Dr. Leo E. Rouse Receives 2020 American Dental Association Distinguished Service Award

CHICAGO, October 14, 2020 — The American Dental Association (ADA) will award Leo E. Rouse, D.D.S., with the ADA Distinguished Service Award at ADA FDC Virtual Connect Conference 2020, a joint meeting of the ADA and Florida Dental Association. The Distinguished Service Award is the highest honor given by the ADA Board of Trustees. 

“Dentistry and patients are important to me because I am committed to ensuring that oral health is fully integrated to systemic health,” said Dr. Rouse. “I am a champion of interprofessional education and collaborative practice.”

Dr. Rouse began his dental career with a dental degree from Howard University College of Dentistry and transitioned to serving a quarter of a century in the U.S. Army as a military dentist and leader. While in the U.S. Army, Dr. Rouse continued to climb the ladder, eventually assuming the role of commander and chief operating officer of the U.S. Army Dental Command. In this role, Dr. Rouse ensured the oral and overall health of more than 4,000 personnel – including officers, enlisted soldiers and civilians. 

After completing his service to the U.S. Army, Dr. Rouse shifted to the world of academia as a faculty member in the dental science division at the Army Medical Department Center and School at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, where he eventually served as chief of the division. From there, Dr. Rouse made it back to his alma mater, Howard University, ultimately becoming dean of the Howard University College of Dentistry. Because of his work in academia, Dr. Rouse was recruited by the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), to which he previously served on staff as senior scholar in residence, liaison to the council of deans, chair of the ADEA Gies Foundation board of directors, as well as board president. He presently acts as an ADEA consultant, and is also the president-elect of the American College of Dentists (ACD), assuming the role of president of the ACD this month.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I am proud to present the ADA’s Distinguished Service Award to Dr. Leo Rouse,” said ADA President Chad P. Gehani, D.D.S.  “On top of being the first African American board president of the ADEA, he was commander of the U.S. Army Dental Command, becoming its first African American leader, educating and inspiring thousands of American dentists to serve their country and communities.”

Dr. Rouse is honored to receive the ADA Distinguished Service Award. 

“It’s been a wonderful life,” said Dr. Rouse. “I love being a dentist because in my professional career I have been fortunate to work in an environment that improves the overall health of patients in a military, civilian and academic setting. “I have also been blessed as an educator to help influence the next generation of dentists in their contributions to improve the overall health of patients.”

Editor’s Note: Reporters are invited to follow the ADA on Twitter @AmerDentalAssn and #ADAFDC for updates from the ADA FDC Virtual Connect Conference