The specialty of orthodontics was born of 3 ingredients: a school (the Angle School in 1900), an organization (the American Society of Orthodontists in 1901 and then the Alumni Society of the Angle School of Orthodontia in 1905), and a journal (the American Orthodontist in 1907) in which the specialty’s interests and science would be recorded. Before this time, orthodontics did not have much identity, no real organization, and no particular direction. Of course, the person who gave the specialty purpose, focus, and strength in the beginning years was Edward H. Angle.

Despite the promise of the new specialty and its determined leader, the early history of orthodontics was not a time of great unity and progress. Angle resigned from the American Society of Orthodontists in 1907, the Angle School in New London closed in 1911, the American Orthodontist ceased publication that same year, and the last meeting of the Alumni Society of the Angle School of Orthodontia was held in 1913. In those early years and over the next decade or so, there was much debate and turmoil over appliances, treatment strategies (eg, extraction vs nonextraction), and the principles of orthodontics that needed to be adhered to.

In the 1930s and 1940s, things began to change for the better. The American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics was up and running and was considered successful; a number of schools of orthodontics were operating, including some attached to universities; and the American Society of Orthodontists had reorganized into the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) in 1934. It is true that we had lost Dr Angle (in 1930), but many strong and principled men had stepped up into leadership positions; they were often referred to as the “early pioneers of orthodontics.” The specialty now had some organization and some history, and it began to develop and define the qualities and achievements that it valued and admired.

During the early years, the specialty had no significant awards; beyond kind words, a fine banquet, and election to office, there was little or no formal significant reward, prize, honorable recognition, or award for accomplishment. That would soon change. In 1936, shortly after establishing itself, the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) created the Albert H. Ketcham Memorial Award and made its first award to John Valentine Mershon in 1937. This award was meant to honor Dr Ketcham, an important early orthodontic pioneer, and was given to a person who had made a notable contribution to the art and science of orthodontics.

The creation of more awards and honors would follow as the specialty and its related organizations grew in numbers and dimensions, and continually identified and defined its values.

  • Milo Hellman Research Award (AAO, 1944; originally the Research Essay Prize, renamed in 1957; research)

  • John Valentine Mershon Lecture (AAO, 1960)

  • James E. Brophy Distinguished Service Award (AAO, 1963; originally the Distinguished Service Award, renamed in 1986; service)

  • Harry Sicher Research Award (AAO, 1968; originally the First Research Essay Award, renamed in 1976; entry-level research)

  • Thomas M. Graber Award of Special Merit (AAO, 1971; originally the Award of Merit, renamed in 2002; entry-level research)

  • Joseph E. Johnson Clinical Award (AAO, 1980; table clinic)

  • Louise Ada Jarabak Memorial International Teaching and Research Award (AAO Foundation, 1983; research and teaching)

  • O. B. Vaughn Special Recognition Award (1984, ABO; originally the Special Recognition Award, renamed in 2011; education and furthering the ideals of the ABO)

  • Jacob A. Salzmann Lecture (AAO Foundation, 1986)

  • Earl E. and Wilma S. Shepard Distinguished Service Award (ABO, 1987; advancement of the ABO)

  • Edward H. Angle Lecture (AAO, 1998; originally the Heritage Lecture, renamed in 2006)

  • Dale B. Wade Award of Excellence (ABO, 2001; clinical excellence and devoted teaching)

  • Charley Schultz Resident Scholar Award (AAO, 2004; poster presentation)

  • Eugene and Pauline Blair Award (AAO Foundation, 2006; service to the Foundation)

  • Humanitarian Award (AAO, 2011; service to others)

Of course, such a listing does not include many awards and honors given by this Journal , the components and constituents of the AAO, and other related organizations. There are awards associated with university and dental programs, and many others.

With all the awards now in place, one might wonder whether another one is really necessary. During this past year, in compiling information for a Journal editorial entitled “Author! Author!” (Behrents RG. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 2015;148:1-3), I was impressed by the number and quality of people from the United States and abroad who have supported the specialty over their lifetimes of work in research. Some were orthodontists and some were not. They all performed research and wrote numerous scholarly articles and in so doing had greatly contributed to the advancement of the specialty. After decades of work, it seemed fitting that there should be some form of accolade available to celebrate their lifetime of contributions to the specialty. This idea was presented to the AAO Board of Trustees, and it supported the creation a new award. Therefore, the AAO and the AJO-DO are pleased to announce the establishment of a new award: the Lifetime Achievement Award for Orthodontic Research (AAO, 2015; first award to be made in 2017).

Nominations from AAO members will be received on the AAO Web site; the details and criteria for the award are available there. Nominees should be those who have made significant contributions to the science related to the specialty of orthodontics. Their research would be considered original, outstanding, or innovative. Additional consideration will also be given to those who have established a legacy of research and discovery that is inspiring to the academic community. Likewise, it is important that the nominee has produced information that is useful, or potentially useful, in advancing the practice of orthodontics.

Nominees do not need to be orthodontists, nor do they have to be United States citizens or members of the AAO. Posthumous awards will not be made. At the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief of the AJO-DO , the editors of other orthodontic journals (national and international) may be asked to make nominations for this award as well; this is an international award.

Nominations must be accompanied by a letter of nomination and support and by a curriculum vitae or resume highlighting the nominee’s contributions with regard to research; a short summary of the lifetime achievements of the nominee in orthodontic research is also required. Nominations for this first year must be received by March 31, 2016. The first awardee will be selected in Orlando during the 2016 Annual Session, and the first award will be made in San Diego during the 2017 Annual Session.

Awards are important because they are a perfect tool for peers to judge a person’s capabilities and contributions. Awards inform everyone that one’s work is of high quality and important. Awards contribute to the identity of the winner and redound to the wisdom of the organization that gives the award. But, most important of all, awards inspire new standards of excellence.

The time will come when diligent research over long periods will bring to light things which now lie hidden. A single lifetime, even though entirely devoted to the sky, would not be enough for the investigation of so vast a subject. … And so this knowledge will be unfolded only through long successive ages. There will come a time when our descendants will be amazed that we did not know things that are so plain to them. … Many discoveries are reserved for ages still to come, when memory of us will have been effaced.

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Apr 6, 2017 | Posted by in Orthodontics | Comments Off on Awards

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