UW School of Dentistry

Dr. Peter Milgrom receives ADA’s highest research honor

Peter MilgromDr. Peter Milgrom of Oral Health Sciences has received the Norton M. Ross Award for Excellence in Clinical Research, the American Dental Association’s highest such honor. The award, established in 1991, honors those who have “made significant contributions in clinical investigations that have advanced the diagnosis, treatment, and/or prevention of craniofacial-oral-dental diseases, as well as outstanding research endeavors in other areas.”

Dr. Milgrom joins Dr. Roy Page and Dr. Samuel Dworkin in the ranks of UW dental faculty who have received the award. Only the dental faculties at Harvard and the University of North Carolina, with four each, have more Ross Award recipients. The 1994 winner at UNC, Dr. William R. Proffit, received his degree in orthodontics from the UW.

“It’s a huge honor to be recognized by your peers and to know that my work for those who face disparities in oral health – poor children and their families, mentally ill, and the fearful – has helped a lot of people and contributed to dentistry,” Dr. Milgrom said. “The award also speaks eloquently of the strengths of the University of Washington – where I have been a member of the faculty since 1974 – and our community. International-level clinical research is a team effort, and my colleagues and students in the Northwest Center to Reduce Oral Health Disparities, the Schools of Dentistry and Public Health, and our funders at NIDCR and HRSA deserve much acclaim.”

Dr. Milgrom has established an international reputation as a researcher, teacher and dental public health advocate, with a legion of accomplishments that include the founding of the Northwest Center and the Dental Fears Research Clinic, which is now 30 years old. He also wrote a standard textbook on dental phobias, Treating Fearful Dental Patients.

Together with Dr. Peter Domoto, former UW Chair of Pediatric Dentistry, he created Washington state’s much-lauded Access to Baby and Child Dentistry program, which seeks to improve access to care for low-income children. In addition to his work on dental fears, he has drawn wide attention for his research on early childhood caries. Most recently, his studies on the caries-inhibiting effects of xylitol syrup among children in the Marshall Islands drew worldwide notice.

Dr. Milgrom was nominated for the award by Dr. Doug Ramsay, Chair of Oral Health Sciences, who cited his colleague’s work on the epidemiology of dental fear, singling out Dr. Milgrom’s studies of behavioral and pharmacological interventions.

In addition to the $5,000 that comes with the award, Dr. Milgrom will be recognized with a commemorative plaque at a luncheon Oct. 20 during the ADA annual sessions in San Francisco.