CHICAGO, October 7, 2023 — Bill Milner, D.D.S., of Asheboro, N.C., is the recipient of the 2023 American Dental Association (ADA) Humanitarian Award for spending over 40 years in organized dentistry working toward oral health equity for patients who are medically, intellectually and physically disabled. The Humanitarian Award honors an ADA member every year who has distinguished themselves by giving a minimum of 10 years to improving the oral health of underserved populations in the United States. Dr. Milner will be honored at ADA SmileCon™ in Orlando, Fla. on Oct. 7.
In 2000, Dr. Milner transferred his private practice, serving six nursing home facilities in Asheboro and Greensboro, N.C., to the newly formed Access Dental Care practice. Access Dental Care is a non-profit, mobile provider serving residents of 60 counties in N.C., including those in retirement communities, those with intellectual and developmental disabilities in nursing home facilities and group homes, PACE (Programs for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) participants, those in the Central North Carolina Health Network HIV/AIDS program, and residents living in the community at-large.
Eighty percent of Access Dental Care patients’ care is funded by Medicaid. The non-profit has served more than 25,000 patients, including more than 2,000 patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and has more than 152 active facilities.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I was proud to call and congratulate Dr. Milner on being the recipient of one of the ADA’s highest honors,” said Dr. George R. Shepley, President of the ADA for the 2022-2023 term. “He has spent his 40-plus years in organized dentistry working toward oral health equity, providing care to those most in need. Patients with disabilities, those in nursing homes, and even patients with infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS are receiving care that might not always be available otherwise. Dr. Milner and his staff's dedication is epitomized by the fact they are being proactive about meeting the needs of seniors and those with special health needs, while at the same time inspiring early-career dentists and dental students in North Carolina to follow his lead.”
Dr. Milner was nominated by a colleague, and current ADA Trustee member, for the Humanitarian Award. His nomination letter praised him for his dedication and efforts in providing care for patients with special needs – including working with his staff to transport the necessary equipment himself. Dr. Milner is also a state and national lecturer, committed to teaching health care professionals the importance of oral health care for special needs care.
“We at Access Dental Care are humbled and excited to represent dentistry’s new emerging field of comprehensive, quality care for a variety of community special care patients,” said Dr. Milner. “Special care has come a long way through the years, and the light bulb has finally clicked on with the emergence of a rapidly aging population and deinstitutionalization of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The mission has always been to serve folks who have difficulty getting services.”
Dr. Milner received his doctor of dental surgery (D.D.S.) from Baylor College of Dentistry and a master’s degree in public health administration from the University of North Carolina School of Public Health. He spent his early career providing clinical care to children and working in his state’s communities to create dental clinical programs through the North Carolina Department of Human Services’ Oral Health Section and the Randolph County Health Department.
Dr. Milner has served as President of the American Society for Geriatric Dentistry and Special Care Advocates in Dentistry and acted as a representative for the ADA on the Joint Commission. He has previously served as the President of the Randolph County Dental Society and is an active member of the North Carolina Dental Society’s Council on Prevention and Oral Health.
First established in 2008, the ADA Humanitarian Award annually honors an ADA member for creating a legacy of volunteer works and is one of the ADA’s highest honors. Criteria for the Humanitarian Award include significantly improving the quality of life and oral health of individuals, demonstrating significant leadership and serving as an inspiration to others both in the dental profession and the general population.
For more information about the ADA Humanitarian Award, please visit https://www.ada.org/about/volunteer-and-get-involved-with-the-ada/humanitarian-award.
Editor’s Note: Reporters are invited to follow the ADA on Twitter @AmerDentalAssn and #ADASmileCon for updates from SmileCon.