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A department chair in Penn’s School of Dental Medicine died by suicide on Dec. 11. 

His identity was confirmed as Ricardo Teles by Ron Ozio, the director of media relations at Penn, on Dec. 13. The city’s medical examiner’s office confirmed on Dec. 12 that the death of Teles, 50, was ruled a suicide, reported.

Ricardo Teles

Teles, originally from Brazil, had been appointed professor and chair of the department of periodontics on Aug. 15. He had previously served as the vice chair of the department of periodontology at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry before assuming his role at Penn's Dental School.

Penn Dental students, faculty, and staff were notified of Teles' death by email on Dec. 12, Penn Dental Dean Denis Kinane wrote in an emailed statement sent provided by Kim Wolcott, the director of faculty affairs and executive support at Penn Dental.

"Since then, there has been an incredible outpouring of sympathy and positive comments on Dr. Teles’ incredible personality, kindness and contributions to the field of Periodontology. He will be missed enormously and his family continues to be in our thoughts and prayers," the statement read. 

Teles taught classes in periodontics this semester, which have proceeded, according to the statement, while "making provisions for students and residents in the process. The faculty in our Periodontics department has been incredibly supportive of each other and our students."

Penn Dental has worked with various departments at Penn, such as Counseling and Psychological Services and the Division of Public Safety, to provide resources and access to counseling for the Penn Dental community.

Teles' wife, Flavia Teles, also joined Penn as a faculty member in August. She currently works as an associate professor in the department of microbiology. 

Teles' death comes after seven student deaths in 2017, two of which have been confirmed to be deaths by suicide. Since February of 2013, there have been 14 students from Penn who have died by suicide. 


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