The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) presented its Merle C. Hunter Leadership Award to Norman Tinanoff, DDS, a professor in the Division of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD), during the AAPD General Assembly in Chicago in May.
The annual award recognizes AAPD volunteers who have provided exemplary leadership to the organization during the previous year. Tinanoff has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Pediatric Dentistry since the publication’s inception 40 years ago. He also has been its section editor since 2015 and as acting editor for the past year.
Also, Tinanoff has been a member of the AAPD’s Council on Clinical Affairs, which develops best practice guidelines for pediatric dentists and oral health professionals in general and publishes an official reference manual, Oral Health Policies and Best Practices.
With an interest in dental caries mechanisms, early childhood caries, and fluoride, Tinanoff has been lead author of 12 of the 80 standing policies for topics such as fluoride therapy. Most recently, he took the lead on the 2019 revisions of caries risk assessment and management.
“If there’s an area of research I’m interested in, I will explore it until I am satisfied,” said Tinanoff. “If there is a policy to be considered, I stay focused on that. I never give up. I just persist.”
“Over the span of his distinguished career, Dr. Tinanoff has made countless contributions to the specialty of pediatric dentistry in the areas of leadership, research, education, and service,” said Vineet Dhar, BDS, MDS, PhD, clinical professor and chair of UMSOD’s Department of Orthodontics & Pediatric Dentistry and graduate program director.
“It is his leadership that has put the Pediatric Dentistry Program at University of Maryland on the world map as one of the top programs. It is not a surprise that he is a role model for many pediatric dentists worldwide,” said Dhar.
In addition to continuing his roles with the AAPD and at UMSOD, Tinanoff next will work as associate editor of the 2020 Surgeon General’s Report, which will document progress in oral health since the first Surgeon General’s Report on oral health was published two decades ago.
Travel also is part of his service. In 2007, a trip to Vietnam to bring oral healthcare to children inspired a longtime commitment to “making a small difference in communities in other countries,” Tinanoff said.
For several years, Tinanoff has journeyed to South America in collaboration with the Ecuadent Foundation to treat underserved children. In family, he and colleagues from UMSOD spent 10 days in Salinas, Ecuador, each treating about 20 young patients a day. Next year, he hopes to bring UMSOD predoctoral students on his next trip, where they will assist in treatment.
Tinanoff also is the recipient of the 2015 University of Maryland Public Service Award for his role in creating legislation that significantly improved the oral health of children in the state. In the early 2000s, he and other advocates developed and supported nine state bills that eventually were passed and expanded access to oral healthcare.