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Release: June 1, 2001

Nowak honored with American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry's highest award

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Arthur J. Nowak, D.M.D., University of Iowa professor emeritus of pediatric dentistry and pediatrics, has received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the highest honor bestowed by the organization.

The award has been given only six times in the 54-year history of the AAPD. Presented by the organization’s board of trustees, it recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions on a national or international level to the improvement of children’s health, advocacy for children or a health profession related to children. Nowak received the award at the AAPD’s annual meeting in May.

"The highest honor one can receive comes from peers," Nowak said. "I’m really excited to be recognized by the academy and its members."

Nowak retired last year after nearly 30 years as a faculty member with the UI. Throughout his career, he has emphasized the importance of dental care for infants and young children as part of a comprehensive health care program. He also has focused on caring for patients with special needs, such as people with disabilities and others who may lack access to dental treatment.

"Art Nowak has been a tireless champion of young children and others who sometimes face barriers to getting the health care they need," said Michael Kanellis, D.D.S., UI associate professor and head of pediatric dentistry. "He has been instrumental in building the university’s programs in pediatric dentistry and dental public health, and has been a mentor and friend to generations of students and faculty members."

Nowak received his dental degree in 1961 from the University of Pittsburgh, then earned a certificate in pediatric dentistry and a master’s degree from Columbia University. He served on the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh and directed the pediatric dentistry residency program at Allegheny General Hospital before joining the UI faculty in 1973. He also was an officer in the U.S. Navy Dental Corps from 1961 until 1987, retiring at the rank of captain.

While at the UI, Nowak coordinated dental care for the State Specialized Health Services for Children, supervised dental programs at the University Hospital School, and was director of pediatric dentistry for the Department of Hospital Dentistry at the UI Hospitals and Clinics. He also directed the pediatric dentistry graduate program and the UI College of Dentistry and was promoted to the rank of professor in 1977. He received a dual appointment in the UI College of Medicine Department of Pediatrics in 1984.

Among Nowak’s many publications, service activities, professional memberships and awards are unit commendation from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Maternal and Child Health, commendation from the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and commendation from the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation. Nowak also has held seven distinguished visiting professorships at various institutions and was elected president of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry in 1991 and president of the AAPD in 1996.

Following his retirement, the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the UI College of Dentistry established a visiting professorship in Nowak’s name. The professorship brings top scholars to campus each year for work with students and dental professionals.

The AAPD is the national membership organization representing the specialty of pediatric dentistry. Its 4,300 members are dedicated to improving the oral health of infants, children, adolescents and patients with special health care needs.

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