School of Dentistry Dean receives 2021 William J. Gies Award from ADEA

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December 07, 2020

Mert N. Aksu headshot.Mert N. Aksu, dean and professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry, has been named a recipient of the 2021 American Dental Education Association’s (ADEA) Gies Award for Vision – Dental Educator.

The William J. Gies Awards are the most coveted honors in oral health and dental education and recognize the efforts of individuals, institutions and organizations that exemplify the highest standards of vision, innovation and achievement in oral health and dental education.

Aksu was nominated for his ability to institute changes now to address issues in the future. His unique and unconventional approach to dental education and oral health care have positively impacted the faculty, students and patients he serves.

Since joining the University in 1993, Aksu has held many positions at Detroit Mercy Dental including professor, executive associate dean and assistant dean of clinic administration. He has served as the dean since being appointed to the position in 2008.

Aksu’s leadership approach includes a strong commitment to developing faculty and students to be competent in their discipline and skilled as leaders. Under his vision and leadership, Detroit Mercy Dental has successfully launched new curricular and clinical models, educational delivery and assessment models and community outreach programs.

In his pledge to ensure the safety and well-being of faculty, staff, students and patients particularly in a high- risk geographic area, he co-invented a Class I, FDA approved patent-pending chairside aerosol mitigation system (AeMS, LLC) which is in place on all units in the dental clinic. This device contributes to safe dental patient care with approximately 900 devices being used by students and professionals.

“Throughout his career, Dean Aksu has addressed challenges in a creative and forward-looking manner, said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Pamela Zarkowski, who received the same award in 2017. “This award demonstrates that his peers recognize his passion for and dedication to Detroit Mercy Dental’s students, employees, colleagues and the patients they serve. I am grateful for his leadership and contributions to the School and University.”

Aksu will receive his award along with seven other Gies awardees on March 12, 2021, in conjunction with the virtual 2021 ADEA Annual Session & Exhibition.

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