Dr. Novak received her B.S. in Dental Hygiene (1978) and Doctor of Dental Surgery (1982), both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; her M.S. in Dental Research from the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY (1989); and both her certificate in Periodontics (1992) and Ph.D. (1994) from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC-San Antonio).
She was an assistant professor from 1994-1995 in the Department of Periodontics at UTHSC-San Antonio and assistant professor from 1995-01 in the Department of Periodontics at The University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. Dr. Novak was associate professor from 2001-09 (tenure in 2007) and full professor from 2009-10, both in the Division of Periodontics at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry in Lexington, KY.
In 2010 she was recruited to the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) national office in Washington, D.C. as Senior Director for Research and Analysis (2010-12) and Senior Vice President for Institutional Capacity Building (2012). She has also held positions in academic leadership, including Director, Predoctoral Periodontics (1999-00) and Associate Director of Student Services (1999-01), both at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine and Director of Graduate Studies (2004-09) and Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (2007, 2008-10), both at the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry. In 2008 she was awarded the ADEA/William J. Gies Foundation Education Fellowship.
Dr. Novak has held leadership positions with the American Dental Association (ADA), ADEA, and the International Association of Dental Research/American Association of Dental Research (IADR/AADR). She has also practiced privately and as part of an academic faculty practice. Dr. Novak has had a distinguished career in research, focusing on biofilms and periodontal disease and oral-systemic and inflammatory connections of disease. She has been involved in numerous grant awards from NIH/NIDCR, Department the Army, HRSA, NIA and various university-level funding sources. She has published over thirty peer-reviewed articles, nineteen book chapters, and fifty-six abstracts. Working more recently with ADEA, she has been a national leader for ADEA in the Commission on Change & Innovation, dental accreditation and academic leadership development.
Dr. Novak has been a dedicated educator and mentor in her academic career in the institutions she has been associated with, including UTHSC-San Antonio, University of Pittsburgh, University of Kentucky and ADEA. She has taught many didactic, preclinical and clinical courses in Microbiology and Periodontics, and has mentored numerous predoctoral students, many who received awards from AADR, Hinman and other organizations. Dr. Novak has been highly active in service activities at department, school, and university, local, national, and international committees. In her current position as Senior Vice President for Institutional Capacity Building at ADEA she leads a team of five staff members in support of initiatives that strengthen the skills, competencies and abilities of ADEA’s allied, predoctoral and advanced dental education communities. Their team works to promote the scholarship of teaching and learning, broaden the scope and content of educational resources available to ADEA members, foster integrated and inter-professional education, and promote the role of research in dental education. She also works collaboratively across the organization to develop and implement strategic initiatives that address current issues in dental education.