Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists Bulletin Summer 2020 - 26

2020 AAO/AAOF Honorees from the PCSO

The AAO Humanitarian Award

Dr. Karin Vargervik
San Francisco, CA

The Humanitarian Award was established by the
American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) in
2011. The award recognizes significant contributions to improve the quality of human life that
extend beyond the usual scope of private practice,
academic functions, or organized dentistry. After
receiving her dental and orthodontic education
in Norway, where she was born, Dr. Vargervik
received a Fulbright Scholarship at Forsyth
Institution and Harvard in Boston. This led her
to a research appointment at the University of
California, San Francisco (UCSF), where she spent
her long professional career in research, teaching,
and patient care with a special focus on children
with craniofacial birth defects.
She served in many leadership positions at UCSF,
including director of the UCSF Center for Craniofacial Anomalies, division and department
chair positions, and as interim dean. She was the
Distinguished Professor in Craniofacial Anomalies
until her retirement.
During her entire professional career, Dr. Vargervik has been an active member of the AAO and
the PCSO and often participated in their meeting
programs.
In 2006, she began working with Alliance for
Smiles (AfS), a volunteer organization estab-

26	

lished with the mission to provide treatment
for children with cleft lip and in countries where
such treatment is not available for disadvantaged families. She became the Alliance for
Smiles vice president for treatment centers, with
the charge to establish treatment centers for
cleft lip and palate by training local providers
in the countries where AfS already had surgical
teams. Since then, she has been on more than
30 visits to China, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and
Myanmar to establish treatment centers. So
far, five centers have been established in China,
and centers are in various stages of completion
in Lagos, Nigeria; Gazipur, Bangladesh; and
Yangon, Myanmar. The work with AfS has been
extremely rewarding and has been an important
part of her professional life, both before and
after retirement.
Dr. Karin Vargervik has dedicated her life to the
care of children with craniofacial anomalies, not
only in the United States but all over the world.
She created an endowment to support the UCSF
CODA approved Craniofacial Fellowship that she
helped launch along with Dr. Snehlata Oberoi.
She has recently established the Karin Vargervik
Professorship in Craniofacial Orthodontics at
UCSF, the very first professorship in this new
specialty.

PCSO Bulletin    Summer 2020



Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists Bulletin Summer 2020

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