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20th Golden Apple Awards recognize leaders, excellence

The 2008 ADA Golden Apple Awards mark the 20th annual recognition of outstanding achievement in dental society activities and excellence in leadership. This year's winners are:

Legislative Achievement

  • For a constituent society with total membership of more than 1,000 dentists, the New Jersey Dental Association received top honors for "NJ's New Dental Decision Law." After a decade of work that included an educational campaign, enlisting grassroots support and negotiations, the NJDA succeeded in gaining passage of a law regulating dental consultants.
  • For a constituent society with total membership of fewer than 1,000 dentists, the Nebraska Dental Association won a Golden Apple Award for "Fluoridation: Nature's Cavity Fighter!" After two previous attempts, the NDA was able to spearhead successful legislation requiring the fluoridation of water supplies in any city or village with a population exceeding 1,000.

Excellence in Membership Recruitment and Retention Activity

  • In the recruitment category, the California Dental Association received a Golden Apple for its "Member-Get-A-Member Program," combining a CDA membership outreach incentive with recognition and a $100 reward for members who recruit nonmembers. The reward could be applied to the dues of the recruiting dentist, the recruited member or the CDA Foundation.
  • In the retention category, the San Antonio District Dental Society won the Golden Apple for "Pizza Party Phonathon," a day in which members communicated directly with nonmembers for recruitment and retention purposes.

Excellence in Dental Health Promotion to the Public

  • The Michigan Dental Association won this year's Golden Apple Award for "Want a Healthy Body? Start with a Healthy Mouth." The MDA's public education campaign targeted to women between the ages of 25 and 45 yielded impressive results. Post-campaign research confirmed positive improvements in basic attitudes toward dentists' role in detecting oral cancer, serious medical problems, diabetes, heart disease and pregnancy complications.

Excellence in Member-Related Services/ Benefits

  • For a dental society with total members fewer than 1,000 dentists, the Kansas Dental Association received the Golden Apple Award for "Communications in the Digital Age." Included among the variety of electronic tools used by the association are a KDA blog, a KDA video minute with a newscast on current legislative news, an electronic membership satisfaction survey and a program that maps membership data for legislative issues.
  • For a dental society with total members more than 1,000 dentists, the Massachusetts Dental Society won the award for "Massachusetts Dental Society Leadership Institute." A program that strives to develop leadership skills, the Massachusetts Leadership Institute resulted in a mobile access to care van, a membership recruitment program built around the van and other initiatives that increased participation in organized dentistry.

Achievement in Dental School/Student Involvement in Organized Dentistry

  • Receiving the Golden Apple Award was the Dallas County Dental Society for its "Great Expectations Program," which brought students, faculty and dental society members together through a partnership between DCDS, the International College of Dentistry and Baylor College of Dentistry.

Open Category

  • In the 2008 Golden Apple Awards Open Category, the Georgia Dental Association received top constituent society honors for the "Georgia Dental Association Law Day Program." The multifaceted program increases member participation and lobbying efficacy; elevates GDA's profile with legislators; involves and engages dental students; and provides tangible member benefits to participants, including CE and peer recognition.
  • The Middlesex County Dental Society (New Jersey) received top component society honors for its program, "Look Into the Future," which fosters professional camaraderie by integrating events to engage younger, newer dentists. The program involves a variety of activities to increase participation including "New Member Study Clubs" and corporate sponsorship.

Inspiring Careers in Dental Education

  • The Golden Apple Award for excellence at the predoctoral level was presented to Dr. Leslie Heffez of the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry. A professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery, Dr. Heffez was recognized for his teaching skills, dedication to education, and encouraging students to enter the dental profession, pursue postdoctoral training and consider career opportunities in dental education.

Three 2008 Golden Apple Awards were also presented during the ADA New Dentist Conference in June, including:

New Dentist Leadership Award

  • Dr. Peter Theodorou of the New York State Dental Association received the New Dentist Leadership Award for his contributions to organized dentistry and fellow military personnel. The former Marine co-founded the Marine Assist Foundation which offers free plastic surgery and dental services to military personnel.

Outstanding Leadership in Mentoring Award

  • Dr. Irvin Silverstein of the San Diego County Dental Society received the Outstanding Leadership in Mentoring Award. The University of California-San Diego dental director and advisor of the UCSD Student-Run Free Dental clinics and Pre-Dental Society has mentored students at all levels and exposed them to the joys of volunteerism. With Dr. Silverstein's leadership, the U.S. Navy and UCSD came together in 2006 for a humanitarian mission in Southeast Asia where pre-dental students supported care on the USNS Mercy hospital ship.

New Dentist Legislative Leadership Award

  • Dr. Sammy Pak of the Washington State Dental Association received the New Dentist Legislative Leadership Award, the first recipient in this new category. As legislative chairperson for the Pierce County Dental Society since 2004, Dr. Pak spearheaded the society's legislative activities and formed a new dentist committee.