Orthodontic educator Dr. James Vaden received a World Federation of Orthodontists Regional Award of Merit during the WFO breakfast at the 2023 AAO Annual Session (April 21-24 in Chicago). Dr. Vaden is the first North American AAO member to receive the WFO award, which recognizes WFO members who make significant contributions to orthodontics, whether through academic, research, clinical practice or organized orthodontics.

Dr. Vaden joined the faculty of his alma mater, the University of Tennessee orthodontic program, as a clinical professor in 1980. From 1999 until 2010, while serving as chairman of the program, he made the 600-mile round-trip commute from his home and practice in eastern Tennessee to Memphis weekly.

Recognizing the program’s need for a modern clinical facility, Dr. Vaden developed the plan for a new facility. Inspired by his vision and service to the program, alumni contributed more than $800,000 to support the clinic upgrade. The James L. Vaden Orthodontic Clinic was completed and dedicated in 2013.

Now a part-time professor at UT, Dr. Vaden, pictured above with WFO President Dr. Nikhilesh R. Vaid, is the author of more than 50 articles published in peer reviewed orthodontic journals. He has given more than 200 major lectures to national and international groups.

In addition to his work at the University of Tennessee, Dr, Vaden has been an integral member of the teaching faculty and administration of the Charles H. Tweed International Foundation, providing clinical treatment courses to countless residents and clinicians from around the world. He currently serves the Foundation’s Executive Director.

Dr. Vaden’s recognition has been local, national and international and has included the Louise Ada Jarabak Memorial International Teachers and Research Award from the AAO Foundation, the Albert H. Ketcham Memorial Award from the American Board of Orthodontics, and the AAO James E. Brophy Distinguished Service Award, which he received in 2016. These awards represent the highest recognition for Dr. Vaden’s multiple contributions to the orthodontic specialty from the AAOF, ABO and AAO.

In 2021, the AAO Foundation established the James L. Vaden Teaching Fellowship Award in his honor.

A past president of the American Board of Orthodontics, Dr. Vaden is also a past Commission on Dental Accreditation commissioner for orthodontics. He served as Doctors Scientific Program co-chair of the 2017 and 2020 AAO Annual Sessions.