May 2019
Volume 40, Issue 5

Advancing the Cause of Periodontology

Dana Camacho, MS, CFRE

Dental professionals are all too familiar with the cost of dental education. This is especially so for anyone who chooses to specialize. Today's periodontology graduates are likely to accumulate nearly half a million dollars of student debt by the time they finish their residencies. This overwhelming liability makes the decision to pursue an academic path an especially difficult one, despite the passion a student may have for teaching and research.

The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) Foundation has been making that decision easier for well-qualified candidates for 28 years. Through its complement of 14 awards to 25 people and five institutions, the AAP Foundation distributes nearly $500,000 annually to help defray the costs of student debt and enhance periodontal education.

By attracting and retaining the best and brightest students who are committed to an academic career, the AAP Foundation is ensuring that future periodontists are taught by periodontists. The organization is helping to make sure that tomorrow's dentists understand when to refer and assuring that the pipeline of periodontists will remain full. It is also seeing to it that periodontology remains on the cutting edge of scientific dentistry. The discoveries that AAP Foundation researchers are making today will impact how periodontology is practiced tomorrow. These researchers continuously learn new things, and this information sheds light on even more material that needs to be discovered.

Research awards the AAP Foundation bestows include:

• Richard J. Lazzara Fellowship In Advanced Implant Surgery, $50,000-Sponsored by Zimmer Biomet, this fellowship provides educational and clinical experiences that reflect the most current techniques in implant dentistry.

• Volpe Basic Science Research Fellowship, $20,000-Created from a donation by Colgate-Palmolive Co., this fellowship offers personal funding and support to individuals who may be facing educational debt while striving to establish themselves in an academic role.

• Nevins Teaching and Clinical Research Fellowship and Nevins BioHorizons Fellowship, $20,000-This fellowship was created to address the retention of top periodontal clinical researchers and educators early in their careers and is intended to supplement the fellow's income.

• Dr. James T. Mellonig Regeneration Research Award, $10,000-This award recognizes excellence in original research by a resident or recent graduate in the specialty of periodontics that advances clinical therapies in periodontal regeneration.

• Patty and Paul Levi Research Award, $5,000-Eligibility includes predoctoral students being mentored by a periodontal faculty member in a dental school that has a postdoctoral periodontal program.

• AAP Foundation Schoor Research Award, $2,000-Named in memory of Dr. Robert S. Schoor, a champion of periodontal education and students, this award supports resident research in the field of periodontology.

In addition, the $50,000 AAP Teaching Fellowships support young periodontal educators in their commitment to a career in academia by providing debt relief to a qualified applicant. Also, the $25,000 AAP Educator Scholarships provide financial relief to a student pursuing a career as a full-time teacher at a US periodontal program.

The Need for Support

The AAP Foundation cannot accomplish this endeavor alone. Currently, about 20% of AAP membership supports the AAP Foundation. Approximately half of the funds it raises come from concerned individuals, and the other half from generous corporate partners. To maintain and expand its programs, the organization must secure even more funding.

The AAP and AAP Foundation are two distinct organizations, with the AAP Foundation being a separate, 501(c)3 charitable institute dedicated solely to supporting periodontal education. All gifts to the AAP Foundation are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.

The AAP Foundation is the only charitable institution dedicated exclusively to the needs of periodontists and their patients. Readers can learn more about the organization at periofoundation.org. Visitors to the website can peruse the complete lists of awards the organization offers, read the success stories of past award recipients, and see who participates in leading the AAP Foundation.

Finally, please consider how much dentistry has done for you, your career, and your family, and consider a commitment to the AAP Foundation by making a donation today. Donations can be made online at periofoundation.org or by calling the AAP Foundation office at 312-573-3257 for assistance.

To carry out its educational mission, the AAP Foundation needs the participation of everyone who cares about periodontology. On behalf of the organization, thank you!

About the Author

Dana Camacho, MS, CFRE
Director of Development, AAP Foundation,
Chicago, Illinois

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