2012 Academy Award Recipients

These awards are given for outstanding contributions to the AAP and the profession of periodontics.

Based on recommendations from the Leadership Development and Qualifications Committee, the Research Submissions Committee and the Education Committee, the Board of Trustees selected the following recipients of 2012 AAP awards. The recipients were recognized at the 2012  AAP’s Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, CA.

Gold Medal: Dr. Preston D. Miller, Jr.

PhotoThe highest award bestowed by the Academy, this award is given annually in recognition of outstanding contributions to the field of periodontics. Founded in 1967, it is sponsored by Sunstar Americas, Inc.

Dr. Preston D. Miller, Jr., has been active in the Academy since 1968, serving on more than 20 AAP committees, representing District 3 on the Board of Trustees for six years, and eventually serving as president in 2006-2007. Dr. Miller has also been involved in the AAP Foundation as a member of its Board of Directors and Visionary Society. He is a peer reviewer for the Journal of Periodontology, has published numerous articles in refereed periodontal journals and contributed to four textbooks, and has lectured extensively throughout the world. In a letter of nomination for this award, one of his peers stated that it would be unusual not to find Dr. Miller’s name among the faculty in nearly every Annual Meeting program over the last several decades. His leadership qualities have been recognized by other dental organizations as well. He served as president of the Southern Academy of Periodontology, the Memphis Dental Society, and the Tennessee Society of Periodontists, and was vice president of the Tennessee Dental Association. In 2003, he was named Tennessee Dentist of the Year. A born teacher, Dr. Miller sold his practice in 2008 and now shares his skills as a clinical professor at the dental school at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Master Clinician: Dr. Leonard S. Tibbetts

PhotoThis award is given to an Academy member who has practiced and demonstrated consistent clinical excellence in periodontics. This award is sponsored by Hu-Friedy.

Dr. Leonard S. Tibbetts has contributed to the clinical practice of periodontics in many ways. He has a keen understanding of dental anatomy and the proper rationale for performing osseous surgery and periodontal microsurgery and is known by his peers as a go-to source on these topics. A gifted surgeon, he readily shares his expertise with others, inviting colleagues into his office to observe his technique, writing numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals and periodontal textbooks, as well as lecturing and teaching clinical courses across the globe. He was instrumental in adding intravenous sedation to the postdoctoral curriculum—a formidable task that has had a tremendous impact on periodontists’ scope of practice—and was one of the first periodontists to use a surgical microscope. Dr. Tibbetts believes that individual clinicians can be a huge force in advancing the specialty and his career is a testament to that conviction. As one colleague described, “Dr. Tibbetts is a detail man in everything he does and the major beneficiaries are his patients.” In addition to his clinical innovation, Dr. Tibbetts has contributed to organized periodontics, serving as president of the AAP, the AAP Foundation, the Southwest Society of Periodontists, and the Texas Society of Periodontists.

Distinguished Service and Parliamentarian Emeritus: Dr. Milton Palat

PhotoEstablished in 2008, the Distinguished Service Award is presented to an AAP member selected for distinguished service to the Academy in more than one area, over a period of not less than 20 years.

Dr. Milt Palat has served as the Academy’s parliamentarian since 1996, providing guidance at AAP Board of Trustees meetings and at the General Assembly. In addition, Dr. Palat has trained AAP officers and Board members in the Sturgis Code of Parliamentary Procedure to ensure that meetings are orderly and fair, and discussions are relevant and productive. Under Dr. Palat’s guidance, the Board has become more disciplined in its debates on even the most controversial issues. Dr. Palat has been a resource in determining whether decisions are in keeping with Academy policy and he has continually performed his role with grace and diplomacy. He has mentored 16 presidents in facilitating Board proceedings and all have turned to him for advice and counsel. Dr. Palat received his dental degree at Temple University in 1953, his periodontal certificate from New York University (NYU) in 1972, and his JD from Rutgers University in 1981. A member of the AAP since 1968, Dr. Palat is also a former chair of the periodontics department and predoctoral program director at NYU College of Dentistry. In addition to receiving a Distinguished Service Award, Dr. Palat has been named Parliamentarian Emeritus in honor of his 16 years of service as the Academy’s parliamentarian.

