Awards, Periodontology, Students

Byrd Selected as Recipient of National Educator Scholarship

Kevin Byrd, DDS, has been selected as a 2017 recipient of the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) Foundation’s prestigious Educator Scholarship. The award was presented at the AAP Foundation Signature Recognition Event, was held recently in Boston, Mass. at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

“To have been selected for the 2017 AAP Educator Scholarship is an incredible honor for me,” said Byrd, a post-doc research associate and current program resident. “Through vital awards like this one, the AAP Foundation has supported and helped to retain so many active educators that I know and respect. By generously providing these awards, the AAP Foundation directly stimulates ‘basic and clinical research to generate new knowledge,’ and enhances ‘educational programs at all levels to create opportunities in periodontal education and practice,’ which are the key tenants of their mission that I believe this award positively impacts. I look forward to furthering my partnership with the AAP and the AAP Foundation as I continue my training, and will earnestly look for ways to give back to the dental academic community through education, research and service.”

As a recipient of this award, Byrd received $25,000 to assist with tuition and living expenses as he completes his residency in the school’s Graduate Program in Periodontology. The AAP takes a holistic look at applicants’ qualifications and annually honors one to two exceptional students who plan to pursue careers as full-time educators in periodontology.

“Kevin has been an exemplary student,” said Associate Dean for Advanced Dental Education Ceib Phillips, PhD, MPH. “He has consistently demonstrated his passion and aptitude for research, having received a K08 award from NIDCR while still a PhD candidate. At the same time, Kevin has served as a tutor for DDS students and a guest lecturer in graduate courses, mentored undergraduate students in research projects, and acted as a peer mentor in the PhD program receiving the Patrick M. Flood Leadership Award in 2016. Importantly, he possesses the characteristics valued as an educator and mentor of warmth, caring, high ethical standards, and a willingness to help others succeed.”

Byrd is pursuing two advanced dental education programs currently at the UNC School of Dentistry: a certificate from the school’s Graduate Program in Periodontology in addition to a PhD in the UNC Oral and Craniofacial Biomedicine Program. Currently, he is finishing his PhD in the lab of Dr. Scott Williams in the UNC School of Medicine’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. Byrd’s research is focused on characterizing oral epithelial stem and progenitor cells and how their regulation contributes to wound healing and oral squamous cell carcinomas.

Byrd has published two peer-reviewed articles during his PhD, been the recipient of numerous clinical honors and awards, and holds various professional affiliations and memberships. His research has been supported by the NIH, including: 1) the Training Program for the Next Generation of Oral Health Researchers (T90); 2) an NIH/NIDCR Loan Repayment Program award, and 3) a five-year Mentored Clinical Scientist Research Career Development Award (K08).

Photo: Dr. Byrd (right) with colleagues after winning the fellowship.