John Greene, DDS, Dean Emeritus of the University of California, San Francisco School of Dentistry and former Deputy Surgeon General of the United States, was honored with the Distinguished Service Award by the American Dental Education Association (ADEA).
The award was presented in March at the opening ceremonies of the ADEA Annual Session in Chicago. The award recognizes the contributions of outstanding individuals to the dental education community, and Greene's career reflects extraordinary achievements for both dental education and public health. This is only the fifth time in ADEA's 78-year history that this honor has been bestowed.
Greene has served the dental community in many capacities including the UCSF Chancellor's Task Force on Health Care Reform, the NIH Advisory Committee on Research on Women's Health and the Advisory Committee for the UCSF Center for the Health Professions.
Since retiring as Dean of the UCSF School of Dentistry in 1994, Greene has continued to study the health effects of the use of spit (smokeless) tobacco, particularly among professional baseball players. Baseball legend Joe Garagiola participated in the ADEA award presentation and discussed his work with Greene on the Oral Health America's National Spit Tobacco Education Program as well as efforts to educate the public on the dangers of using spit tobacco.
Greene also serves as chair of the International Association for Dental Research Ad Hoc Committee on Tobacco and works with dentists around the world. He is presently organizing an international conference for the group in June, 2001.
In addition to the ADEA Distinguished Service Award, Greene has received numerous other awards and honors. He recently received UCSF's highest award, the UCSF Medal. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine and has served two terms on its Governing Council. He is a Fellow of the American and International Colleges of Dentists, the Academy of Dentistry International, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Greene has more than 100 publications on dental education, the epidemiology of periodontal diseases and birth defects, and the health effects of the use of spit tobacco. He is the only non-physician to serve as U.S. Deputy Surgeon Genera.
UCSF School of Dentistry Dean Charles N. Bertolami, DDS, DMedSc, said, "This national recognition by the ADEA of former Dean Greene honors both UCSF and Greene's professional efforts to improve the oral health of young people and adults throughout the country. It also reminds each of us that one person's efforts can make a significant change in habits which could affect the quality of our lives."
When asked what plans for community service he has for the spring season, Greene responded: "On April 2, I'll be going to opening day at the ball park to see the Giants play ball and to watch which ones are using tobacco."