2017 Distinguished Scientist and Outstanding Periodontal Educator Awards: Dr. Hom-Lay Wang

The Outstanding Periodontal Educator Award is sponsored by Hu-Friedy.

This year, the Academy is pleased to present two awards to one esteemed honoree, a man whose nomination was brought forth by 12 of his colleagues and former students: Dr. Hom-Lay Wang is the 2017 recipient of the Outstanding Periodontal Educator Award and the Distinguished Scientist Award. Dr. Wang is the Endowed Collegiate Professor of Periodontology at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry, where he has served as the director of the Graduate Periodontal Program for more than 20 years.

Dr. Wang, whose research interests include oral plastic surgery, regeneration, tissue engineering, and other implant-related topics, has published more than 130 scientific abstracts, 25 book chapters, and more than 500 scientific articles. With over 25,000 citations to his work, Dr. Wang has proven himself as a veritable authority in the specialty. “He is one of the most prolific authors in the profession,” says Dr. Henry Greenwell professor and director of graduate periodontics at the University of Louisville. “His extensive knowledge of periodontal and implant literature gives him a unique, perspicacious command of the state of the art.” Because of this clinical acumen, more than 30 scientific publications (including the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, the Journal of Implant and Advanced Clinical Dentistry, and the AAP’s Journal of Periodontology) have invited Dr. Wang to serve on their editorial boards. He has also given more than 650 lectures around the world.

Dr. Wang’s knack for research is not independent of his love for teaching. In fact, his students often have a front-row seat to his clinical investigations and presentations of his work. Says colleague Dr. William Giannobile, Najjar Endowed Professor and chair at the University of Michigan’s Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine: “Through all these efforts he includes students in integral learning experiences of clinical research. As a result, graduates of the University of Michigan periodontics program typically have multiple publications and a sincere appreciation of the evidence base in clinical periodontics.”

As an educator, he has trained more than 85 graduate students from all over the world, with many of them entering private practice or becoming educators themselves. His students have also gone on to attain fellowships, training grants from the National Institutes of Health, and research awards. Five of his students have won the Balint Orban Memorial Competition, and 11 have been named as finalists.

Of the many qualities that make Dr. Wang an outstanding educator, his students consistently note his generosity, mentorship, and enthusiasm. “Dr. Wang exudes passion and excitement for periodontics, encouraging his students to appreciate, master, and contribute to the field. Every discussion is an opportunity to weave classic and current literature into the equation, emphasizing important themes so they become second nature to students,” says former trainee Dr. Alexandra Plonka. “During classroom discussion and rigorous oral exams, he stresses we understand, not memorize. The knowledge is ours to apply to clinical practice and unexpected scenarios in our future careers.”

Dr. Wang is also active in organized dentistry, holding presidencies at the Midwest Society of Periodontology and the International Congress of Oral Implantologists and acting on a number of committees, commissions, and task forces for the AAP, American Dental Association, and the Academy of Osseointegration.

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