Rosalynde K. Soble, a retired behavioral scientist and assistant professor who taught at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry and the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery for nearly two decades, died Tuesday of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at her Mount Washington home. She was 76.
Mrs. Soble, an internationally known and highly respected lecturer on the psychosocial aspects of dental education, retired from the University of Maryland in 1986.
"What we taught was not the technical side of dentistry. The program was created to support the technical and professional aspect of dentistry. It was about human behavior," said Morris Roseman, a retired clinical psychologist who taught with Mrs. Soble.
"At the time, we were the only two behavioral social scientists at the school," said the Pikesville resident, who retired in 1979.
Perhaps one of her most important contributions was helping establish the Special Needs Clinic at the dental school in the mid-1960s, which provided dental care to the aged, physically challenged and developmentally disabled who could not normally seek dental care.
"Dental practitioners at that time were not prepared to offer dental care to people who suffered from muscular dystrophy, epilepsy or were mentally retarded. Working in the clinic became part of the student's program," said Mr. Roseman.
"There were only five such clinics nationally in the 1960s, and today there are over a hundred at universities throughout the country patterned after that pilot project," said her son, Alan Soble of Seattle.
She created a program that took first-year dental students into inner-city elementary schools to examine pupils and make them aware of the importance of dental care and health.
"We started out at ground zero with only broad concepts, and we had the thrill of creation. And I think we helped introduce an atmosphere of flexibility in the study of dentistry," said Mr. Roseman.
From her book-filled university office, Mrs. Soble sought ways to expand and broaden the education of dental students.
A prolific writer and lecturer, she wrote, edited and published articles in the fields of dentistry, social work, geriatrics and sociology.
She lectured on the subjects at conferences in Israel, Denmark, England and the Netherlands. She was a consultant to the Maryland State Office on Aging, National Institutes of Health, George Washington University Graduate School and the National Association of Social Workers.
She also was a featured lecturer at the John F. Kennedy Institute, the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health and the University of Maryland School of Social Work and Planning.
"One word to characterize her would be her enthusiasm. She was always bubbling over with ideas. She was a very optimistic and positive person," said Mr. Roseman.
Born Rosalynde Kolodner, she was raised on upper Park Heights Avenue and graduated from Forest Park High School.
She earned her bachelor's degree in sociology from the University of Maryland in 1944 and returned to the university to earn a master's degree in social work in 1965 and a Ph.D. in education in 1973.
Her 1948 marriage to Joseph Soble ended in divorce.
Graveside services were held Thursday at Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery.
In addition to her son, Mrs. Soble is survived by a daughter, Denise Soble Monnett of Reisterstown; a sister, Phyllis K. Schwartz of Rockville; three grandchildren; and two nieces.