Distinguished Service: Dr. Leslie M. Salkin

PhotoEstablished in 2008, the Distinguished Service Award is presented to an AAP member selected for distinguished service to the Academy in more than one area, over a period of not less than 20 years.

For more than 30 years Mike Salkin has given back to his profession through his service to the AAP, the American Board of Periodontology, the American Dental Association, and the graduate programs at the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University. He has mentored many periodontists throughout their training, encouraging them to complete their Board certification. He was a member of the Board of Trustees from 1985 to 1992 and has served on more than 15 AAP committees as a member, chair, or consultant. He was a director of the American Board of Periodontology from 1996 to 2001, serving as co-chair his last year, and is currently an examiner. Dr. Salkin is also a former president of the Pennsylvania Society of Periodontists and the Philadelphia Society of Periodontists. An author of more than 34 journal articles and textbook chapters, he is a peer reviewer for a number of refereed dental journals. Dr. Salkin’s contributions to the AAP were recognized with a Fellowship Award in 1995. In a nomination letter, one admirer stated that Dr. Salkin has always served organized dentistry “with honor, compassion, and intelligence.”

Distinguished Scientist: Dr. Robert J. Genco

PhotoEstablished in 2008, the Distinguished Scientist Award is presented to an AAP member who has actively contributed to the basic science and/or clinical science of periodontology through published literature, and may have contributed to pre- or postdoctoral education and/or scientific conferences or symposia. The award is sponsored by Procter & Gamble Professional Oral Health.

For more than three decades, Dr. Robert J. Genco has conducted studies that have significantly contributed to our understanding of the causes, prevention, and treatment of periodontal disease. He has described the effects of periodontal disease on diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, and he and his colleagues have identified important risk indicators for periodontal disease including diabetes, smoking, P. gingivalis and B. forsythus, stress, osteopenia, low dietary calcium, and obesity. His studies have demonstrated the importance of eliminating periodontal disease-causing bacteria for successful treatment, and his work with locally applied plate-derived growth factor has led to an FDA-approved treatment for periodontal disease. Dr. Genco is considered a pioneer in uncovering the role of periodontal disease in systemic diseases. A member of the AAP since 1970, Dr. Genco served as editor of the Journal of Periodontology for 18 years. He is currently a distinguished professor of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo’s Department of Oral Biology and Department of Microbiology in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. He has published more than 350 peer-reviewed articles, contributed to 10 books, and holds nine patents. He is also a former president of IADR/AADR, and has received numerous prestigious awards, included the ADA Gold Medal for Excellence in Research, the ADA Award for Clinical Research, and the SUNY Research Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

Outstanding Periodontal Educator: Dr. Charles M. Cobb

PhotoRecognizing the importance of periodontal faculty in maintaining the excellence of the specialty, the Board of Trustees established the Award for Outstanding Periodontal Educator in 2001. This award recognizes an exemplary periodontal faculty member who demonstrates excellence in teaching and is an inspiration to students.

Dr. Charles M. Cobb has spent more than 40 years teaching and practicing periodontics. He received his DDS, certificate in periodontics, and MS in microbiology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). After serving in the U.S. Navy Dental Corps, Dr. Cobb got his PhD in anatomy from Georgetown University, then taught at Louisiana State University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham before returning to UMKC in 1977, where he rose from clinical associate professor in periodontics to his present position of professor emeritus. Dr. Cobb’s passion for learning and his professionalism have had a tremendous impact on all those around him. A former student explains: “Dr. Cobb was our ‘go to guy,’ and we affectionately referred to him as ‘The Encyclopedia.’ He helped us all with our theses, and did so after hours, on weekends, and holidays. We had to mature and have our own families before we could appreciate the level of unselfish help Dr. Cobb gave to us all.” He has continued to assist graduates in developing their practices and consults on difficult cases with many of his former students. His role as educator never stops. Dr. Cobb’s research efforts have also resulted in close to 200 publications. Among his many awards, Dr. Cobb has received UMKC’s Teacher of the Year Award and the Elmer F. Pierson Award for Excellence in Teaching, the school’s highest award in teaching since the recipient is selected by peers from all disciplines, not only dentistry.

