Taking Care of the Tiniest Teeth
School of Dentistry Establishes John B. Thornton Endowed Support Fund
Children in underserved areas throughout Alabama will have a better chance at enjoying healthy teeth thanks to a new support fund in the School of Dentistry at UAB. The John B. Thornton Endowed Support Fund for Pediatric Dentistry was established thanks to generous gifts from alumni, faculty, and other friends and admirers of John Thornton, D.M.D. It will be used to aid residents in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry who engage in the school’s community outreach programs to bring pediatric dental care to underserved areas through clinics and screening programs.
A native of Birmingham, Thornton is professor and associate dean emeritus of the school. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from The University of Alabama in 1968 and his doctorate in dental medicine from the School of Dentistry in 1972. He has served as chairman of the Department of Pediatric Dentistry, director of community outreach for the School of Dentistry, and director of the postgraduate program in pediatric dentistry.
Thornton joined the UAB faculty as an assistant professor of dentistry in the Department of Pediatric Dentistry in 1976. He became a full professor in 1991. He was director of the Civitan International Research Center/Sparks Clinics from 1976 to 2001 and chair of pediatric dentistry from 2000 to 2004. He became associate dean for community affairs in 2004 and served until retiring in April 2010. He also retired from the Alabama National Guard in 2003 with the rank of colonel.
Thornton has received a number of honors from professional organizations, including UAB’s Odessa Woolfolk Community Service Award in 2008, the Legion of Merit Medal for Exceptionally Meritorious Military Service from the Department of the United States Army in 2004, and the UAB President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2001. He was inducted into the Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame in 2008.
“This endowment recognizes the outstanding work of Dr. Thornton, one of this nation’s great leaders in pediatric dentistry,” says Huw F. Thomas, Ph.D., dean of the School of Dentistry. “It is a fitting legacy for an individual who has had an impact on countless students and children.”
Maintaining the Momentum / Winter 2011