Dr. John McDowell Named 2024 R.B.H. Gradwohl Laureate


The Gradwohl Medallion is intended to honor one who has made exceptional contributions and is the highest honor of the AAFS and is the foremost peer award in the forensic sciences. The Gradwohl Medallion is conferred only upon those persons who have attained exceptional distinction in the advancement of the forensic sciences, who have given outstanding service to the AAFS over a long period of time, and who have achieved outstanding recognition in a public position through service to the forensic science profession. We are pleased to announce John D. McDowell, DDS, MS, as the recipient of the 2024 award.

Dr. McDowell is a Professor Emeritus from the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine and is a retired professor from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Dr. McDowell is board certified by the American Board of Forensic Odontology. He is presently associate medical examiner for the city and county of Denver, CO. He is a past president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (AAFS) and a Distinguished Fellow of the AAFS. Dr. McDowell is past chair of the Forensic Sciences Foundation, the AAFS Executive Committee, and many other positions within the AAFS. He has also served as President of the American Society of Forensic Odontology. He has been published extensively in the fields of diagnostic sciences, forensic odontology, pathology, domestic violence, and HIV and has contributed to radiology, dermatology, and otolaryngology textbooks.

Dr. McDowell has a long and distinguished career in academia and shared governance at the University of Colorado. He has served three terms as Chair of the Faculty Council of the University of Colorado System's four campuses, two terms as President of the Faculty at the Health Sciences Center, and three terms as President of the Faculty Senate at the University's School of Dental Medicine. He has received multiple teaching awards and has received the Professor of the Year Award. Because of his contributions to shared governance at the University, he was selected to be a one-year Administrative Fellow for the University of Colorado's Board of Regents.

Dr. McDowell operates a forensic odontology consulting firm, McDowell Professional Consulting, based in Castle Rock, CO. He has been an expert witness in many standard of care issues across the United States. He has worked with many local, state, regional, and federal agencies, including coroners' and medical examiners' offices. Although Dr. McDowell is retired from full-time teaching, he is still presently very active in providing continuing education courses.

Dr. McDowell is a retired colonel in the United States Army Reserves where he served in multiple command positions, including several years as a Command Dental Surgeon and as a United States Army Hospital Commander. He has received multiple awards from the Department of Defense, including the prestigious Legion of Merit Award. Dr. McDowell also has served as a consultant to the United States Senate's Subcommittee on Missing and Killed in Action. 


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