Distinguished Public Service Alumni Award: Louis G. DePaola, DDS ’75, MS ’84

Louis G DePaola, DDS, MSThis award recognizes a graduate for meritorious professional leadership and service to the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) and the community. The 2021 recipient is Louis G. DePaola, DDS ’75, MS ’84, in recognition of his dedication to maintaining exemplary standards of dental patient care, training the next generation of oral health professionals at the highest levels, and advancing and innovating infection control protocols in oral health clinics.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, DePaola majored in biology. In 1975, he received a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from UMSOD; and, in 1984, he received a Master of Science degree in oral biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) as well as a certificate of prosthodontics from UMSOD. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Oral Medicine and the American College of Dentists.

DePaola began his career as an educator in 1977 as a clinical instructor in what was then UMSOD’s Department of Oral Diagnosis. Throughout the late ’70s and ’80s, he rose through the academic ranks becoming in 1999 a professor in the Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences. During those years, he also served in a variety of administrative positions including as director of the school’s Emergency Clinic, chief of Clinical Operations, assistant dean of Clinical Affairs, and, since 2017, associate dean of Clinical Affairs. In that capacity, he is responsible for staffing, patient admission and flow, instrumentation, and adherence to all federal and local guidelines.

His expertise shone particularly brightly in the past year, as the extent and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic became evident. In a matter of weeks in early 2020, he spearheaded the transformation of UMSOD’s clinics as myriad new protocols aimed at ensuring the safety of patients, students, faculty, and staff were put into place. 

DePaola’s commitment to improving dental education, patient care, and infection control extends beyond the UMB campus. He serves as director for dental training for the Mid-Atlantic AIDS Education and Training Center and, from 2002-05, was a member of the American Dental Association’s Council of Scientific Affairs. From 1998 to 2002, he worked with the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research, Division of Extramural Research of the National Institutes of Health helping to develop dental treatment guidelines and infection control practices aimed at protecting patients and practitioners from the transmission of infectious diseases.  

DePaola also is a dental and infection control consultant for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of Maryland Department of Corrections. Additionally, since 2015, he has served on the Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners.

A familiar face on the lecture circuit, he has presented nationally and internationally and has authored and co-authored more than 130 journal articles, book chapters, and abstracts.

Over the past 20 years, he has been awarded more than 75 research and service grants, many in the fields of antiplaque chemotherapeutic agents, HIV/AIDS, management of medically compromised dental patients, rapid salivary diagnostic testing, dental unit waterlines, and infection control. 

DePaola has dedicated his career to preparing the next generation of oral health clinicians and to maintaining and advancing the highest standards of clinical practice and infection control.