McNamara Award honors contributions and career of Dr. James McNamara

Search Dental Tribune

McNamara Award honors contributions and career of Dr. James McNamara

The American Association of Orthodontists Foundation established the McNamara Award in honor of James A. McNamara Jr., DDS, MS, PhD of Ann Arbor, Mich. (Photo: American Association of Orthodontists)
Dental Tribune USA

Dental Tribune USA

Mon. 19 September 2016


ST. LOUIS, Mo., USA: Late last year, in tribute to the many accomplishments of a distinguished orthodontist, academician, and industry innovator, the American Association of Orthodontists Foundation (AAOF) established the James A. McNamara Orthodontic Faculty Development Fellowship Award in honor of James A. McNamara Jr., DDS, MS, PhD of Ann Arbor, Mich.

This award, available only for junior orthodontic faculty, was made possible through the contributions and collaboration of four orthodontic product manufacturers:

  • Specialty Appliances.
  • AOA Laboratory.
  • Reliance Orthodontic Products.
  • Great Lakes Orthodontics.

Throughout his career, as both clinician and professor, McNamara, a pioneer in the use of functional appliances, dedicated much of his career to research into early orthodontic treatment of children. In many instances, McNamara worked in conjunction with the companies that established the award to develop what still are considered to be the most advanced adhesive products and functional appliances in the industry.

“Our industry is a very tight knit group, and while we are competitors, we are also collaborators,” said Scott Huge of Specialty Appliances, upon the inception of the award. “When discussing the criteria we were looking for to establish this award, it was absolutely unanimous to honor Dr. McNamara.”

McNamara is widely admired by fellow doctors, faculty and industry colleagues for his selfless nature and desire to help others, including the next generation of orthodontists.

A former member of the AAOF Board of Directors, and founder of AOA Laboratory, David Allesee credited McNamara for helping the company build its functional appliance department. “In the early 1980s, Dr. McNamara brought functional appliances to the US that had originated in Germany in the 1900s,” Allesee said. “As a testament to his generous nature and dedication to improving orthodontics in this country, he invited companies including AOA and Great Lakes Orthodontics to work with him to design the functional appliances that are currently in use today.”

McNamara dedicated a considerable amount of his time to work with the lab’s technicians to show them how to construct the appliances.

A long-time admirer and colleague of McNamara, Paul Gange with Reliance Orthodontic Products, emphasized that “Dr. McNamara has always been very unselfish with his thoughts, ideas and time and always encourages his colleagues to raise the bar … and is the first person to help you do so.”

McNamara, was a full-time faculty member at the University of Michigan for more than 40 years, and he now teaches part time and is the editor-in-chief of the 53 volume Craniofacial Growth Monograph Series, published through the University of Michigan. He has published nearly 300 scientific articles in refereed journals, has written, edited or contributed to 73 books, and has presented courses and lectures in 43 countries. He also is the founding director of the Graduate Orthodontic Residents Program (GORP), an annual meeting of orthodontic resident from the US and Canada now in its 28th year. This event not only allows residents to become acquainted with colleagues they will have for the rest of their professional careers but also with orthodontic manufacturers and professional organizations.

Sunil D. Kapila, BDS, MS, PhD, who chaired the Department of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Michigan for 11 years and also chairs the AAOF’s Program Awards and Review Committee (PARC), remarked on McNamara’s impact by stating that, “He has made exceptional contributions to the department and the profession and earned a lot of following for the impact his research has made, particularly in a better understanding of treatment outcomes with specific protocols.”

About the AAO Foundation

The AAO Foundation, the charitable arm of the American Association of Orthodontists, provides support to orthodontic education programs and orthodontic research. Foundation funding ensures the future viability of the orthodontic specialty by investing in the next generation of educators and researchers.

Since 1994, the AAO Foundation Awards Program has provided $10.1 million in funding, primarily in support of junior faculty. The AAO Foundation is incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit corporation in the state of Missouri. The AAO Foundation’s website is

(Source: American Association of Orthodontists)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *