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Release: Oct. 16, 2001

University of Iowa dental graduates honor alumna, educator of the year

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Dental Alumni Association will present awards to two UI College of Dentistry graduates during the group’s annual meeting Oct. 19-20 in Iowa City.

The dental alumni group and the college have named Eva Dahl, D.D.S., of LaCrosse, Wis., the 2001 Alumna of the Year. Howard Cowen, D.D.S., UI associate professor of preventive and community dentistry, has been named 2001 Educator of the Year. The two honorees will be recognized at an Oct. 19 alumni dinner.

Dahl, a 1976 UI College of Dentistry graduate, is a fourth generation dentist currently practicing with Endodontic Specialists of LaCrosse. Valedictorian and one of only two women in her dental school class, Dahl considered an academic career before deciding to pursue private practice. In addition to her undergraduate and dental degrees, she holds a master's degree in education, a master's in oral pathology and a certificate in endodontics (a branch of dentistry concerned with diseases of the dental pulp).

Dahl remains active in education and is a strong supporter of the UI and its dental school. She is chair-elect of the UI Alumni Association board of directors and previously served as co-chair of the UI College of Dentistry building renovation campaign.

She is a diplomate of the American Board of Endodontics and a fellow of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. She also received fellowships from the American College of Dentists and International College of Dentists, is past president of the American Association of Women Dentists, and served eight years on the Wisconsin Dentistry Examining Board.

Cowen, also a 1976 UI College of Dentistry graduate, directs the college's Special Care Program for elderly and disabled patients. Since joining the UI faculty in 1982, he has directed the award-winning Geriatric Mobile Dental Unit (GMU), which delivers complete dental care to area care facilities and homebound older adults.

Cowen was a U.S. Navy dental officer and private practitioner before beginning his academic career. His teaching focuses on clinical care for patients with special needs. UI dental students have recognized his work with several Teacher of the Year award nominations. He received top teaching honors from fourth-year students in 1993, 1999 and 2000.

He is a fellow of the American Society of Geriatric Dentistry and a member of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry, the International Association of Dental Research, the Iowa Public Health Association and the American Dental Association.

Over the past 20 years, more than 9,000 dental students have completed clinical rotations with the GMU, treating more than 3,500 patients. In 1998, the GMU earned the American Dental Association's top award for geriatric oral health care. The UI College of Dentistry Special Care Program, which includes both the GMU and the Special Care Clinic at the college, received the UI Council on Disabilities Awareness Achievement Award in 2000.