After 25 years of operating a successful local dental practice, Dr. Steven Ellinwood, DDS, is transitioning to become the Director of the David A. Bleeke Dental Clinic at Indiana University Fort Wayne. After being approached by the IU School of Dentistry about the position, the time was right, personally and professionally, to make a move into higher education.
A native of Fort Wayne, and alum of Snider High School and DePauw University, he attended and graduated from the IU School of Dentistry in 1985. Past President of the Indiana Dental Association, he currently serves on the board of the America Dental Association.
Dr. Ellinwood is no stranger to IU Fort Wayne, as his children, Alexa and Chase attended IPFW. Alexa graduated in 2014 with bachelor's degrees in Biology and Dental Laboratory Technology. Chase studied biology before attending the IU School of Dentistry in Indianapolis, where he graduated in 2019. Chase is taking over the family practice as his father transitions to the university.
"I always wanted to teach, to be a part of the educational process," he said. After Alexa graduated, he continued to teach in Dental Technology, adding responsibility and classes in the Dental Hygiene program. His experience helped him become an effective educator. He stated, "Everything I have taught is something I have experienced in my practice."
Before accepting his new position, Dr. Ellinwood served on the IU Fort Wayne Community Advisory Board, comprised of citizens from across the community interested in advancing IU Fort Wayne's presence in the community. They advocate for the university in the community and advise on matters such as student placement, grants, and community engagement opportunities. He was also part of the search committee that hired the new Vice Chancellor and Dean, Deborah Garrison, PhD.
Beyond business, Dr. Ellinwood is committed to using his position to benefit others. "I was raised to give back," he said. It is a responsibility Steven takes seriously. In addition to serving with the state and national dental associations, he is passionate about using dentistry to help the less fortunate. 15 years ago, he co-founded a nonprofit organization called Sonrise Siempre with Tom Blake, DDS. Their desire was to create a mission-minded organization focused on providing dental services.
Sonrise Siempre has sent teams from all over the United States to countries such as Ecuador and Honduras to help those without access to dental care. In addition, the organization founded a dental clinic that continues to serve patients.
Dr. Ellinwood also believes that now is the time to give back to the university that helped launch his career. Building on the progress that has already been made, he believes IU Fort Wayne is poised to grow significantly as a significant presence locally and regionally. His time serving on the IU Fort Wayne Community Advisory Board convinced him that there are bright days ahead for IU Fort Wayne.
"I think we have the right people and programs, with a need in Northeast Indiana for healthcare education. Vice Chancellor Garrison is the right person to help us grow. We need people to know we are still here. There is lots of potential for growth as the campus grows."