Press Releases

Mary Otto Named 2020 Recipient of AADR Honorary Membership

Alexandria, Va., USAMay 6, 2020 – The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) announced Mary Otto, Washington, DC, USA is the 2020 recipient of AADR’s Honorary Membership.

Otto is the Association of Health Care Journalists topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America.” Her work and advocacy has helped to place oral health matters at the forefront of legislators’ minds for over a decade.

She began writing about oral health at The Washington Post, where she covered social issues, including health care and poverty, for eight years. She serves as AHCJ’s core topic leader on oral health. In 2007, she wrote about 12-year-old Deamonte Driver, a Maryland child covered by Medicaid who died after bacteria from a dental infection spread to his brain. The death of the boy spurred congressional hearings, a revamping of Maryland’s Medicaid dental system and increased attention to oral health access for Medicaid children nationwide.

Otto spent an academic year as a 2009-10 Knight Science Journalism Fellow studying oral health and public health at Harvard University. Her ongoing exploration of barriers to dental care in poor communities has been assisted by a California Endowment Dennis A. Hunt Fund grant. Otto has continued to write about oral health and other health and social issues as a freelance writer for the Post, as a contributing writer for an online publication for oral health professionals called, and as the editor of Street Sense, a newspaper produced and sold by homeless men and women in Washington, D.C. (@mottomatic)

AADR Honorary Membership is granted by the three most recent living AADR past presidents who are no longer serving on the Board and given to a person who has made significant contributions to and/or supports dental, oral and craniofacial research.

Due to the cancellation of the 2020 IADR/AADR/CADR General Session, the award was given locally.

About the American Association for Dental Research

The American Association for Dental Research (AADR) is a nonprofit organization with nearly 3,400 individual members whose mission is to drive dental, oral and craniofacial research to advance health and well-being. AADR is the largest Division of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR). To learn more, visit