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Former dean wins ADA Gold Medal for research

Dr. Martha Somerman Dr. Martha Somerman, who was dean of the School of Dentistry from 2002 to 2011, has become the first woman to win the American Dental Association’s Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Dental Research.

The award honors individuals who have helped advance the profession of dentistry or improve the oral health of the public through basic or clinical research. Established in 1985, the award is presented every three years and is sponsored by the ADA and Colgate.

Dr. Somerman, who came to the school from the University of Michigan, left to become director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research at the National Institutes of Health. During her deanship at the UW, the school launched the Regional Initiatives in Dental Education program, which has been extraordinarily successful.

She has also received the Geis Award, one of dental education’s top honors, from the American Academy of Periodontology and the Distinguished Scientist Award for Research in Oral Biology from the International Association for Dental Research. In the spring of 2011, she received the Harvard School of Dental Medicine’s top honor, the Goldhaber Award.