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Distinguished Achievement Alumni Award
Douglas Barnes, DDS '83, MS
This award honors a graduate for significant professional accomplishments in science, dentistry, or education. In 2023, it recognizes Douglas Barnes, DDS ’83, MS, professor and chief dental officer, Faculty Practice-Clinics of Excellence at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry (UMSOD) in recognition of his dedication to providing superlative dental care to all in need and commitment to educating and mentoring the next generation of oral health leaders.
Strong mentorship provided by a football coach (and dentist) and a second local practitioner who allowed the then-teenaged youth to shadow him at his private dental practice played a role in Barnes’s decision to pursue a career in oral health. Little wonder, then, that Barnes, has been deeply committed to excellence in education and mentorship throughout his professional years.
Barnes received his DDS in 1983 and certificate in Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) in 1984 from UMSOD. He also earned a master’s degree in oral biology from the University of Maryland Graduate School in 1992 and completed three-month NIH fellowships in clinical research at the University of Washington in 1995 and 2002.
In 1984, after completing his AEGD certificate, Barnes spent a year at private practice in Winoski, Vt. “Many of our patients were children from underserved populations and had significant dental problems; they had no fluoride at the time,” he recalled.
He then returned to UMSOD’s AEGD program as an instructor; two years later, he became the program’s assistant director. In 1997, he was named a professor and, over the years, served in myriad leadership roles, including as director of the AEGD program, division chief of the Division of General Dentistry, chair of the Department of General Dentistry, and, for the past six years, in his current role.
Deeply committed to education, Barnes was the founding director in 2006 of the Diamond Scholars Program, through which several of UMSOD’s highest achieving dental students each year are offered opportunities to work alongside AEGD residents on complex cases further to hone their clinical skills. “I wanted students who were achieving well beyond their requirements to have the opportunity to treat more complex cases in a collegial environment with second-year residents acting as mentors in addition to faculty members,” he said.
These days, he continues to teach in the Diamond Scholars Program. He also has been a member of the associate graduate faculty at the Graduate School since 1993.
Barnes is a member of the Omicron Kappa Upsilon, International College of Dentists, Gamma Pi Delta honor societies, as well as the American Dental Education Association, American Dental Association, International Association for Dental Research and American Association for Dental Research. A clinical dental materials researcher, he is a prolific author and has presented lectures on esthetic dentistry in the U.S. and internationally.
He and his wife, Christine Barnes, RDH, clinical instructor in UMSOD’s Division of Periodontics, Department of Advanced Oral Sciences and Therapeutics, have six children and one grandchild. Additionally, two of their children are UMSOD alumni: Drew practices general dentistry in Easton, Md., and Kevin is an orthodontics resident at UMSOD.