Dr. Cappelli received a $3.1 million HRSA grant for pre-doctoral education in dental public health, which sought to maintain and improve a comprehensive pre-doctoral dental public health curriculum. He also received funding from the National Institutes of Health to study oral-systemic linkages using a non-human primate model, including periodontal disease and pre-term birth/low birth weight, and periodontal disease and HIV.

Dr. Cappelli co-directed a course for first year dental students, Foundations of Tooth Development, Oral Health and Disease, and taught extensively in the dental and dental hygiene curriculums. He co-authored during 2008 the textbook Prevention in Clinical Oral Health Care that described risk-based prevention strategies. Dr. Cappelli has held leadership positions in several national and state organizations, including president of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry (AAPHD), and is currently chair of the AAPHD foundation board.

He also serves as a Commission on Dental Accreditation site visitor for the specialty of Dental Public Health; is currently as a member of the Nevada Advisory Committee for Oral Health (AC4OH); a board member of the Future Smiles of Nevada; and an advisory board member of the San Antonio Christian Dental Clinic.

Dr. Cappelli completed the American Dental Education Association Leadership Institute Fellowship and the Leadership Education and Development Institute at UTHSCSA. He was awarded the UTHSCSA Presidential Teaching Excellence Award during 2015 and was inducted into the UTHSCSA Academy of Master Teachers during 2016. That same year, Dr. Cappelli received the University of Texas Regents Outstanding Teaching Award.


PhD: University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston, School of Public Health

MPH: University of Pittsburgh

DMD: University of Pittsburgh