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2007 FNIDCR Annual Gala

Gala Logo

Honoring Contributors to the Advancement of
Oral Health & Research

Chair: C. Yolanda Bonta, DMD, MS
Honorary Chair: D. Walter Cohen, DDSA

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) asked the Friends of NIDCR to kickoff an exciting year - the 60th Anniversary of NIDCR. The year of activities started with our 2007 FNIDCR Annual Gala on Monday, December 10, 2007 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Research and Education Kickoff NIDCR 60th Birthday Year at DC Annual Gala

Peter Anas, Executive Director
Peter Anas,
FNIDCR Executive Director
"What a unique group of individuals attending the 9th Annual FNIDCR Gala – individual researchers, dental school deans, patient advocacy groups, educators, dentists, major dental corporations, the Washington Post, Scientific American, and almost all of the other non-profit dental organizations from across the US, Canada and England," said Peter Anas, FNIDCR Executive Director, who has just completed his first six months with the organization.

This typified the sentiment at the Friends of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (FNIDCR) 9th Annual Gala, held recently at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Lawrence Tabak, DDS, PhD, Director of NIDCR, introduced by R. Bruce Donoff, DMD, MD, President of FNIDCR, addressed the audience with an overview of the exciting and promising research being conducted at the Institute as we begin celebration of its 60th anniversary.  He highlighted work performed in salivary diagnostics, genome-wide association studies, practice-based research networks and oral health disparity centers. He said "that research is about the patient who will be helped by the answers we find." This is what drives him and his team at the NIDCR - "to make sure each and every one of us has the chance to lead as healthy and as full lives as possible."

 Peter Anas, Executive Director
Bruce Donoff, FNIDCR President; Larry Tabak, DDS, PhD, Director NIDCR

U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) served as the Gala’s Keynote Speaker.  Simpson championed the notion of the importance of providing proper federal funding for Health and Education-related causes because of how it benefits and strengthens our society.  He applauded the medical research being conducted at NIDCR and NIH and the work of organizations like FNIDCR that support the Institute in its mission.  Simpson offered that "the benefits that result from research being conducted at NIH are some of the best kept secrets to the American taxpayer."

Peter Anas, Executive Director
U.S. Representative Mike Simpson (R-ID)

Yolanda Bonta, DMD, MS, Gala Chair & FNIDCR Past President noted that "the Board of Directors has chosen to recognize a remarkable group of people who do what they do because they genuinely care about Oral Health."

Peter Anas, Executive Director
Yolanda Bonta, Gala Chair and FNIDCR Past President
The beautiful glass awards await the introductions.

Two Harold Slavkin/DENTSPLY Oral Health Science Education Awards were presented by Linda Niessen DMD, MPH, MPP, Past President of FNIDCR and Vice President of Clinical Education at DENTSPLY International.


Linda Niessen, FNIDCR Past
President, Jennifer Eiben,
Heather Rotella, Susan Byrnes

The award is presented to a K-12 teacher who has demonstrated creative and innovative use of science curricula to teach oral health which imparts excitement about oral health and oral health research. This year’s winners were Heather Rotella and Jennifer Eiben, both eLearning Project Managers at the Susan Byrnes Health Education Center in York, PA, "for their roles in developing an innovative online oral health curriculum called Decay? NoWay! for grades 1-3," says Linda. They decided that the easiest way for teachers to access this curriculum was to make it available on the web. So the LearntobeHealthy.org, website was developed.


Bruce Brandfon, Dan Perkins,
FNIDCR Secretary
Two Media Awards of Excellence were presented by Dan Perkins, FNIDCR Secretary and President of Aegis Communications. They are presented to a company and/or journalist demonstrating distinction in reporting on craniofacial, oral and dental health research and/or disseminating oral health information. The first recipient was Scientific American, for its publication Oral & Whole Body Health. Bruce Brandfon, Vice President and Publisher, Scientific American accepted the award.


Kathy Hammitt, MA, FNIDCR
Secretary, January W. Payne,
Mary Otto
The second media award was presented by Kathy Hammitt MA, FNIDCR Secretary to The Washington Post and authors Mary Otto, January W. Payne and Jo-Ann Armao (not present), for their articles about 12 year old Deamonte Driver from Maryland, whose untreated dental abscess led to a bacterial infection that spread to his brain, causing his death. Kathy noted that "we learned about this because one newspaper and several of its journalists did a fantastic job bringing this to our attention. They understood the importance of this event and portrayed it in such a poignant way that it captivated a nation, and most importantly, it captivated the attention of state and federal legislators." Mary Otto’s touching remarks on meeting Deamonte and writing about him before and after his death, brought tears to the eyes of the audience.


Dushanka Kleinman,
DDS, MScD, FNIDCR Board
Member & Judy Sherman
The Outstanding Public Advocacy Award was presented by Dushanka Kleinman DDS, MScD, FNIDCR Board Member, to Judy Sherman, Senior Congressional Lobbyist, American Dental Association Governmental Affairs. This is presented to an individual who has helped foster improved healthcare for patients and other health consumers through advocacy efforts for specific patient groups and/or public education activities. Judy’s highlights with NIDCR are many and span a period of over two decades, including close working relationships with three NIDCR directors (1985-2007). Four awardees were presented with the Award for Distinction in Public Service, in appreciation of a commitment to excellence and outstanding leadership in oral health care. Roger Levin, DDS, FNIDCR Board Member, announced the first two awards to Alice DeForest, Executive Director, American Academy of Periodontology and Robert Klaus, President & CEO, Oral Health America.

Peter Anas, Executive Director
Roger Levin, DDS, FNIDCR Board Member,
Alice DeForest, Robert Klaus

The final two Awards for Distinction in Public Service were presented by Sarah Tevis, DDS, FNIDCR Board Member. The first award was pesented to Gary Price, CEO, Dental Trade Alliance, who has spent over twenty five years as a non-profit association executive, and the second to The National Museum of Dentistry, which hosts 10,000 on-site visitors a year and includes 40,000 objects related to the history of dentistry. The award was accepted on behalf of the museum by Rosemary Fetter, the museum’s Executive Director.

Peter Anas, Executive Director
Gary Price, FNIDCR Board Member,
Sarah Tevis, FNIDCR Board Member, Rosemary Fetter


Mary Kaye Richter, FNIDCR
Vice President

A surprise entrance of a candle-lit 60th birthday cake for each table raised the excitement level of the attendees. This introduced the official kickoff to the NIDCR 60th Anniversary by Mary Kaye Richter, FNIDCR Vice President and Executive Director of the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias.

See this year's list of recipients.

Gala 07 – see more pictures.

See the list of prominent past recipients– you’ll be impressed!

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