December 16, 2013

Dr. Beirne, Dr. Johnson receive Rothwell teaching awards

Dr. O. Ross Beirne of the UW Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Dr. Glen Johnson of the UW Department of Restorative Dentistry have received the 2013 Bruce R. Rothwell Distinguished Teaching Awards, the School of Dentistry’s highest teaching honor.

Dr. O. Ross Beirne (center) receives the Bruce R. Rothwell Lifetime Achievement Award from Dr. Mark Drangsholt and Dr. Patricia Rothwell.

Dr. O. Ross Beirne (center) receives the Bruce R. Rothwell Lifetime Achievement Award from Dr. Mark Drangsholt and Dr. Patricia Rothwell.

Dr. Beirne received the Rothwell Lifetime Achievement Award, while Dr. Johnson received the Rothwell Distinguished Teacher Award for outstanding and innovative teaching. The awards were presented during the School’s faculty retreat at the Husky Union Building on Dec. 13.

Dr. Beirne, who chaired his department for 11 years until stepping down in 2010 to devote more time to teaching and patient care, was cited for an unobtrusive, effective teaching style that gives students the leeway to learn without constant intervention. He received his DMD from Harvard University in 1972 and a PhD in biochemistry from the University of California at San Francisco in 1976.

Expressing his gratitude with great emotion, Dr. Beirne said, “It’s wonderful to be recognized for something you love doing.”

Dr. Glen Johnson (center) receives the Bruce R. Rothwell Distinguished Teacher Award from Dr. Mark Drangsholt and Dr. Patricia Rothwell.

Dr. Glen Johnson (center) receives the Bruce R. Rothwell Distinguished Teacher Award from Dr. Mark Drangsholt and Dr. Patricia Rothwell.

Dr. Johnson, who has taught restorative dentistry for more than 32 years at the UW, received his DDS from the UW in 1978. The selection committee cited wide praise for his teaching method of focusing not only on getting students to learn how a procedure is done, but why.

“I feel like one of the luckiest guys around, to be part of this process,” Dr. Johnson said. “I feel like I’ve given some, but I’ve gained so much.”

The Rothwell awards are named for the late Dr. Bruce R. Rothwell, who was Chair of Restorative Dentistry at the UW from 1993 until his death from kidney cancer in 2000 at the age of 52. Renowned as a forensic dentist, he served as a consultant to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office and in the 1980s worked with UW colleague Dr. Tom Morton to identify victims in the Green River serial murder case.   He was posthumously honored by the American Society of Forensic Odontology.

Dr. Rothwell also directed the School of Dentistry’s General Practice Residency program and was noted for his expertise in teaching, research and care of medically compromised patients. He devised Rothwell’s Solution, a painkilling mouthwash still in use to help patients undergoing radiation and chemotherapy for mouth cancers.

The awards were presented by Dr. Patricia Rothwell, who was married to Dr. Rothwell for 16 years, and Dr. Mark Drangsholt, Chair of the UW Department of Oral Medicine and chair of the selection committee.

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