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30 Nov 2011 | Australasian Dental Practice

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Australian awarded global dental education prize

Awards and accolades

The Dean of the University of Adelaide School of Dentistry, Professor Johann de Vries, has been awarded the most prestigious global prize in dental education.


Professor de Vries is the first Australian, and only the second non-North American, to receive the the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Gies Foundation Award for Vision, Innovation and Achievement.

Only four people worldwide have been selected to receive 2012 awards for dental education from the ADEAGies Foundation, which evokes the legacy of William J. Gies (1872-1956), a US biochemist and dental education pioneer who established the American Association of Dental Schools in the early 1900s.

Nine awards in total were announced last week to individuals, institutions and industry for their outstanding contribution to dentistry.

Professor de Vries is a member of the National Advisory Council on Dental Health for the Federal Government on the future of dentistry in Australia. He is also the current President of the Australasian Council of Dental Schools, a member of the Australian Dental Council and is on the review panel for Health Workforce Australia, examining the scope of practice for dental hygienists, dental therapists and oral health therapists.

Professor de Vries is also a member of a number of boards, including at King Saud University, International Medical University and King's College London, as well as being a Visiting Professor at the latter.

The American Dental Education Association is the "voice of dental education". Its members include all US and Canadian dental schools and many allied and advanced dental education programs, corporations, faculty and students. The mission of ADEA is to lead individuals and institutions of the dental education community to address contemporary issues influencing education, research, and the delivery of oral health care for the health of the public.

The William J. Gies (pronounced guys) Foundation was established in 1950 by colleagues and admirers of Dr Gies with seed funds raised by the American College of Dentists. It was a private foundation and the first U.S. foundation to support dental education and scholarship. In 2002, it joined with the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) to form ADEAGies Foundation, a public foundation.

William Gies was a Columbia University biochemistry professor and founder of the College of Dental Medicine at Columbia University where he was interested in dental education, science, and clinical applications. In 1926, as part of a series of studies on U.S. professional education funded by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Dr Gies published a landmark report that established the importance of dentistry as a healing science and an essential component of higher education in the health professions.

The Gies Awards will be presented at a highly anticipated celebration in conjunction with the 2012 American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Annual Session & Exhibition, which will be held March 17-21 at the Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando, Florida. Professor de Vries will travel to the United States in March 2012 to receive his award in person.

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