Seven Leaders from Across the Country Selected as 2016 DentaQuest Health Equity Heroes
This year’s award winners noted for outstanding contributions to advance health and address disparities
BOSTON – For the second year, DentaQuest, the largest oral health company in the Medicaid space, celebrated the efforts of local leaders who have worked tirelessly to improve health equity and provide vital care to underserved communities.
The DentaQuest Health Equity Hero awards are given to changemakers across the country each year. From public policy advocates to university professors, each hero has made significant contributions toward removing barriers to health services, advocating for the underserved and addressing health disparities.
“As we work across the nation to improve access, education and the oral health of all, we’re amazed by these exceptional leaders and the significant strides they have made to improve their local communities,” said Steve Pollock, president and CEO of DentaQuest. “As an organization rooted in the promotion of equity and oral health, we are excited to highlight the achievements of these individuals as 2016 DentaQuest Health Equity Heroes.”
The 2016 DentaQuest Health Equity Heroes are:
Susan Campion, chief programs officer for AIDS Services of Austin (Austin, Texas)
Over the past several decades, Susan has dedicated her life to eliminating health disparities and enhancing the health and well-being of people impacted by HIV and AIDS. Susan led the creation of the Jack Sansing Dental Clinic to increase access to oral health care for those living with HIV and AIDS. Serving 1,600 patients a year, the dental clinic is the only standalone clinic providing services to those impacted by HIV and AIDS in Central Texas. As a result of this addition, AIDS Services of Austin increased the number of patients seen by 33 percent as it continues to work to enhance oral health care in the community.
Mark Deutchman, M.D., professor, School of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus; director, Rural Track, University of Colorado; and associate dean for Rural Health, University of Colorado
Dr. Deutchman is a family medicine physician who has been providing preventive dental services to his patients in rural areas for more than two decades. At the University of Colorado, he has guided countless students who are planning a career in rural medicine, bridging the gap between the medical and dental schools by introducing an oral health curriculum in the School of Medicine. Dr. Deutchman also teaches general medical topics to dental students and continues to work in rural practices to improve the lives of patients who do not have sufficient access to quality health or dental care.
Barry L. Hopper, D.D.S., F.A.G.D., president and CEO of Zylo Oral Care (Bristol, Tenn.)
After moving from a private practice to public health dentistry, Dr. Hopper founded Zylo Oral Care in 2011 as an effort to enhance the oral health of communities without access to adequate dental services. Hopper self-funded the mass production of a disposable toothbrush with pre-applied xylitol toothpaste that does not require water or the need to spit, making it easier for kids in school to brush after a meal. He has distributed 40,000 toothbrushes to underserved populations, and developed a curriculum and brushing regimen for children through an after-lunch brushing program in Sullivan County, Tenn.
Ian M. Lerner, D.D.S., advisory chairman of the 2016 Greater New York Dental Meeting (New York, N.Y.)
Dr. Lerner has been at the cornerstone of oral health initiatives in New York for many years. He serves as advisory chair of the Greater New York Dental Meeting, the largest dental convention in the United States. He is also the founder of the Greater New York Smiles program, Medicaid Dental Forum and International Oral Cancer Symposium. Currently, Dr. Lerner is developing a partnership with the New York City College of Technology to pair oral health majors with clinicians to offer free oral care to underserved populations in New York City.
Xavier Morales, Ph.D., M.R.P., executive director of The Praxis Project (Oakland, Calif.)
Dr. Morales is a longtime advocate for community-driven initiatives to achieve health equity and environmental justice. The former executive director of the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, he led a campaign to pass legislation that would create the Healthy California Fund, a dedicated revenue source in the state of California to address diabetes and oral diseases at their roots. Now at the Praxis Project, Morales is focused on empowering communities to lead transformative change efforts for health justice that take an expansive approach to community wellness and good health with opportunities for early childhood, youth and workforce development, and expanding access to culturally- and linguistically-appropriate health care for all.
Lisa Schildhorn, M.S., executive director of the Pennsylvania Coalition for Oral Health (Wynnewood, Pa.)
For the past three years, Schildhorn has worked diligently to bring various stakeholders in Pennsylvania together to discuss the issues affecting the oral health of the state’s medically-underserved populations. Through her efforts, the Pennsylvania Coalition for Oral Health has grown, and relationships have been established between oral health care providers, Federally Qualified Health Centers, state Medicaid program directors, Head Start programs and dental benefits administrators.
Diana “DeDe” Yazzie Devine, M.B.A., L.I.S.A.C., president and CEO of Native American Connections (Phoenix, Ariz.)
More than 35 years ago, Devine began her work at Native American Connections to improve the lives of individuals and families through behavioral health care, affordable housing and community development services. Today, the organization operates 18 sites throughout central Phoenix, and its services impact over 10,000 individuals and families each year. In 2015, it expanded programs to include oral health services.
Each honoree received a $1,000 donation from DentaQuest’s Citizenship Fund toward a nonprofit of his or her choice that is committed to promoting health equity.
Based in Boston, Mass., DentaQuest (www.dentaquest.com) is the largest oral health company in the Medicaid space. Along with its charitable DentaQuest Foundation (www.dentaquestfoundation.org), its clinical DentaQuest Care Group and its educational DentaQuest Institute (www.dentaquestinstitute.org), its mission is to improve the oral health of all. Follow DentaQuest on Twitter @DentaQuest, Facebook at www.facebook.com/DentaQuest, Instagram @inside_dentaquest and LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/dentaquest, and subscribe to our blog, Oral Health Matters at http://oralhealthmatters.blogspot.com/.