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Zsuzsa Horvath PhD

Associate Professor & Director, Office of Academic Career Advancement
Zsuzsa Horvath, PhD, serves as the Director of the Office of Academic Career Advancement and is an Associate Professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine Department of Dental Public Health. She earned a PhD at the University of Pittsburgh in 2009 with a focus on education and teacher training. Throughout her career, she has been involved in curriculum development, offering teaching methodology workshops and courses, conducting teacher training, and providing services and resources to promote faculty development as it relates to teaching and curricular needs.
Within Pitt’s School of Dental Medicine, some of Dr. Horvath’s current responsibilities include overseeing the School’s faculty development program in support of the educational mission, designing and implementing the School’s mentoring program, serving as educational consultant on the School’s Curriculum Committee, offering workshops and creating resources to faculty on didactic and clinical teaching, providing orientation for new faculty, offering instructional design consultations for faculty, conducting and coaching educational research projects.
In 2014, Dr. Horvath has created a two-year Academic Career Track Area of Concentration (ACT ARCO) certificate program for pre-doctoral dental students to train future dental educators. The program launched in 2016 and generated great interest among dental students, resulting in much higher enrollment than initially expected. The ACT ARCO program is novel among U.S. dental schools and has gained national and international attention. Notably, the program was recently recognized with the highest award in dental education, the William J. Gies Award for Outstanding Vision – Academic Dental Institution. As part of the ACT ARCO program, she created and teaches a variety of courses on teaching methods, clinical teaching, and educational research. Some of these courses are also offered as elective courses to all dental students. The ACT ARCO program and her elective courses have filled a major gap by offering formal training to students seeking a career as a dental educator. In addition, she teaches in the school’s standardized patient program, leads the cultural relevance and ethics small group discussion first year curricular modules
In 2015, she was invited by a colleague to help create a novel student peer tutoring program for the School in response to an accreditation requirement to support struggling students. The program has been set up as a series of elective courses in which tutors earn academic credit for their services. Dr. Horvath provides the teacher/tutor training in the program in addition to serving as program co-director. This program has also generated interest from other dental schools.
In another recent endeavor (2015-2019), Dr. Horvath served as the director of the University of Pittsburgh Center of Excellence on Pain Education created and funded by the NIH Pain Consortium. In this capacity, she served as the principal investigator of a National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded initiative and oversaw the creation and curricular implementation of online education modules at Pitt to create educational content and training for health care providers and trainees who treat individuals with acute and chronic pain. The educational modules based on virtual cases were created by interdisciplinary teams and range from opioid misuse following wisdom teeth extraction to widespread pain and fibromyalgia. The cases have been submitted to NIDA and are or will be used for a national curriculum resource sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). NIDA is currently disseminating the cases nationwide for inclusion in health sciences curricula. The online modules have been implemented and used at Pitt’s Health Science Schools.
In 2020-2021, Dr, Horvath, along with her colleague, Dr. Christine Wankiiri-Hale, has been awarded the 2020 Provost’s Award for Diversity in the Curriculum in recognition for their innovative approach to train dental students to respond to cultural insensitivity from patients titled When the Appointment is no Longer about Dentistry. In addition, she has received the 2021 Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, recognizing the creation of a visionary and innovative Academic Career Track Area of Concentration program and her knowledge of evidence-based, interactive teaching methodologies, as well as for her exemplary contributions to the University’s and our school’s educational mission.

Selected Awards

Leadership Training

  • Leadership Institute, American Dental Education Association, 2020-21
  • Emerging Leader Workshop, American Dental Education Association, 2015

Selected Peer-Reviewed Publications

Selected Grants

In the News

  • Levine M. Dental program helps steer graduates toward teaching. University Times. (University of Pittsburgh), December 17, 2020. Read here.
  • Campus Spotlight: University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. ADEA CCI (American Dental Education Association Commission on Change and Innovation)) Liaison Ledger. May 24, 2017. Read here.
  • Research Notes: New Dental Educators Program Assessed, University Times. (University of Pittsburgh), February 2, 2017. Read here.
  • Pitt SDM Targets National Faculty Shortage With New Concentration. ADEA's (American Dental Education Association) Bulletin of Dental Education: July 2016 (Volume 49, Issue 7). Read here.
  • Levine M. Dental program targets national faculty shortage University. University Times. (University of Pittsburgh), March 31, 2016. Read here.
  • People of the Times. University Times. (University of Pittsburgh), June 26, 2014. Read here.
  • Murphy B. Provost Advisory Panel Selects 10 Proposals For Innovation Awards. Pitt Chronicle (University of Pittsburgh), June 2, 2014. Read here.
  • Levine M. Pitt’s solution to dental faculty shortage. University Times. (University of Pittsburgh), May 2, 2013. Read here.
Education & Training
University of Pittsburgh, PhD, 2009


Sharon Guttman