ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Dental Association (ADA) will honor Terry Dickinson, D.D.S., with the 2010 Humanitarian Award Oct. 9 at the opening session and Distinguished Speaker Series program at the Orange County Convention Center during the ADA's 151st annual session in Orlando, Fla.
Dr. Dickinson, executive director of the Virginia Dental Association, will receive the award for his leadership in developing the Missions of Mercy (MOM) Project in 1999, which has become a national model for dental outreach programs. Dr. Dickinson assisted on MOM projects in Texas, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and West Virginia and will assist Maryland at the end of October on its first MOM project.
"I realized my mission was to focus on bringing help to those who struggle every day to put food on the table, to pay rent, to put gas in the gas tank," Dr. Dickinson said. "MOM programs have provided care to those who need it the most, but the lack of access to oral health care continues to be a problem in this country. Dentists can do what they can to help, but ultimately the federal, local and state governments and society at large must stop shortchanging oral health and find the political will to get better dental care to the millions of Americans who need it."
MOM projects under Dr. Dickinson's direction have provided more than $21.1 million in free dental care to more than 38,000 underserved rural residents. Since founding the Virginia MOM project a decade ago, more than a dozen states have launched MOM programs, and an estimated 20 programs could be operational nationwide by the end of 2010. As part of his award, the ADA will donate $5,000 to Dr. Dickinson's MOM project.
Dr. Dickinson, who earned his dental degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, ran his own private practice for 30 years and has served as an educator, dental examiner and dental researcher. He currently serves as an ADA spokesperson on access to oral health care issues.
The ADA Humanitarian Award, which was created in 2007, recognizes individual volunteer commitment and leadership that has had a broad impact on oral health and the improvement of the human condition. The award honors an ADA member dentist who has contributed to alleviate human suffering, demonstrated significant leadership, served as an inspiration to others and established a legacy that is of ongoing value and benefit to those in need both in the U.S. and abroad.
About the American Dental Association
The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing more than 157,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit the Association's Web site at www.ada.org
SOURCE American Dental Association