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ADA presents 2012 honorary members

October 22, 2012

By Stacie Crozier, ADA News staff

The ADA Board of Trustees has recognized the work of two health association executives with ties to dentistry by awarding them honorary membership in the American Dental Association.

Alice DeForest: ADA President William Calnon presents an honorary member certificate to Ms. DeForest at the House of Delegates Oct. 22.

Alice DeForest, immediate past executive director of the American Academy of Periodontology, and Nancy Kelly, executive director of Health Volunteers Overseas, were honored Oct. 22 during the ADA Annual Session as individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of the art and science of dentistry.

Alice DeForest earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Trinity College in Washington and a master’s in sociology from Tufts University in Medford, Mass. She joined the staff of the American Dental Association in 1976 as a coordinator for advanced education for the Council on Dental Education and the Commission on Dental Accreditation. She also served as director for advanced education, assistant secretary and associate secretary for CDE/CODA before becoming AAP’s executive director in 1986. She is an honorary member of the AAP, the Japanese Society of Periodontology and the Japanese Academy of Periodontology. She retired as AAP executive director earlier this month.

“Mrs. DeForest’s tenure at the Academy has been distinguished by an unwavering commitment to advancing the field of periodontics by fostering collaboration between the practicing and research communities,” said Dr. Pamela K. McClain, AAP immediate past president. “With her leadership and support, the Academy has sponsored seven national and international evidence-based scientific workshops on periodontal topics; the proceedings of these meetings have become authoritative reference in the field. Alice has been instrumental in nurturing relationships with other organizations including the ADA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, American and International Associations of Dental Research, as well as specialty and international organizations. These relationships have helped advance the science of dentistry and ultimately improve care for the patients we serve.”

“As a periodontist and a volunteer for the AAP, I came under her leadership and mentoring, and 'grew up’ in the AAP with her help and guidance,” said Dr. Ray C. Williams, dean, Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine. “Alice DeForest is an asset to the dental profession. She has given her heart and soul to dentistry in several roles prior to coming to the AAP. As executive director she has capably shepherded this specialty through significant growth and change over time. She is a true servant of dentistry and richly deserves this wonderful membership.”

“I have always been amazed at her knowledge of and respect for the profession of dentistry,” said Dr. Maxine Feinberg, ADA 4th District trustee. “Much of that knowledge was, of course, acquired during her years as a dedicated ADA staff member, a fact that Alice continues to be proud of to this day. She has always been a staunch supporter of the ADA and the profession of dentistry. She encouraged the AAP board to be fully engaged and support many of ADA’s programs, Give Kids A Smile and the Ad Council campaign to name a couple. She embodies all of the characteristics that an ADA member should possess, with integrity at the top of the list.”

Nancy Kelly: Dr. Calnon presents Ms. Kelly with her honorary certificate Oct. 22.
Nancy Kelly has a bachelor’s degree in Asian history from the University of Virginia and a master’s of health science from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She volunteered for the U.S. Peace Corps in Korea from 1979-81, then worked as a public policy intern, program assistant and program coordinator for the National Council for International Health (now the Global Health Council). Ms. Kelly has led HVO since it was founded in 1987. The nongovernmental organization has worked with the ADA since 1990 when ADA staff from the Division of Global Affairs proposed to establish dental training and education programs worldwide.

Dr. David L. Frost, chair of the ADA International Development Subcommittee for the Committee on International Programs and Development, said he first met Ms. Kelly in 1986, “when she recruited, educated, trained and mentored me through my first international volunteer experience in dentistry.

“ADA members have benefitted as we have been afforded the opportunity to teach dental health care providers share information as colleagues, treat patients and be enriched by a greater sense of world community,” said Dr. Frost. “Through her efforts, HVO has and is changing the culture of dentistry in the world. While the impact of Nancy’s work can be measured in dollars and cents (a budget in excess of $1 million and greater than $7 million of gift in-kind donations per year) or in suffering relieved, patients treated and oral health care workers educated and trained, the best indicator of success is the sustainable and long-term results which her 25 years of dedication to this global effort represent.”

“Nancy Kelly fell into international volunteering at the deep end: she became a Peace Corps volunteer in Korea, where circumstances were both complicated and difficult,” said Dr. Martin Hobdell, a member of the ADA’s CIPD. “As a result of her experiences and family background she learnt diplomacy early on. This skill stood her in good stead when she established HVO in 1987. She recognized the essential and critical need in international development work to focus on improving the local workforce’s skills through education and training of health professionals of all types, not to attempt to substitute local works’ activities by sending volunteers to simply provide service.”

“Nancy has been and continues to be an innovative thinker for global health and in particular, sensitive to the needs of dental patients and dentists in the developing world,” Dr. Charles H. Norman said as ADA 16th District trustee. (Dr. Norman was elected ADA president-elect today.) “She has worked for dentistry across specialties, in multiple countries and through varied agencies. Nancy’s steadfastness to helping those in need makes her an exemplary individual and an ideal candidate for ADA honorary membership.”