Yu Wang - 2017 Dr. D. Walter Cohen Teaching Award Recipient

A self-driven critical thinker who likes to examine issues from multiple perspectives, Dr. Yu Wang believes in the benefits of an interdisciplinary teaching approach. A beneficiary of absorbing the rich academic traditions from University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University, Dr. Wang is well-prepared to offer her students a blended academic philosophy that combines her periodontics training from Columbia University and background in oral surgery.   

“I’ve lived in different countries and taught in a variety of settings, and have learned that the most critical factor of success when engaging with different learners is to embrace diversity. Embracing diversity to me means acknowledging students as individuals and identifying ways for the students to learn best,” says Dr. Wang. She promotes an evidence-based approach to treatment planning and decision making. In addition, Dr. Wang urges her students to think independently in both clinical and didactic settings. “I always encourage my students to challenge themselves and treat each patient with a fresh pair of eyes,” she says.

Dr. Wang is an eclectic learner who loves to multi-task. “I enjoy the balance of my job,” she says. “I do research, clinical teaching, didactic teaching, and administrative work. I believe this experience deepens my knowledge, which I can then impart to my students.”  

Although Dr. Wang loves surgery, she sees periodontology as the foundation of dentistry. She says, “In the predoc clinic, almost every single patient needs to be seen by a periodontist. You need to make sure the teeth have solid periodontium for the success of subsequent interdisciplinary collaboration treatments. Periodontology is one of the most important puzzles in dentistry.”

Of her award, Dr. Wang says, “This scholarship provides significant assistance to me to pursue dental education. It’s very meaningful to receive an award named after the educator who established the University of Pennsylvania’s periodontics program.” Support from the AAP foundation has also allowed Dr. Wang to focus on her study of microbiology, identifying the uncultured potential periodontal pathogens to better understand the cause of the disease.

Dr. Wang wants donors to understand that, “young periodontists who have devoted themselves to academia truly appreciate the chance to focus on education and research. This generosity benefits not only educators and researchers but also dental students and future generations.”  


For More Information

If you have additional questions regarding any AAP Foundation Awards, please contact:

Ariel A. Medoff, MA, MLIS
Awards Coordinator
American Academy of Periodontology Foundation
737 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 800
Chicago, IL 60611
Phone: 800-282-4867, ext. 3254 or 312-573-3254
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Inspiring Stories
Gustavo Avila Ortiz


“I feel better and better each day that I teach. I consider myself a privileged individual for having a job that I love in a wonderful institution. At the same time, having the ability to positively influence the careers and lives of the students with whom I interact makes it feel even better. My own personal experiences as a student helped me understand the importance of mentorship, therefore, I try my best to inspire and support pre- and post-doctoral students alike. I think my progression over the past two years has been tremendous in part because of the peace of mind afforded by the AAP Foundation Teaching Fellowship I was awarded in 2011; I can focus on being the best teacher and researcher I can be without worrying about finances,” says Gustavo Avila-Ortiz, DDS, MS, PhD. 


We are Research

We fund research to keep periodontology at the cutting edge of scientific dentistry. Read more...


We are Education

We ensure the future of periodontology by strengthening future generations. Read more...


We are Visionary

The Visionary Society was launched in 2000 to encourage the gift of future assets. Read more...



Past Award Winners Update

Congratulations to Fatemeh “Flora” Momen-Heravi, DDS, PhD, (2017 Educator Scholar, 2018 Dr. D. Walter Cohen Teaching Award Recipient) assistant professor of dental medicine at the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, who was named the 2020 recipient of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) Anne D. Haffajee Fellowship. The award provides early-career women researchers in the field of oral biology with financial support for training and research activities that will advance their academic careers. Read more here.

©2023 American Academy of Periodontology Foundation. All rights reserved.
737 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 800, Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 787-5518