Humanitarian Award: Dr. Steven Blanchard

PhotoThe Humanitarian Award is presented to an Academy member who has given selflessly through extraordinary actions that benefit a deserving population. The award acknowledges the member's selfless act.

Dr. Steven B. Blanchard has selflessly given his time and talents to provide oral health care to thousands of patients in need—both nationally and internationally. Since 2003, he has been a volunteer dentist at the Trinity Free Clinic in Hamilton County, Indiana, providing pro bono treatment to those with no other access to dental care. He has also provided much-needed care to the needy in Haiti. His most recent endeavors have involved the establishment of an international service learning program to provide oral health care and health education in Honduras. Established in 2009, this program has treated more than 1,000 patients and it promises to be an ongoing effort. Through Dr. Blanchard’s affiliation with Indiana University, he coordinated supplies and directed the activities of dental and dental hygiene students as well as four faculty members. Dr. Blanchard has also been involved in professional volunteer activities for Give Kids a Smile and Project S.H.A.P.E. (Summer Health Assessment and Prevention Education) in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is also noteworthy that he was one of the first responders to the crash at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, demonstrating his commitment to helping those in need without regard for his own personal safety and comfort. He continues to be an energetic and admirable ambassador for periodontics and dentistry in general in his community and throughout the world.


Honorary Membership: Mr. Vincent Conner (posthumously)

PhotoAwarded to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the art and science of periodontology.

Mr. Vincent L. Conner, son of Academy member Dr. Dalton Conner, served as a medical and dental practice consultant, using his business skills to help many AAP members with associateship and partnership issues. He lectured at AAP meetings on topics related to buying and selling a periodontal practice, improving practice workflow, as well as other important and relevant business issues. He shared his knowledge with graduate periodontal students and established periodontists alike throughout the U.S., helping them to improve many facets of their practices. Because of his family ties to the specialty and his professional relationships with many AAP members, he definitely “traveled in the shoes” of the periodontist. Mr. Conner understood periodontists’ educational training, specialized office responsibilities, and need to work successfully with restorative colleagues. He helped many to become better practitioners and representatives of the AAP in their working relationships, and some of his clients considered him to be as much a mentor as their program directors.



Lifetime Achievement Award and Executive Director Emeritus: Alice DeForest

PhotoMs. Alice DeForest is receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award and being named Executive Director Emeritus in honor of her 26 years as the Academy’s Executive Director. During her tenure, membership has nearly doubled, staff has been organized into seven specialized departments to support member activities and services, and operating revenue has increased more than ten-fold. Since Alice walked through its doors, the Academy has diversified its business lines, exponentially expanded its member services, and dramatically increased its influence with other dental organizations—domestic and international—and with the public. Implants and regenerative techniques have become commonplace in the periodontist’s armamentarium, and the relationship between periodontal diseases and systemic health has gained a strong footing. Ms. DeForest has been in a unique position to support these and other dramatic changes in the Academy and the specialty, and she has participated in shaping the changing face of periodontics. Ms. DeForest will officially retire at the conclusion of the 2012 Annual Meeting in Los Angeles, California.



Clinical Research Award:

  • Periodontal regeneration versus extraction and prosthetic replacement of teeth severely compromised by attachment loss to the apex: 5-year results of an ongoing randomized clinical trial. By P. Cortellini, G. Stalpers, A. Mollo, M.S. Tonetti. J Clin Periodontol. 2011 Oct;38(10):915-24.

This award, which is sponsored by Quintessence Publishing, is presented to a recent outstanding scientific published article with direct clinical relevance in periodontics.

