ADA Foundation Award Programs

The ADAF awards program recognizes and supports promising oral health researchers, especially those who are working to expand access to quality dental care in underserved communities.

The 2024 application deadlines for both awards will be announced by May 1, 2024.

The Whiston Leadership Award

The Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award is given each year to recognize a promising individual whose leadership and research excellence have made a substantial contribution to public oral health. This annual $5,000 award, which honors researchers and leaders from diverse backgrounds, enables the winner to attend the ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership. Funds may also support research focused on an oral health issue or challenge within an underserved population or community.

Eligible applicants include dental students, graduate students, residents enrolled in an accredited dental school program, early-career dentists under the age of 40, and dentists in the first 5 years of professional work following residency. In choosing the winning candidate, the award committee explores factors such as community engagement, service to the dental profession, and scientific advancement of public oral health.

Our 2023 award recipients are Dr. Yi-Chu Wu, DDS, MS from Ohio State University College of Dentistry, and Dr. Arifa Bakerywala, DMD, MS, MPA, BDS from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. Send an email to or call 312.440.2763.

The Crest and Oral-B Promising Researcher Award

The ADA Foundation Crest and Oral-B Promising Researcher Award promotes and recognizes excellence in oral health research. This annual award provides $5,000 to a promising researcher focused on preventive dentistry.

Our 2023 award recipients are Dr. Dennis Sourvanos DDS, CTR from the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Dennis Shem DMD from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine.
Eligible candidates may be involved in basic, translational, or clinical research. Award funds will enable the winning candidate to attend one or more scientific conferences to further their knowledge or skills or to present findings. Award funds can be used for expenses such as conference registration fees, travel expenses, meals and lodging.

Degree candidates must conduct oral health research in preventive dentistry while enrolled in one of the following degree programs at an eligible institution:

  • D.D.S. or D.M.D.
  • D.D.S./D.M.D. and Ph.D. dual degree
  • Advanced Dentistry Education
  • Ph.D. or equivalent
  • M.P.H., M.S. or equivalent
  • Foreign equivalent

(For purposes of the award, an eligible institution is defined as an accredited public, nonprofit or privately owned for-profit college, university, vocational school, or post-secondary education institution that is eligible to participate in a student aid program administered by the U.S. Department of Education.)

For questions about the Crest Oral-B Promising Researcher Award, contact Tracey Schilligo, Professional Programs Manager at or 312.440.2763.