Pediatric Dentistry Today - Dedicated Diplomates…Stories of Two Academicians

Posted: 4/22/2020

Today with nearly 80% of pediatric dentists being board certified it is easy to forget a time when board certification was not the norm.  However, prior to the implementation of the Oral Clinical Examination in 2006, that streamlined the process, approximately only 25% of pediatric dentists were board certified.  This article recognizes two amazing colleagues that not only shaped our profession and supported the mission of the ABPD, they mentored many of us to be who we are today.  Academicians are the gateway to pediatric dentistry, building the foundation of ethics, knowledge, and skills for each and every one of our professional lives.  Thank you all for your patience, energy, innovation, sacrifice and the training to allow us to compassionately provide quality care for children.

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Dr. Diane C. Dilley was one of only three women in her dental school class at Indiana University. She was board certified in 1981. Dr. Dilley taught at the University of North Carolina for over 35 years serving in many leadership positions. She embodies elegance and a dedication to children’s oral health that forged a determination to make her students and residents worthy stewards of pediatric dentistry. The pursuit of board certification has always been Dr. Dilley’s expectation for her residents. The colleagues she has mentored have a near 99% board certification rate even prior to the integration of the OCE. A group of her female former residents led the campaign in 2009 to establish at $100,000 university-named fellowship to honor her dedication to high standards and Board Certification. The feat was completed in just over 12 months and today the Diane C. Dilley Fellowship at UNC-CH underwrites all the expenses for UNC-CH senior residents’ participation in the AAPD’s Comprehensive Review Course and Oral Clinical Examination Review Course, underscoring her legacy to the Board’s commitment to excellence in our specialty. Dr. Dilley is known for her expectation of excellence and showing “how to let hair down”!  Thank you, Dr. Dilley, for expecting board certification, blazing a trail for women into dentistry, teaching professional excellence, exceptional restorative dentistry and how to enjoy life!

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Dr. Harry Sharp received board certification in 1991. His gentle calmness with children and support of the mission of the ABPD will forever be carried forward by his students. Pediatric dentists that trained at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center report that they are in part the pediatric dentists they are today because of Dr. Sharp. Dr. Sharp is selfless, never seeking affirmation of the greatness he brings to the world.  Many of our colleagues are being or were inspired by Dr. Sharp to become board-certified pediatric dentists, leaders in the ABPD and/or AAPD.  Thank you, Dr. Sharp, for inspiring board certification, cultivating leaders in our profession, being a testament that students can learn the realm of clinical pediatric dentistry, and how to genuinely be an advocate for children (not just talk about it) in a positive and nurturing environment. 

 Click here to see the article as it appears in Pediatric Dentistry Today, March 2020.


E. LaRee Johnson, DDS, MS
Vice President, ABPD
Board Certified 2001
Raleigh, NC



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