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ADA Foundation names trio as first winners of Whiston Leadership Award

September 30, 2015


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The ADA Foundation announced Sept. 24 the inaugural winners of its Dr. David Whiston Leadership Awards.

The award recognizes promising dentists who have demonstrated strong leadership skills which can be used to improve the oral health of the public in the years ahead. 

The Foundation created the award in 2014 to honor Dr. Whiston, who served the oral health profession through many leadership roles, including ADA president from 1997 to 1998, and president of the Foundation board of directors from 2010 to 2014.

The Foundation provides two $5,000 awards each year — the Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award and the Henry Schein Cares Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award — designed to cover the costs associated with attending a leadership training program offered by the American Management Association.  Because of the high quality of the candidates, donors provided additional funding for a third award in 2015.

The dentists receiving the awards are:

  • Dr. Evelyn Lucas-Perry, winner of the Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award, is the director of public policy research of the American Dental Education Association. She is a 2011 graduate of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry and School of Public Health, and is attending the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health pursuing a doctorate of public health.
  • Dr. Nipa Thakkar, winner of the Henry Schein Cares Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award, is an associate general dentist in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. She is a 2012 graduate of the Temple University Kornberg School of Dentistry and is president-elect of the Pennsylvania Dental Association’s Fourth District Dental Society.
  • Dr. Heather A. Willis, winner of the Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award, is a general dentist in Fairbanks, Alaska. She is a 2005 graduate of the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine and was event chair of the Alaska Mission of Mercy.

To learn more about the Foundation, go to