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Trio receives honorary ADA memberships

May 23, 2018

By David Burger

The ADA Board of Trustees has named three people ADA honorary members, recognizing the men for their contributions to the advancement of the art and science of dentistry.

The Board in April approved as recipients Dr. Patrick Hescot, past immediate president of the FDI World Dental Federation; David Hemion, retiring executive director of the Montana Dental Association; and Joe Martin, a retired ADA employee who worked with the ADA Institute for Diversity in Leadership.

Photo of Dr. Hescot
Dr. Hescot
Dr. Patrick Hescot

The French dentist is the author of more than 90 national and international articles and studies as well as 12 books, and is well-known as 2015-17 FDI president.

"I could never have imagined having this fantastic professional life when I was a simple dental student," he said in an email. "It was possible because I am an optimist and especially thanks to the unfailing support of my wife and my children."

Dr. Hescot has worked alongside the ADA in many projects. "I was very proud and happy to be awarded honorary membership," he said. "It was a surprise and a great pleasure. I have always been very close to the ADA, which always supported me in my different responsibilities within the FDI. Throughout the years, I made many friends."

Dr. Hescot said his most noteworthy accomplishments included being secretary general of the French Dental Association from 1995-2012, as well as advisor to many ministers of health in France. He was also instrumental in the formation of commissions in the FDI, which he said helped many countries in Eastern Europe and Africa to integrate into the FDI and assisted in the global advancement of oral health. "It was important to recognize the role and responsibilities of the dentist in their countries," he said.

"My memories are above all the fantastic encounters I have had with the different leaders around the world," Dr. Hescot said. "Being able to listen to and talk with people of different cultures is the best thing. Thanks to these meetings, you are more humble and you better understand the meaning you want to give to your life."

Dr. Kathryn Kell, Iowa dentist and current FDI president, said that Dr. Hescot's membership "will be an asset to the ADA in the years to come." In a letter supporting Dr. Hescot, Dr. Kell wrote, "Through his efforts FDI has increased the number of international programs, united many of our regions, gained the respect of the membership and ensured FDI remain a stable, financially secure organization over the years of his presidency as well as helping FDI recover from financial difficulties faced several years ago."

Dr. Hescot said he plans on accepting his membership at ADA 2018 – America's Dental Meeting in Honolulu in October.

Photo of David Hemion
Mr. Hemion
David Hemion

Mr. Hemion will retire at the end of June as executive director of the Montana Dental Association, a position he held from 1996-2000 and resumed in 2011. He also served as assistant executive director and government affairs director for the Washington State Dental Association from 2000-11.

In a phone interview, Mr. Hemion said there was a reason he left a job as a editor and reporter for a suburban Texas newspaper in 1976. "I went from watching things happen to making things happen," he said.

After stints with several chambers of commerce, Mr. Hemion became involved in dentistry and became known for his prowess in advocacy.  "I fully enjoy being an advocate for dentists on legislative and regulatory issues," he said.  His accomplishments include legislation creating expanded-function dental auxiliaries, promoting water fluoridation and reforming dental licensure and discipline.

In addition, in 1999 Mr. Hemion developed the Montana Oral Health Foundation to provide funding to start the Great Falls College Dental Hygiene Program.

Through it all, Mr. Hemion said it was a joy to advocate on behalf of dentists. "Dentists are great people to work for."

Dr. Kurt Lindemann, a member of the ADA Council on Communications, wrote a letter to the Board recommending that Mr. Hemion receive honorary membership. "I can attest to his work ethic, exceptional understanding of issues, strong organizational skills and his love for the dental profession and the patients we serve," Dr. Lindemann wrote. "Many times I have witnessed Dave go above and beyond putting in long days — sometimes 14 hours or more — to help achieve the goals of the MDA. During legislative sessions, he worked essentially a second full-time job as a lobbyist for the Association."

Photo of Joe Martin
Mr. Martin
Joe Martin

Mr. Martin, a Wheaton, Illinois, resident, served the ADA from 1999 until his 2017 retirement as director of leadership team services.

"I met many emerging leaders," Mr. Martin said of the Institute for Diversity in Leadership, in a phone interview. "Women and men from all backgrounds and age groups shared a common bond — their dedication to improving the well-being of all dentists and the communities they serve."

Although he was an ADA employee for nearly two decades, he never envisioned being honored this way. "It was the only letter I've ever had to read twice to be sure I'd read it right," he said. "Now it's a good feeling to know that I'll always belong."

During his time at the ADA, Mr. Martin also produced more than 70 national leadership conferences, opened ADA's online library on leadership, developed and led the ADA/Kellogg Executive Program for Dentists and worked with many state and local societies to promote membership and collaboration with the ADA.

"One of the best parts of my ADA career was supporting dental association leaders, emerging leaders and executive directors at the local, state and national levels," he said. "All were doing things beyond what I could, and I looked up to them. They make collaboration happen, and the associations accomplish a lot of good by working together."

M. Alec Parker, executive director of the North Carolina Dental Society, wrote a letter supporting Mr. Martin receiving honorary membership. "In my mind, Joe Martin is the epitome of professionalism, always exhibiting an unwavering commitment to the mission of the ADA and the dental profession," Mr. Parker said.