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Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine’s Rick Biethman, DMD, is among four honorees to receive the 2017 Olav Alvares Award for Early Career Scholars Who Published Outstanding Articles in the Journal of Dental Education.

His article “Screening for Diabetes in a Dental School Clinic to Assess Interprofessional Communication Between Physicians and Dental Students” earned the award.

biethman rickAn assistant professor in the SDM Department of Restorative Dentistry, Biethman received the award at the American Dental Education Association Annual Session in Orlando on Monday, March 19. The four awardees were recognized as part of the Political Spotlight Plenary Session. Each awardee receives a certificate and a check for $250.

JDE editors annually select four authors of outstanding articles written (as sole or first author) by an assistant professor, instructor, resident or student. Dr. Olav Alvares established the awards when he was JED editor from 2000 to 2009 to honor junior scholars who conduct and publish outstanding research. After his retirement, the awards were named for him to acknowledge his efforts in supporting the research of early career scholars in dental education.

Biethman takes pride in the award both personally and professionally. “This award is significant to me personally, because the article shares my belief that dentists have a role to play in our patients overall health,” he said. “Successful dental care begins with a holistic view of a patients overall health. It is impossible to stop decay and periodontal disease in a patient who has underlying medical problems that are not being treated. Dentists are often the only source of contact for some patients within the medical community. The article demonstrated that dentists could successfully recognize and screen for diabetes. It also demonstrated that a majority of the patients will act on a dental recommendation to seek follow-up care with a physician.”

SDM Dean Bruce Rotter, DMD, also noted the award’s significance.

“Anytime that an outside agency acknowledges a faculty member’s outstanding work, it is a wonderful reflection on the School,” Rotter said. “Additionally, Dr. Biethman’s work demonstrates another way that dentistry fits into the interdisciplinary medical practice model. This model has been moved forward on a federal level as a best practice and has been adopted in medical education, as well.”

Biethman is a Prairie Du Rocher native and 1980 SDM alum, who joined the SDM faculty in 2010 as a part-time clinical instructor. He became a full-time assistant professor in 2012 in the Department of Restorative Dentistry.