The American Sleep Medicine Foundation (ASMF) has chosen two sleep scientists to receive research awards, and two dentists also have been selected to receive research awards from the ASMF through a new partnership with the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM). Their research projects will explore the value of care provided by board-certified sleep medicine physicians, an intervention to reduce insufficient sleep among adolescents, and strategies to improve adherence to oral appliance therapy for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

“The American Sleep Medicine Foundation works to enhance sleep health for all by funding quality research,” says ASMF President Jennifer L. Martin, PhD, in a release. “I congratulate the award recipients for their valuable contributions to the fields of sleep medicine and dental sleep medicine.”

Emerson Wickwire, PhD
University of Maryland

Wickwire was selected to receive a Strategic Research award for his project, “Demonstrating the Value of Board Certification in Sleep Medicine: Trends in Diagnosis and Impact on Quality of Care and Economic Outcomes Among Medicare Beneficiaries, 2006-2013.” He will receive up to $250,000 over 3 years. This award is aimed at improving the quality of health care delivery in the field of sleep medicine.

His project will involve a series of comparative effective analyses to examine the public health, clinical, and economic implications of care delivered by board-certified sleep medicine physicians, relative to care delivered by non-specialist providers. Wickwire is an assistant professor of psychiatry and medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where he directs the Insomnia Program.

Learn more about Wickwire’s work on

Jessica Levenson, PhD
University of Pittsburgh

Levenson was selected to receive a Bridge to Success Award for Early Career Investigators for her project, “The Development of a Targeted Intervention for Insufficient Sleep Among Adolescents.” The intent of the award is to provide support to promising early-career sleep scientists who have applied for a career development award such as a K-award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Her proposal aims to involve various stakeholders in the design of a sleep promotion program delivered to 13-15-year-olds who report insufficient sleep. Levenson is a clinical psychologist and postdoctoral associate at the University of Pittsburgh.

Benjamin Pliska, DDS
University of British Columbia
Allen Firestone, DDS
The Ohio State University

Pliska and Firestone were selected to receive an AADSM/ASMF Research Award, the first joint award offered by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) and the ASMF. The goal of the program is to foster research and advance the field of dental sleep medicine. This initial program is intended to support applications focused on specific areas where research findings are limited.

Pliska will receive up to $100,000 over 2 years for his project, “Determinants of Occlusal Changes in Oral Appliance Treatment of OSA – A Randomized Controlled Trial.” His project will explore factors related to tooth movement associated with oral appliance therapy for OSA, and it will assess the effectiveness of an intervention to minimize these occlusal changes. Pliska is an assistant professor at the University of British Columbia division of orthodontics.

Firestone will receive up to $30,000 over 2 years for his project, “Multifactorial Approach to Increasing Oral Appliance Adherence in OSA Treatment.” His project will evaluate how enhanced adherence-promoting interventions impact adherence to oral appliance therapy for OSA. Firestone is an associate professor of dentistry in the department of orthodontics at Ohio State University.

Learn about a 2016 abstract that Firestone presented on Sleep Review’s Dental Sleep Corner.