Gustavo 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.

Dr. Avila-Ortiz is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Periodontics at the University of Iowa College of Dentistry and a 2011 AAP Teaching Fellow. Dr. Avila-Ortiz completed his DDS and PhD in his hometown of Granada, Spain, before moving to Michigan to attain his MS and certificate in Periodontics.

Currently, Dr. Avila-Ortiz’s research spans a number of clinical topics, including alveolar ridge preservation, surgical and restorative outcomes of implant therapy, the influence of different local and systemic factors on the outcomes of implant site development procedures and the link between systemic diseases and peri-implantitis. He directs the didactic periodontal course for first-year dental students and a periodontal literature review seminar for periodontal residents. He also participates as a lecturer in several courses in Periodontics and one in Oral Epidemiology. He participates as a seminar leader in a problem-based learning session for second-year students, and regularly supervises the clinical activities of third and fourth-year predoctoral students and periodontal residents. Dr. Avila-Ortiz also maintains an intramural private practice restricted to Periodontics and Oral Implantology. He is the current Chair of the AAP Foundation New Century Committee and the President of the Local AADR, Iowa section. He is also a visiting professor of the Master in Oral Implantology at the University of Sevilla (Spain).

Dr. Avila-Ortiz is happily married to his wife, Irene, since September 2011. After getting married, she came to the U.S. permanently. Between the expenses of home buying and application fees for permanent residency, Dr. Avila-Ortiz acknowledges that the financial aspect of the award was extremely helpful at a critical period of his life. In addition, he says, “This award helps me to feel supported to pursue excellence in all I do: teaching, research, administration, and patient care. I feel this award comes with a certain level of expectation, and I am very motivated to exceed those expectations.”

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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.

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