UBC dental professor awarded highest Canadian civilian military honor

University of British Columbia (UBC) dentistry professor David Sweet, OC, DMD, PhD, has received the Medallion of Distinguished Service, the highest Canadian Armed Forces medal for civilian service, the university announced.

Dr. Sweet is being honored for his work in forensic odontology -- the science of victim identification using teeth and dental charts. He was awarded the medal by General Thomas Lawson.

Dr. Sweet's contributions to the science of forensic identification include developing new investigative techniques and passing that knowledge on to others. He led a team of Canadian forensic experts in the aftermath of the tsunami in Thailand and also investigated serial killer Robert Pickton.

Dr. Sweet's credits as a forensic investigator and teacher include the following:

  • Founder of the British Columbia Odontology Response Team
  • Chief scientific officer for Interpol's identification section
  • Director of the Bureau of Legal Dentistry (BOLD) based at UBC

Forensic techniques and protocols developed by Dr. Sweet and his BOLD colleagues are theater of war forensic practices for the Canadian military, the U.S. military, and several NATO countries.

Dr. Sweet said the award is a special salute.

"I realize I have continued to make a difference through application of newer forensic methods, sharing information, and maintaining high standard that all of our BC team members foster. I am truly humbled by this honor," he said in a statement.

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