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Dr. H. Berton McCauley Receives Dean's Achievement Award

Written by Adam Zewe

H. Berton McCauley, DDS '36, has been honored with the 2012 Dean's Achievement Award. The award recognizes a leader who has had an enduring effect on the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD), the local community and the dental profession.

Throughout his life and career, Dr. McCauley has been a dental and public health advocate in Baltimore and throughout the nation. He has also been an integral part of the UMSOD family, as a faculty member, generous donor, historian and leader.

Dr. McCauley was born on Dec. 20, 1913, in Duluth, Minn. He graduated from UMSOD in 1936 and entered part-time private practice in Baltimore. While in practice, Dr. McCauley returned to teach at UMSOD, serving as the first full-time instructor of oral roentgenology. After completing postgraduate training at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Dr. McCauley worked in Rochester's radiology department. While at Rochester, Dr. McCauley consulted on the Manhattan Project in 1943 and led an investigation into the biological effects of fluoride gas exposure. He discovered that exposure to fluoride gas actually improves bone structure.

Dr. McCauley's early research played an instrumental role in the widespread fluoridation of public drinking water. He participated in the first study of U.S. drinking water fluoridation, after the practice was adopted in Grand Rapids, Mich., in the late 1940s. Dr. McCauley brought his expertise back to Baltimore, where he served as director of dental care in the Baltimore City Health Department from 1949 through 1975. Under his leadership, and after a three-year battle with opponents, Baltimore's water supply was fluoridated in 1952. During his tenure, he also instituted an extensive dental care program for children. Dr. McCauley continued to be a dynamic public health advocate, first as a health advisor to the Office of the Mayor from 1975 through 1977, then as a general health administrator until his retirement in 1980.

During his career and after his retirement, Dr. McCauley has remained a true friend of UMSOD. He served as a member of the Board of Visitors from 1997 to 2002. Dr. McCauley has supported the school as a committed donor, and has been a vital contributor to the preservation of both school and dental history.

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