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Nominate leaders for ADA Foundation award

April 10, 2017

By Kelly Soderlund

The ADA Foundation is accepting nominations for two awards to help dentists or dental students enhance their leadership skills.

The ADA Foundation Dr. David Whiston Leadership Program annually provides two $5,000 awards — the Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award and Henry Schein Cares Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award — to individuals who have demonstrated leadership skills in efforts aimed at improving the oral health of the public. The award funds are designed to cover the costs associated with attending a leadership development program offered by the American Management Association.

For Dr. Heather Willis, receiving the Dr. David Whiston Leadership Award was more than just the accolade, it was the opportunity to further her skills as a leader. Dr. Willis, a 2005 graduate of the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine, general dentist in Fairbanks, Alaska, and who has been an event chair of the Alaska Mission of Mercy, was a 2015 recipient of the Whiston award. She attended the Leadership Development for Women seminar in April 2016.

"I wanted to learn how to identify my strengths and abilities and use them strategically in my career. I also wanted some tips on how to build a network of support and learn when to stretch myself to take smart risks," said Dr. Willis, "Considering I take 50-100 hours of dental continuing education courses a year, this was one of the more interesting seminars because I learned more about myself and how to pursue the goals I've set forth in the coming years. This was an incredibly valuable award and opportunity for me."
The Foundation created the awards in 2014 to honor Dr. Whiston, who served as ADA president from 1997-98, ADA trustee from 1992-96 and president of the Foundation from 2010-14. Individuals must be nominated by others; be a dental student, graduate student, resident enrolled in an accredited dental school education program or an early career dentist under 40 in his or her first five years of professional work following a residency; and have held a position within dentistry where he or she has demonstrated leadership skills.

Nominations must be received by June 2 and winners will be announced in September. For more information, visit