Five oral health professionals have been named DentaQuest 2017 Health Equity Heroes for their contributions to breaking down barriers and developing innovative programs to improve health outcomes and access to care for underserved populations. Each award recipient will receive a $1000 donation from DentaQuest’s Citizenship Fund toward a nonprofit of his or her choice that is committed to promoting health equity.
The 2017 DentaQuest Health Equity Heroes are:
- Judith Haber, PhD, APRN-BC, executive director of the Oral Health Nursing Education and Practice program at New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing, who was recognized for her numerous contributions to dental, medical and behavioral health.
- Johnny Johnson Jr., DMD, MS, president of the American Fluoridation Society in Palm Harbor, Florida, who earned recognition for his advocacy for community water fluoridation in Florida and communities across the country.
- Gary Schwarz, DDS, MSD, cofounder and immediate past president of the board of directors, who was honored for his service to Dentists Who Care, a Weslaco, Texas-based nonprofit dedicated to serving low income families without dental insurance in the Rio Grande Valley.
- Richard A. Simpson, DMD, chair of the Oral Health Coalition of Alabama, and pediatric dental liaison to the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who was feted for leading the effort to identify successful initiatives and best practices from other states and implement them in Alabama to enhance accessibility to oral health services for older adults, children and the underserved.
- Julie Smithwick, LMSW, founder and executive director, who was spotlighted for leading PASOs in Columbia, South Carolina, a community-based organization that partners with service providers the Latino community to educate, support and empower families.
In recognizing the honorees, Steve Pollock, BBA, JD, president and CEO of DentaQuest, says, “As we strive to improve the oral health of all, this work is core to our organization’s efforts and demonstrates the opportunities for each of us to create change in our communities.”
From Decisions in Dentistry. August 2017;3(8):11.