R. Earl Robinson Regeneration Award:

  • 120 intrabony defects treated with regenerative therapy: long-term results. By M. Silvestri, G. Rasperini, S. Milani. J Periodontol. 2011 May;82(5):668-75.

This award, which is sponsored by the AAP Foundation, is presented to a recent outstanding scientific published article on periodontal regeneration in the basic or clinical sciences.Photo

Special Citations:

  • Dr. Panos N. Papapanou: For his efforts in clarifying information about the American Heart Association's scientific statement "Periodontal Disease and Atherosclerotic Vascular Disease: Does the Evidence Support an Independent Association?" to the benefit of the public and the profession.
  • Task Force for General Dentist Outreach: Dr. Diego Velasquez, Chair; Dr. Walter E. Colon II; Dr. Gordon L. Douglass; Dr. Lisa B. Masters; Dr. Robert P. Pulliam; Dr. Edward H. Segal; Dr. Wayne A. Aldredge, Board Liaison


  • AAP/CDC Workgroup: Dr. Robert J. Genco, Chair; Dr. James D. Beck; Dr. Wenche S. Borgnakke; Mrs. Alice DeForest; Dr. Gordon L. Douglass; Dr. Bruce A. Dye; Dr. Paul I. Eke; Dr. Roy C. Page; Dr. Gary Slade; Dr. George W. Taylor; Dr. Gina Thornton-Evans

Special Citations are awarded to individuals who have contributed to the Academy in a noteworthy manner such as an Academy committee or special project. The award is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products.

William J. Gies Award: Dr. Brian L. Mealey

PhotoThe William J. Gies Award is presented by the William J. Gies Foundation for the Advancement of Dentistry, part of the American Dental Education Association. The award is presented to a nominee who has made significant contributions to the periodontal literature and the advancement of dental education.

This year’s recipient is Dr. Brian L. Mealey. Dr. Mealey has co-authored two books, 19 book chapters, 64 papers in refereed journals, 15 abstracts, and numerous reviews and editorials. He is an editorial board member of the Journal of Periodontology, Clinical Advances in Periodontics, Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry, Grand Rounds in Oral-Systemic Medicine, and Triage. He is also peer reviewer for numerous other refereed journals and has lectured extensively throughout the U.S. Dr. Mealey’s research interests include periodontal disease and systemic health, clinical and radiographic diagnosis of periodontal diseases, use of various graft materials for periodontal bony defects, and bone regeneration and dental implant therapy, and he is often the Academy’s go-to source on the topic of diabetes and periodontal disease. He is chair of the American Board of Periodontology and is a board member of the Southwest Society of Periodontists. He is currently the program director of the Department of Periodontics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

AAP Dental Student Awards for Achievement in Periodontology:

This award is given at each dental school to the graduating senior who displays the highest level of academic and clinical achievement related to periodontics.

AAP Awards for Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring in Periodontics:

This award is given at each dental school to the periodontal educator who has demonstrated a commitment to excellence in providing education in the full scope of clinical periodontics and relays that enthusiasm to students.

Awards to Be Announced at a Later Date:

  • Balint Orban Memorial Program competition is open to students currently enrolled in accredited periodontal programs in the United States and Canada or those who graduated less than 18 months ago.
  • Research Forum Poster Session Competition provides a platform for clinical and basic research to be presented by those in the field of periodontics. Finalists selected on the basis of written abstracts are invited to present their posters at each Annual Meeting.

Deadline for 2013 Award Nominations: January 31

Academy Awards are given annually, and members are encouraged to nominate their colleagues for contributions to the Academy and profession. Nominations must be received by January 31 to be considered for that year's awards.

Award criteria and nomination forms are available online. Nominations can be submitted online or printed out and emailed, faxed, or mailed to the AAP. Questions relating to Academy awards can be directed to:

Lynne A. Paul
Senior Manager, Governance & Administration
Telephone: 800/282-4867 ext. 3265 or 312/573-3265
Fax: 312/787-3983
Email: lynne@perio.org

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