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ADA Board of Trustees extends honorary membership to four

October 13, 2014

By Jean Williams

Special recognition: Receiving honorary membership in the ADA Oct 13 at the House of Delegates in San Antonio, Texas, are (from left)  James J. Williamson; Alice Horowitz, Ph.D.; and Drs. Orlando Monteiro da Silva and Poul Erik Petersen. Photo by EZ Event Photography
San Antonio
—The ADA Board of Trustees  has recognized four individuals for their service to organized dentistry this year by conferring honorary membership in the Association.

The four are Drs. Orlando Monteiro da Silva and Poul Erik Petersen; Alice Horowitz, Ph.D.; and Jim J. Williamson. They accepted the awards Oct. 13 at ADA 2014—America's Dental Meeting.

Dr. da Silva practices in Porto, Portugal, and was a former president of the FDI World Dental Federation from 2011-13. In nominating, Dr. da Silva, then ADA President-Elect Maxine Feinberg underscored how his leadership helped transform FDI, moving the international organization in the "right direction" toward "greater financial security."

She also addressed his efforts to expand access to care. "He has worked tirelessly to improve the oral health of underserved populations all over the world," Dr. Feinberg wrote. "His energy is boundless. He should be an inspiration to all."

Nominators of Dr. Horowitz consistently cited her proven dedication and multiple years working in oral health literacy as a main aspect of her career that makes her deserving of the honor of ADA membership.

Dr. Horowitz is a research associate professor, School of Public Health, University of Maryland-College Park. She previously held stints as a senior scientist and education specialist at National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research/National Institutes of Health and at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Her many years of mentoring dental professionals was also of note to nominators. "Dr. Horowitz continues to have tremendous influence over generations of oral health professionals, who are learning the real value of health literacy in patient care," wrote Dr. Roy Thompson, chair, ADA Council on Access, Prevention and Interprofessional Relations.

"Through her legacy of culturally competent communication lessons, thousands of young dentists are better prepared to meet the challenges of modern doctor-patient communication, which places quality care at the forefront of dental service."

Dr. Petersen is chief, Global Oral Health Programme Department for Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases, World Health Organization.

"It is his work at the WHO Headquarters that most qualifies Dr. Petersen for ADA Honorary Membership," wrote nominator Dr. Christopher Fox, executive director of the International Association for Dental Research. "He has published extensively and is a tireless advocate for the common risk factor approach of healthy diets, physical activity, reduced sugar, and tobacco cessation, which benefits not only oral health but overall health as well.

"He has ensured that oral health is included in major WHO initiatives and strategies on topics such as quality assurance, school programs, tobacco cessation programs, health systems, social determinants of disease, and the recent United Nations summit on non-communicable disease. Dr. Petersen has also focused WHO member countries on the benefits of fluoride through a variety of delivery means."

Mr. Williamson is executive director of the New Hampshire Dental Society and was executive director of the Eighth District Dental Society in Buffalo, New York from 1991-2002. He has devoted decades of leadership to organized dentistry.

"Jim's involvement in numerous oral health groups has given him the ability to speak with stakeholders and lawmakers on issues and not be seen as one-sided," wrote Dr. K. Drew Wilson, a past New Hampshire Dental Society president and member of the ADA Council on Membership.

Dr. Wilson credited Mr. Williamson with successes in working "tirelessly on the issues we have faced as a dental society in New Hampshire," including addressing the activity of anti-fluoride groups. Dr. Wilson said, "The knowledge base that he has from all of his years of working for organized dentistry is amazing to me."