American Academy of Periodontology Celebrates 2022 Award Winners

A special ceremony was held at the Academy’s 108th Annual Meeting to honor AAP award recipients.

CHICAGO – Jan. 17, 2023- On Friday, Oct. 28., 2022, AAP award recipients were celebrated at a ceremony during the Academy’s 108th Annual Meeting in Phoenix.

Each year, the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) honors members whose service, dedication, and accomplishments have made a significant impact on the field of periodontics. Whether it was through extensive research, teaching, or writing various publications, these members put in the extra work that allowed them to stand out for special recognition.

Gold Medal Award: In 2022, the Academy was pleased to present its highest honor – the Gold Medal – to Dr. Brian Mealey. Dr. Mealey is a Clinical Professor of the Specialist Division in the Department of Periodontics at UT Health San Antonio School of Dentistry as well as the editor and co-author of two textbooks. During the course of his lengthy involvement with the Academy, Dr. Mealey has served on 28 different committees, served as the District 8 representative on the Academy’s Board of Trustees, lectured at the Academy’s Annual Meeting almost every year, taught numerous continuing education courses, served on the Journal of Periodontology Editorial Advisory Board, and presented at and chaired many of the Academy’s Pre- and Postdoctoral workshops. His broad range of experience includes serving over 21 years on active duty in the United States Air Force and publishing extensively in scientific literature, with an emphasis on interrelationships between oral and systemic health. Among other significant awards, he received the Distinguished Service Award in 2019.

“This award reminds me of the value of saying ‘yes’ to doing things you may not think you are good at or that you may not have time for,” said Dr. Mealey. “The ‘work’ is a lot less work because of the dedicated staff, members, and leaders of the AAP.”

Master Clinician: The 2022 Master Clinician award was sponsored by HuFriedyGroup. The 2022 winner of the Master Clinician award was Dr. Richard Kao, a renowned clinician in the field of tissue regeneration. This award honors an Academy member who has practiced and demonstrated consistent clinical excellence in periodontics and who has willingly and unselfishly shared that clinical experience with members of the profession. Over the past three decades, Dr. Kao has contributed to numerous Academy activities, including serving as an AAP President from 2018-2019 and working tirelessly for advancement in the field of tissue engineering. Apart from his clinical research, Dr. Kao has divided his time between providing clinical care for his patients in both San Jose and Cupertino, Calif. and his teaching duties at the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Pacific. Dr. Kao’s practice was selected as one of the FDA’s Phase III clinical trials for the development of the rhPDGF-TCP for periodontal regeneration, which led to his numerous other recognitions and awards.

Distinguished Scientist: The 2022 Distinguished Scientist Award was sponsored by Crest + Oral B. The recipient of the Academy’s 2022 Distinguished Scientist Award was Dr. Gustavo Avila-Ortiz. Dr. Avila-Ortiz’s success goes back to his days as a dental student, when he received the Pierre Fauchard International Academy Award as the Distinguished Best Predoctoral Dental Student. Since then, he has published over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals, co-authored numerous textbook chapters, and published his own textbook, TISSUES: Critical Issues in Periodontal and Implant-Related Plastic Surgery. His previous research focused on platelet rich plasma’s influence on cell proliferation as well as evaluating the impact of anatomic variables on the outcomes of maxillary sinus augmentation. His research focus turned to the impact of ridge preservation approximately 10 years ago. He has chaired and co-chaired numerous national and international committees and working groups and received multiple awards for his clinical research.

Distinguished Service: The 2022 Distinguished Service Award recipient was Dr. Bryan J. Frantz. Dr. Frantz trained at the University of Rochester under his mentor and role model Dr. Jack Caton, who instilled in him to always give back to his chosen specialty. During his time at Rochester, Dr. Frantz performed research and published in the Journal of Periodontology shortly after finishing his residency. Throughout his career, he has continued to remain active in research, author numerous publications, and serve as a mentor to future periodontists by volunteering at both the University of Rochester and the periodontics department at Temple University. He served as AAP President from 2019-2020, as well as other leadership roles. During his time as AAP President, Dr. Frantz had to take on unprecedented responsibilities in response to the COVID crisis, which represented his abilities to lead and persevere in the face of unexpected challenges.

Outstanding Periodontal Educator: The 2022 Outstanding Periodontal Educator Award was sponsored by the American Academy of Periodontology. The Academy’s Outstanding Periodontal Educator for 2022 was Dr. Gian Pietro Schincaglia. Dr. Schincaglia has been in practice as a periodontist since 1993. At UConn Health, Dr. Schincaglia secured multiple grants for clinical research, served on many advisory committees for master’s theses, and uplifted the morale of the entire department. Later in his career, he started the periodontics program from scratch at West Virginia University and took it through a successful accreditation process before moving to Ohio’s Case Western University. Owing to his numerous research publications, and engaging presentation style, he has been invited nationally and internationally to teach dentists, students, and residents.

Honorary Membership: The Academy was pleased to bestow an honorary membership to Dr. Anton Sculean. Dr. Sculean is a professor and chairman of the Department of Periodontology and the current head of the Dental Research Center (DRC) of the School of Dental Medicine, University of Bern, Switzerland. He has authored over 460 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 30 chapters in periodontal textbooks, and has delivered more than 500 lectures at national and international meetings. He is Editor in Chief of Periodontology 2000. Some of his research interests focus on periodontal wound healing and regeneration and regenerative and plastic-esthetic periodontal surgery. Previously, Dr. Sculean has received a multitude of research awards – including the Distinguished Scientist Award of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) – and has been a speaker at several AAP annual meetings. As chair of the 2025 EuroPerio Congress in Vienna, Austria he is planning a joint symposium between the AAP and EFP.

Dalton Conner Humanitarian: The H. Dalton Conner Humanitarian Award is presented to an Academy member who has given selflessly through extraordinary actions that benefit a deserving population. The 2022 recipient of this honor was Dr. Theresa Cheng. With over a decade’s effort, Dr. Cheng volunteered for, founded, and established Everyone for Veterans (E4V) – a non-profit organization devoted to improving the quality of life of veterans by connecting them to services and goods in their communities – to help low-income veterans get life-changing dental care and more. She has been a community volunteer for various organizations, including Habitat for Humanity and Global Dental Brigade in Panama and Honduras. Dr. Cheng has received several awards for her work, including the American Dental Association Humanitarian Award (2021) and University of Washington Award of Excellence.

R. Earl Robinson Regeneration: Funded by the American Academy of Periodontology Foundation, this award recognized an outstanding recent scientific article about periodontal regeneration in the basic and clinical sciences. For their article, “The effect of timing of orthodontic therapy on the outcomes of regenerative periodontal surgery in patients with stage IV periodontitis: A multicenter randomized trial,” the Academy recognized Drs. Karin Jepsen, Eric Kutschera, Andreas Jäger, Lorena Gaveglio, Conchita Martin, Søren Jepsen, Christina Tietmann, Peter Wüllenweber, Daniele Cardaropoli, Ignacio Sanz Sanchez, and Rolf Fimmers.

Clinical Research: Sponsored by Quintessence Publishing, this award recognized an outstanding recent scientific article with direct clinical reference to periodontics. For their article, “Human variation in gingival inflammation,” the Academy recognized Jeffrey S. McLean, Shatha O Bamashmous, Kristopher A Kerns, Camille Zenobia, Harsh M Trived, Richard P. Darveau, Georgios A Kotsakis, Brian G Leroux, and Dandan Chen.