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ADA extends honorary membership to trio

July 06, 2016

By David Burger

The ADA will award three individuals with honorary memberships in 2016.

The ADA Board of Trustees nominated the trio for their outstanding contributions to the art and science of dentistry, and approved the designations at its June meeting.

The honorees are Dr. Jens O. Andreasen, a Danish pioneer in the field of dental trauma; Grace L. DeShaw-Wilner, who retired in April after 36 years of service to the Michigan Dental Association; and Dr. Mitsuo Okubo, president of the Japan Dental Association from 2006-15.

Dr. Andreasen

Ms. DeShaw-Wilner

Dr. Okubo

Dr. Andreasen, who received his dental degree from the Royal Dental College in Copenhagen in 1959, did his postgraduate training in oral and maxillofacial surgery at the University Hospital in Copenhagen, where he is now an associate professor.

He has authored 350 published articles and 11 textbooks, covering topics such as dental traumatology, tooth replantation and autotransplantation, tooth eruption and tooth impaction. Dr. Andreasen, who holds four honorary doctorates and has been a lecturer in 48 countries, created the interactive Dental Trauma Guide website in 2008, which is used in 180 countries.

Dr. Asgeir Sigurdsson, associate professor and chair of endodontics at the NYU College of Dentistry, wrote in his nomination letter that Dr. Andreasen has educated several generations of dentists around the world. "In my view, it is safe to say that Dr. Andreasen should be considered both father and grandfather of the discipline of dental trauma," he said. "I feel strongly that he more than deserves this recognition by ADA for his lifetime commitment to better understanding of how best to treat dental trauma."

Ms. DeShaw-Wilner first joined the Michigan Dental Association in 1979 as an administrative assistant after graduating from Michigan State University. Over the years she earned more responsibilities, eventually becoming the MDA's vice president of professional affairs. She also served as interim executive director in 2013.

In the V.P. role, Ms. DeShaw-Wilner assumed oversight of the states's ethics and standard of care processes. Under her guidance, the MDA's peer review program is considered to be one of the most recognized in the nation and a model of success.

In April, immediately before her retirement, the MDA awarded Ms. DeShaw-Wilner with the title of honorary member and honorary president.

Dr. Larry DeGroat, 2016-17 president of the Michigan Dental Association, wrote in his nominating letter that he recommended Ms. DeShaw-Wilner for honorary ADA membership without reservations. "Grace has been an integral member of the MDA team for 36 years and has been the strongest advocate for the dentists of Michigan," he said. "Her work in peer review and human resources has been exemplary and essential for both staff and the dentists of Michigan. Grace has been the heart of the MDA by carrying the history, the intent and ultimately the direction of our association and reminding us, encouraging us and helping to point us in appropriate directions."

Dr. Okubo graduated from Nihon University's School of Dentistry in 1966 and opened his clinic the following year. He first became a leader in Japanese dental organizations in 1985, eventually becoming president of the Japan Dental Association in 2006, a role he would continue in for nearly a decade.

One of Dr. Okubu's professional interests is the oral health of seniors. During the last two years of his presidency, he was the driving force behind an effort to study the changing demographics of the Japanese population and its impact on dental health. The culmination of this work was an international conference in Tokyo that addressed the challenges of treating and financing dental care for aging populations in industrialized countries. It was attended by 1,800 participants from 23 countries, and was held with the cooperation of the FDI and World Health Organization.

Dr. Maxine Feinberg, 2014-15 ADA president, wrote in a nominating letter that Dr. Okubo has been a friend and supporter of the ADA throughout his career. "His accomplishments are numerous and he is a respected member of the dental community in his homeland of Japan but is recognized for his contributions throughout the international community," she said. "He has been passionate about improving the oral care of all patients but has been instrumental in calling attention to the needs of the world's growing aging population."