The ADEAGies Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), has named the University of Connecticut (UConn) School of Dental Medicine the winner of the 2016 William J. Gies Award for Outstanding Achievement by an Academic Dental Institution. The award is named for dental education pioneer William J. Gies.

“We are truly honored to be the recipient of this prestigious, national award,” said Dr R.L. Monty MacNeil, dean of the UConn School of Dental Medicine. “It is a cooperative achievement, and all faculty, trainees, and graduates of the program since its inception have made significant contributions and should share in our pride. The award extends beyond the dental school and includes the Graduate School and our valued faculty colleagues in the School of Medicine.”

The school has more than 70 full-time faculty, 110 staff, and 167 dental students. Founded in 1968, it has issued 1,585 dental medical degrees since its first graduating class of 1972. The school offers a full range of clinical dental services and last year provided care for nearly 75,000 dental patients.

The Gies Award for Outstanding Achievement by an Academic Dental Institution recognizes worthy and socially commendable actions that make a substantial contribution to oral health and dental education. The accomplishments of UConn’s Skeletal Biology and Regeneration Program were highlighted in the nomination.

The Skeletal Biology and Regeneration Program, one of the seven areas of concentration in the Biomedical Science PhD Program at UConn Health, is a multidisciplinary program that collaborates with basic science departments and centers across the Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine.

Formerly known as the Skeletal Craniofacial and Oral Biology Program, it was developed in 1980 and was one of the first programs established in the United States dedicated to advancing academic dentistry by educating and preparing outstanding and dedicated leaders in dental education, according to a news release from the school.

“The UConn School of Dental Medicine was considered a pioneer at the time for introducing the DMD/PhD training track,” says Dr Mina Mina, professor and chair of the Division of Pediatric Dentistry, Department of Craniofacial Sciences, and a graduate of the program. “Our alumni have made an impact on the academic world by becoming successful researchers and educators not only in dental institutions but also in medical and graduate schools.”

Dr Caroline Dealy, director of the Skeletal Biology and Regeneration Graduate Program, says, “The program has made a tremendous impact on training academic dentists and continues to educate the next generation of scientific scholars and health care practitioners.”

The Gies Award will be presented to UConn on March 14, 2016, at the ADEA’s Annual Session and Exhibition in Denver, Colo.