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ADA Honors AIDS Researcher with 2012 Gold Medal Award

July 27, 2012

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Telephone: 312.440.2806
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CHICAGO, July 27, 2012 – The American Dental Association (ADA) recently named Dr. John S. Greenspan as the recipient of the 2012 ADA Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Dental Research in recognition of his landmark AIDS research. Dr. Greenspan is a distinguished professor of oral biology and oral pathology, and associate dean for Global Oral Health at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Dentistry, and distinguished professor of pathology, and Director Emeritus, AIDS Research Institute at the School of Medicine.

"This award acknowledges Dr. Greenspan’s groundbreaking research in the oral aspects of AIDS and the role of viruses in oral lesions," said ADA President Dr. William R. Calnon. "His findings have contributed greatly to our understanding of this disease and have very positively affected global health for many populations."

The ADA will formally present Dr. Greenspan with his award in October during the ADA 2012 Annual Session in San Francisco. The ADA Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Dental Research was established in 1985 and is presented every three years to honor individuals who, through basic or clinical research, contribute to the advancement of the dental profession or to major improvements in the oral health of the community. The honoree receives $25,000 and a gold medallion. Additionally, the recipient serves a three-year term on the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs, an appointed volunteer body of dentists that provides recommendations to the ADA’s governing bodies on scientific issues and promotes, reviews, evaluates and conducts studies on scientific matters.

"I would like to see (the Gold Medal Award) as recognizing the efforts of everyone I have worked with for the 30 years of AIDS, indeed for the entire 45-plus years of my career, as well as our patients and research project participants," Dr. Greenspan said. "I see it also as an honor for my institution, University of California, San Francisco, the place that nurtured and supported us even in the early days when there was so much fear, marginalization and stigma to having AIDS. Those who were working on AIDS were looked upon negatively, and this institution has always supported that work, as has the Association."

Dr. John D. B. Featherstone, dean of the UCSF School of Dentistry, nominated Dr. Greenspan for the Gold Medal Award noting that Dr. Greenspan is a founder of the field of oral AIDS research and the co-discoverer of oral hairy leukoplakia. Considered a pioneer in how oral disease relates to HIV and AIDS, Dr. Greenspan, along with his team of cohorts—including Dr. Deborah Greenspan, his spouse and colleague—has blazed many trails in dentistry.

The ADA Gold Medal Award is sponsored by Church & Dwight Co., Inc. which manufactures oral care products. The company has sponsored the Gold Medal Award with the ADA since 2005. Dr. Greenspan is the 10th prominent researcher to be honored.

Note: Photo available upon request.

Reporters are invited to follow ADA media relations on Twitter @ADAmediapr

About the ADA

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 162,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA's consumer website